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posted by Pierre Tchetgen | May 13

Gamifying Early Literacy Learning through African Drumming

 UGP is a series of technology-driven family workshops aimed at engaging children (ages 3-6) through an embodied learning approach that blends the practices of drumming, dancing and call-and-response with computer-mediated communication and learning across face-to-face and virtual contexts. Each session includes voice, rhythm and movement practice, as well as challenges (quests) and embodied learning activities focused on the exploration of literacy and STEAM concepts (e.g. numbers, shapes) through various modalities of rhythm. Given the fact that many children naturally acquire information, knowledge, understanding, views of the world in trans-African settings and cultural spaces rich in clapping, rhythm, movement, call and response, oral transmission and follow-the-leader process, the purpose of the broader intervention to follow the ongoing pilot study to investigate the UGP ecology’s impact on children's multimodal literacies by involving them as participants in our co-design process.

During the course of a 12 month-pilot study launched in Fall 2023, the UGP design was reformulated over a four-month period by collaborating closely with early childhood practitioners, parents, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, researchers and designers. The technology is thus applicable to a wide range of language functions and communication modalities (aural, visual, verbal, textual), as users can play rhythms on the device to form alphabet letters, words or phrases and string them together to produce multimodal meaning that can be displayed, sounded, shared or stored for later retrieval.