Millee – Rural India Project that uses Mobile Gaming for Learning

Millee is an inspiring project that uses mobile gaming technology to enhance access to literacy among children of school-going age in the developing world.

The problem statement is very simple – most of the kids in rural India do not have access to a decent level of education; to top that, most of these kids end up working in the farm during the day time (do families understand the importance of formal education?). And ofcourse, the english speaking teachers do not know english well enough to teach the same to kids.

Millee, i.e. Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies is a project started by Dr. Matthew Kam from UC Berkley.

The foundational games that we built have gone through numerous iterations since 2006, through formative evaluations with four communities of rural and urban slums learners in both North and South India. By field-testing with multiple communities, we observed user behaviors with the technology that generalize across settings. Through ethnographic studies, we also studied how social factors such as gender and caste affected MILLEE gameplay in everyday rural environments.

millee

millee - Mobile Gaming for Rural India

Currently, the games work only with few phone models (Motorola Razr V3m) and the team has received 450 cellphones from Nokia in order to reach out to rural children.

We followed a human-centered design process, in which we consulted experienced local English teachers on our instructional and game designs. The foundational games that we built have gone through numerous iterations since 2006, through formative evaluations with four communities of rural and urban slums learners in both North and South India. By field-testing with multiple communities, we observed user behaviors with the technology that generalize across settings. Through ethnographic studies, we also studied how social factors such as gender and caste affected MILLEE gameplay in everyday rural environments.

The project is far from being the ideal gaming platform for learning, it’s more about customizing the educational platform to local language (and execution); and most importantly uses the ‘third screen’ to reach out to wider mass.

What’s your opinion on Millee?

Know of more such projects? Do let us know.

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