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Drumball is a tangible, haptic controller that allows for rhythmic input to be turned into and used as letters, numbers, words, phrases and shapes. It makes it possible for children with different abilities and no prior drum knowledge to explore language and communication through an alternative human-computer interaction (HCI) interface that departs from the conventional alphabetically-ordered, screen-and-keyboard-based paradigm.

Instead, grounded in the call-and-response and speech surrogacy principles of drum language communication, and inspired in its design by the Djembe drum from Mali (West Africa), this digital talking drum concept introduces a new embodied approach to literacy learning that could set the foundation for a transformation of the ecology and pedagogy of early childhood.