Original filename: ConceptDocument.pdf
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.
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
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.
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.
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%
• 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
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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