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Abstract

The goal of this project is to explore the role of computing technology in enhancing the teaching and learning processes for English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Past studies have demonstrated the potential of technology in enhancing literacy skills and motivating students. We have been building on this work to create a suite of computer and mobile based tools to improve English literacy skills. The distinguishing features of our tools are scalability and applicability to diverse user groups ranging from children to adults in different cultures. Our poster will provide an overview of the project's progress and development over the past year, and will focus on three major areas: needs assessment, content development, and technology development and testing. First, we introduce the project and discuss the results obtained from the project's preliminary needs assessment stage, which demonstrate the variety of needs and preferences of our diverse user groups. Needs assessment was conducted with five partners in Qatar and the U.S. These user groups fall into three categories of English learners: children with special needs, post-secondary EFL students, and adult learners. We relied on observations, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and surveys with students and their teachers to learn more about these user groups. The second section of the poster focuses on content creation and summarizes the curriculum we developed for a community literacy program in Qatar. Active since 2010, Language Bridges runs as a student-led organization at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar with the support of faculty, staff, and Reach Out to Asia, Qatar's major non-profit organization. Additionally, the curriculum incorporates our "Brain Race" mobile phone game. The game was developed after a thorough needs assessment of the Language Bridge's adult learner population that showed the learners' interest in playing car racing games and willingness to play a mobile phone-based game to practice their English. This section of our poster will cover the teaching and learning approach adopted by curriculum developers, present examples of curriculum exercises and techniques, include screenshots of "Brain Race", and provide evidence for the program's effectiveness as a whole. Finally, we describe our technology development starting with an introduction to our solution framework, followed by introductions to six new computer/mobile games that were designed by student game developers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. These game concepts were developed based on user needs and preferences, and tested with our partners. We also summarize feedback from user testing of the new game concepts. The purpose of this initial user testing phase was to gather users' reactions to the game concepts, and to obtain their feedback on how to improve the games.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2014.SSPP0082
2014-11-18
2020-03-30
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http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2014.SSPP0082
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