The MILLEE Project
A problem exists. The problem related to literacy levels. But every problem has a solution. And one of the solutions comes in the form of the MILLEE Project.
When Matthew Kam first went to India, he noticed the lack of English literacy of children that had studied English for three or four years. Most couldn’t read, didn’t know simple words, and sometimes couldn’t spell their own names. “We realized that those students who had taken English for three years couldn’t read every letter in the alphabet,” Matt said. “Teachers who were teaching English couldn’t speak English themselves.” However, the English literacy of these same children improved dramatically when presented with a unique learning tool: a mobile phone.
The project, called MILLEE, or Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies, works to develop mobile phone games aimed at teaching literacy to children in India.
When the MILLEE team first started developing the games, Matt didn’t envision them played on mobile phones. However, the more he learned about the the cultural and economic factors that impacted Indian schools, the more mobile technology seemed like the perfect fit.
The group decided to design games in order to increase the interest of children in education. In rural areas of India children are often required to stay home to work in the fields, and families don’t necessarily perceive the benefits of formal education. Additionally, some children just didn’t like classroom instruction, often given by teachers who were underqualified in their field.
“We eventually watched how kids play traditional village games,” he said, “and tried to understand how they were different from contemporary Western video games. We took all those lessons with us and designed special games.”
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Image Source: MILLEE