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Title: Concept Document 2016-3-19
Author: Peter Dublin

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TeamArabic  Concept  Document  2016-­‐3-­‐19  
 
TeamArabic  is  comprised  of  Flink  Learning  (Flink),  a  for-­‐profit  company  based  in  the  US  
that  builds  educational  games;  the  Open  Learning  Exchange  (OLE),  a  non-­‐profit  based  in  
the  US  that  delivers  educational  programs  around  the  world;  and  the  International  
Education  Association  (IEA),  a  non-­‐profit  based  in  Lebanon  improving  education  programs  
in  the  Middle  East  and  North  Africa  (MENA).  
 
We  propose  to  deliver  an  app  based  on  two  principals:  peer  learning  and  scientifically-­‐
based  literacy  activities.      
 
The  app  will  be  created  by  modifying  existing  Flink  Learning  
activities  covering  the  five  components  of  literacy  to  support  
the  kind  of  shared  learning  experience  that  maximizes  the  
psychosocial  benefits  of  educational  gaming.      
 
 
 
 
In  addition,  we  propose  to  offer  learners  the  opportunity  to  
build  their  own  apps  for  each  other,  for  their  children  and  for  
themselves  by  creating  a  version  of  FlinkMake  which  allows  
them  to  create  their  own  educational  activities,  upload  them  
to  a  community  library  and  download  them  for  use.  
 
 
 
Rational  for  our  Approach  
 
The  psychosocial  benefits  of  educational  games  are  generally  
limited  to  the  increases  in  self-­‐esteem  that  accrue  to  learners  
as  they  consciously  gain  skills.    While  single  player  games  
may  temporarily  distract  users,  they  generally  do  not  
generate  medium-­‐  or  long-­‐term  cognitive  or  emotional  
benefits.    However,  shared  gaming  activities  do.    One study
that summarized international evidence from correlational,
longitudinal, and experimental studies found that playing
prosocial video games consistently related to, or predicted, prosocial behaviors1.
Furthermore, according  to  a  2012  study,  “Players seem to acquire important prosocial skills
when they play games that are specifically designed to reward effective cooperation, support,
and helping behaviors2.” The TeamArabic app is consciously designed to leverage these
                                                                                                               
1  Gentile, D. A., & Gentile, J. R. (2008). Violent video games as exemplary teachers: A conceptual analysis. Journal
of Youth and Adolescence, 9, 127–141. doi:10.1007/S10964-007-9206-2
 
2  Ewoldsen, D. R., Eno, C. A., Okdie, B. M., Velez, J. A., Guadagno, R. E., & DeCoster, J. (2012). Effect of playing
violent video games cooperatively or competitively on subsequent cooperative behavior. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15, 277–280. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2011.0308
 

prosocial behaviors through cooperative group gameplay that allows students to achieve
higher scores by working together to learn language.
We will not detail the many studies showing the effectiveness of well-designed computerbased literacy activities. However, we do want to point out that, “there is general consensus
that learning with interactive environments such as games, simulations and adventures is
not effective when no effective instructional measure or support is added.3” Instructional
design is crucial to game success, and the TeamArabic team has extensive experience
developing and supporting highly effective educational games.
The  Benefits  of  Student  Control  
 
The  TeamArabic  app  is  designed  to  allow  learners  to  choose  
what  they  will  work  on  at  all  times,  and  to  choose  when  they  
take  a  test  to  move  up  to  the  next  level.  By  giving  learners  
agency,  we  build  engagement  and  motivation.    Furthermore,  
we  have  learned  over  many  years  that  when  students  can  
choose  their  activities,  they  alternate  between  ones  that  are  
easy  for  them  and  ones  that  provide  significant  challenge.    
Rather  than  always  choosing  easy  activities  as  many  adults  
predict,  they  blend  hard  with  easy  to  continue  learning  while  avoiding  frustration.  
 
Three  Components  
The  TeamArabic  app  has  three  areas:    Phonics,  Vocabulary  &  Reading.    
• Phonics  activities  start  with  phonemic  awareness  and  move  into  decoding.  Lower  
level  activities  provide  the  foundation  for  those  that  follow,  and  at  all  times,  
students  can  replay  games  to  build  confidence  and  mastery.      
 
