Our lean lab setup.

One Step Closer

Almost 300 million children below the age of six without any access to quality education and 800 million adults around the world cannot read or write. About 1.5 million teachers are lacking in Africa alone.

Last year we learned about the Learning xPrize and global grand challenges by Singularity University, both in a way trying to solve really hard problems using technology. We spent the last one year fundraising, prototyping and testing our idea that could help solve the learning global challenge by focussing our attention on Early Childhood Education.

“Early years in a child’s life — when the human brain is forming — represent a critically important window of opportunity to develop a child’s full potential and shape key academic, social, and cognitive skills that determine a child’s success in school and in life.” — White House

Special thanks to our change makers who helped us raise funds to build the early prototype. We started building an intelligent learning game, The School of Games that is capable of teaching a child to read, write and do arithmetic. As the smart devices become more common and affordable for the low income families, a child who doesn’t have access to pre-school education can play the game and gain skills required at that age. The difficulty of the game adapts to each child’s learning ability giving every child their personalized journey as they pick up skills. The game is being built using open-source game engine for phones or tablets that have comparatively less computing power as compared to the state of the art devices. Game are a very effective medium to educate and aligns with our design principal of creating engaging products that have a positive impact on users’ lives as highlighted by Vyacheslav Polonski here.

Testing our prototype in a government school in India

As the child plays the game, the usage data is recorded to understand the learning patterns for each child. To support devices that have an intermittent internet connection, the usage data is collected locally till the next time the data transfer between the server is possible which is when we download newer content for the game also. On the backend we have state of the art analytics infrastructure which captures the relevant data points needed for early childhood learning research and to provide us extensive reports on each child learning outcomes to our researchers, parents and teachers. The data collected helps in the early prediction of weaker students that need teacher’s attention. Detailed usage data allows us to generate insights and Sam Rye points out that success in social impact space is about the quality and quantity of insights we generate.

Can technology solve this problem by itself ?

We don’t think so.

Computers are only better at performing unambiguous tasks that are repetitive in nature and they can perform these task over and over without getting bored.

Teachers on the other hand are responsible for giving a lot of other skills pivotal to a child’s growth like building social and emotional quotient, confidence, positive outlook, soft skills and overall personality. By taking care of the redundant tasks that a teacher performs, it will allow teachers to focus their attention on tasks that require human cognition. Properly designed technology that augments human teaching integrated into natural settings is the solution we are building for.

Technology is going to change a lot in the next two decades, more rapidly than it has in the last two. If 20 years ago someone said they could see a person thousands of miles away while talking to them, it would have seemed unbelievable, but today we take video calling for granted. More specifically the most interesting network of the world, the internet is going to look very different once rest of the 60% of the world’s population gets connected. Checkout the Tedx Talk here.

We can surely solve any problem if every line of code we write and every slide in a presentation we make is to create a more equal world.

Written by Anshul Dhawan ( Co - Founder ). Reach out to me at anshul@theschoolofgames.org

Like what you read? Give School of Games a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.