Comparison of effectiveness of two mobile application designs for encouraging children to read.
Erin Versveld, a third year Computer Science student will present the Department of Computer Science Colloquium, with a talk entitled, "Comparison of effectiveness of two mobile application designs for encouraging children to read".
Many South Africans are functionally illiterate, which impacts adversely on their further education and job prospects. As literacy deficits begin in primary school, it is vitally important to improve reading engagement in children aged 6 to 13 years.
This research began as a CS Summer Undergraduate Research Experience project. We explored the use of mobile applications to improve children’s engagement with, and enjoyment of, reading. Two alternative approaches were prototyped: the StoryMaker tablet application, developed by James Foster, allows children to create a digital story book incorporating characters from the popular Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment supplements, while the StoryGame application, developed by Erin Versveld, uses a less traditional gamification approach, where the user directs a character through a story by solving word problems. The applications were tested on groups of children aged 10 to 12.
Erin Versfeld is an undergraduate B.A. student at the University of Cape Town. Her current majors are Psychology, Linguistics and Computer Sciences. An unusual combination, the choice was prompted by a fascination with functional neuro-psychology, universal syntax, and the need for a new challenge. .