In  this  activity,  students  hear  a  word  spoken  and  choose  a  
picture  whose  name  ends  in  the  same  sound.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In  this  activity,  students  must  read  the  words  and  link  them  
to  the  image  shown,  practicing  their  decoding  skills.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                                               
3  Leemkuil, H., de Jong, T., de Hoog, R. & Christoph, N. (2003) KM Quest: a collaborative
internet-based simulation game, Simulation & Gaming, 34, 89–111.
 




 

The  Vocabulary  section  will  be  built  around  lists  of  words  appropriate  for  each  age  
level.  Each  word  list  (containing  six  words  for  younger  children  and  eight  words  for  
older  children)  will  be  accompanied  by  a  set  of  enhancement  activities  creating  a  set  
of  Vocabulary  and  Fluency  activities.  
 
This  activity  builds  oral  and  written  vocabulary.    The  learner  
hears  each  word  spoken  aloud  and  links  it  to  the  correct  
image.    Later,  the  same  word  may  appear  to  be  read.    Please  
note  that  the  activity  also  reinforces  decoding  skills  by  
emphasizing  the  consonant  blend  beginning  the  word.  
 
 
 
The  Reading  component  will  be  built  around  children’s  picture  e-­‐Books.  Each  e-­‐
Book  will  be  accompanied  by  a  set  of  enhancement  activities  creating  a  set  of  
Reading  activities.  
After  listening  to  it  read  out  loud,  children  read  the  book  to  
each  other,  helping  by  correcting  each  other’s  mistakes  and  
increasing  both  speed  and  accuracy.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Children  see  (and  hear)  comprehension  questions  and  select  
the  correct  answer  from  the  answers  animating  across  the  
screen.  The  game  matches  the  user’s  level  of  literacy  skills,  
and  increases  the  challenge  at  an  appropriate  pace  as  the  
user’s  literacy  skills  improve.  
 
 
 

Graphics  
These  mockup  screens  include  Syrian  background  graphics  and  existing  (American)  
characters.  Research  has  shown  that  children  engage  more  in  a  product  that  has  a  great  
variety  of  graphics,  so  our  plan  is  to  include  photographs,  illustrations,  and  a  variety  of  
styles  in  the  illustrations  from  Syria  and  the  Middle  East.  Children  will  have  a  number  of  
characters  from  which  to  choose,  all  of  which  will  be  created  specifically  for  this  product.  
 
Existing  Technology  
Flink  Learning  has  been  creating  effective  learning  activities  for  children  for  over  thirty-­‐
five  years.  Our  proposal  is  based  on  our  existing  technology  platform  and  will  comply  with  
the  licensing  requirements,  ref  TR9  and  TR10.  The  main  benefit  of  using  an  existing  
technology  is  not  cost  or  time-­‐to-­‐market  (as  most  people  assume);  the  main  benefit  is  0%  
development  risk.  
• Authoring  Tools:    Our  technology  includes  authoring  tools  to  create  activities  (and  
to  easily  translate  activities  from  one  language  to  another).  







Activity  Templates:    Our  technology  includes  thirty  activity  templates  (learning  
objects)  that  can  be  easily  modified  and  which  form  the  building  blocks  for  
additional  activity  templates.  
Vocabulary  DB:    We  have  a  words  database  technology  for  generating  as  many  as  
sixteen  different  activities  from  the  same  list  of  words.    We  will  populate  the  
database  with  common  household  and  academic  words  using  local  Syrian  accents.  
PhoneGap  wrappers:  (Android  and  iOS):    Our  existing  technology  already  runs  on  
iOS  and  Android  phones  using  PhoneGap,  and  we  will  support  multiple  screen  
resolutions.  

 
Games  versus  a  Game  
Rather  than  a  single  game,  we  are  proposing  to  deliver  dozens  of  varied  educational  games.    
This  approach  provides  choice,  avoids  learner  rejection  of  a  monolithic  game  style,  
simplifies  the  design  and  better  supports  the  learning  of  all  five  categories  of  literacy  skills.    
Of  course,  they  will  be  delivered  in  a  single  app  per  the  requirements.  
 


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