SDG: Goal 4 – Quality Education
Globally 780 000 000 people are illiterate. Reading difficulties can be the result of biological (e.g., dyslexia) or educational (e.g., no access to schools) reasons (Lyytinen, 2016). The ability to connect spoken words with written words can be challenging in English. In the English language, a letter can have a different sound in different letter context. “This makes it difficult for students to master reading and writing skills because the number of connections between spoken and written is much larger (less than 30 in transparent spelling systems compared to more than one thousand in English)” (Jere-Folotiya et al. 2014).
Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland have developed GraphoGame, a mobile and computer game to teach children the letter and letter-sound combinations (University of Jyväskylä, 2017). With the prevalence of mobile phones in developing countries increases the accessibility of this form of education.
The game is based on years of research towards children with Dyslexia (GraphoLearn, 2018). The game adapts to the child’s initial knowledge and adjusts difficulty based on the child’s progress. Teachers and parents can monitor the progress and view the letters which the child is still struggling with.
The reading skills improvements of children due to the GraphoGame have been documented in multiple articles (Lyytinen et al. 2009; Jere-Folotiya et al. 2014). Both Finnish children, as well as children from other countries (e.g. Zambia), improve their reading skills of their language and the English language. In Finland, the ministry of education makes the game available to the schools and currently the game has 20,000 daily Finnish users (Lyytinen, 2016). Experiments are run in many other countries in the world. In 2017, LIG, a Helsinki-based education technology business development company, purchased the game and aims to spread it to millions of children. LIG starts by releasing a version for British, English, French and Portuguese (University of Jyväskylä, 2017). The researchers at University of Jyväskylä will keep continueing their research to improve the impact of the game.
GraphoLearn (2018). Research. Retrieved from http://info.grapholearn.com/research/
GraphoGame (2018). Retrieved from https://www.appannie.com/en/apps/google-play/app/com.graphogame.GGNorwegian/
Jere-Folotiya, J., Chansa-Kabali, T., Munachaka, J.C. et al. Education Tech Research Dev (2014) 62: 417. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-014-9342-9
Lyytinen, H., Erskine, J., Kujala, J., Ojanen, E., & Richardson, U. (2009). In search of a science‐based application: A learning tool for reading acquisition. Scandinavian journal of psychology, 50(6), 668-675.
Lyytinen, H., Erskine, J., Hämäläinen, J., Torppa, M., & Ronimus, M. (2015). Dyslexia—Early identification and prevention: Highlights from the Jyväskylä longitudinal study of dyslexia. Current developmental disorders reports, 2(4), 330-338.
Lyytinen (2016, June 9). Project example: Graphogame. Retrieved from https://www.aka.fi/globalassets/30tiedepoliittinen-toiminta/kv-toiminta/lyytinen_graphogame_in-search-of-inclusive-literacy-learning-for-all.pdf
University of Jyväskylä (2017). Finnish dyslexia intervention game to be commercialised globally. Retrieved from https://www.jyu.fi/en/news/archive/2017/09/tiedote-2017-09-21-15-42-48-481422