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      Visualisations of Data from the Literacy Tablet Reading Project in Rural Ethiopia


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      Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2014) (EVA)

      Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2014)

      8 - 10 July 2014

      Data visualisation, Literacy tablet, Open source sensing tools, Learning trajectory

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          In 2012, 41 touchscreen tablets were given to children in two villages in rural Ethiopia. These villages had no schools, and the children had no access to literacy. Nicknamed the ‘literacy tablet’, this technology was intended as an educational delivery mechanism to bootstrap reading. The tablet was designed to help remotely located rural children teach themselves to read. Throughout the year-long study, usage data was tracked as 41 children encountered technology and literacy for the first time.

          We present visualisations of this data, acquired by the tablets using open source tools. These digital ethnographic artefacts provide insight into what types of applications and experiences are interesting to users as they explore early literacy. Beyond usage data, the social relationships and personal stories of learning were revealed. The resulting narrative describes how children become passionate learners and teachers of their community.

          The idea of a tablet-based education has its roots in Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, a piece of cyberpunk fiction. In that story, a book with artificial intelligence technology adapts and mentors a young girl’s education into adulthood. Our project is an early proof of concept demonstrating the potential of realising this vision. The tablet data provides a novel way of documenting the learning process within a culture, serving as a virtual cultural artefact of how education spreads within a community. This project also raises issues about culturally sensitive ways to introduce educational technology to isolated peoples in developing countries.

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          Author and article information

          July 2014
          July 2014
          : 142-149
          MIT Media Lab

          20 Ames St.


          MA 02139 USA
          African Union

          P.O. Box 3243

          New Complex 19 th Floor 1904

          Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
          © Angela Chang et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2014), London, UK

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

          Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2014)
          London, UK
          8 - 10 July 2014
          Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
          Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2014)
          Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
          Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
          Electronic Workshops in Computing


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