capital Games is investigating the use of games and technology to help young children succeed in their education. The team is developing an educational game for the iPad to improve early literacy in disadvantaged pre-K youth.
Research has shown that from preschool to kindergarten, children of families in poverty often do not possess the same verbal and conceptual foundations that children from middle and upper-income families have – concepts such as categorization and generalization (e.g. “An apple is a fruit.”, “An insect has six legs.”). Having the vocabulary and knowledge to discuss abstract ideas is fundamentally important and is the strong foundation for a successful education beyond kindergarten. The divide in general vocabulary and knowledge is often caused by the absence of someone to help convey this information. Without continual exposure to new words and ideas, children from families in poverty enter 1st grade behind the educational curve of their peers from middle and upper-income families.
capital Games is investigating the potential for an iPad game to fill this knowledge gap and help children from families in poverty catch up. By creating interactive and intuitive worlds to expose young children to abstract concepts and language, the project hopes to level the playing field for these children by providing the exposure to knowledge in a fun environment. Using engaging game mechanics and thoughtful design, we hope to promote in them a sense of curiosity and the words with which to express their curiosity in their future education.
capital Games is working with Susan Neuman and her team of researchers at the University of Michigan, and is produced by students at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center.