Improving Children’s Literacy and Numeracy Skills through Innovative Games on Affordable Tablets and Smartphones

Qualcomm, Sesame Workshop India, and South Delhi Municipal Corporation Collaborate to Improve Children’s Literacy and Numeracy Skills through Innovative Games on Affordable Tablets and Smartphones

Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ initiative, and Sesame Workshop India (SWI), in collaboration with the Directorate of Education, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, today demonstrated how their Play ‘n’ Learn program is improving learning opportunities for school children ages 5-8 in under served communities in India.

The program uses affordable tablets and smartphones and fun educational games developed in the Hindi language to provide access to quality educational content on literacy and numeracy.  Wireless Reach provided funding and program management support for this project and also provided 3G enabled devices powered by Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processors. Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated.

According to the ASER Centre’s ninth Annual Status of Education report (ASER 2013), literacy and numeracy skills have declined in the past six years among children ages 5-16 who are studying in rural schools in India.

Mobile technology provides unprecedented potential to improve literacy and numeracy skills in India. The increase in smartphone adoption and rapid proliferation of 3G and 4G LTE networks in India provides the capability to positively influence the education segment.

There is an increasing need to improve learning outcomes at all levels,” said C.U Kumar, Director, Directorate of Education, South Delhi Municipal Corporation. “This need is articulated in the Government of India’s 12th Five Year Plan document and in initiatives that supplement curriculum with technology-enabled learning. The Play ‘n’ Learn initiative is providing children with a new way of learning via mobile technology and proving successful with increased levels of literacy and numeracy.”

SWI’s Galli Galli Sim Sim (GGSS) educational outreach and television program content has been used extensively to develop the 10 Android games for the Play ‘n’ Learn program. Games such as Parchai ko pehchano, Shabdo ka khazana and  Sikke ki Yatra, feature GGSS content and popular characters such as Boombah, Chamki, Elmo, Googly and Grover.

The first phase of the Play ‘n’ Learn program was launched in May 2013 with 40 children in an underprivileged neighborhood in South Delhi who received 3G enabled smartphones equipped with educational games.

Based on findings from a study of the in-community intervention, children studying in Class 1 and 2 made greater gains in Hindi comprehension, and Hindi word knowledge and imagination.

Since the initial implementation, 3G tablets equipped with the games have been provided to more than 370 children in Classes 1, 2 and 3 in four government primary schools of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation. Additionally, Sesame Workshop India is working to implement a similar program in the Vaishali district of Bihar for 2,000 children located in 25 government primary schools.

According to a third party study conducted in the schools, children in grade 1 showed improvement in comprehension, word knowledge and imagination and overall Hindi language scores. Additionally, the young children were well acquainted with the use of the tablets and they had also learned to watch video, operate the camera, and make calls on the tablet. The children looked forward to the tablet session and a majority preferred to use tablets in groups as opposed to individually, reflecting improved group dynamics. The study also found that most teachers said that at least one of their teaching skills had improved in the following areas:curriculum planning, teaching method, child assessment, pacing as per students’ needs, flexibility and collaborative learning.

Our continuing association with Qualcomm Wireless Reach seeks to bring together modern mobile communication technologies and access to high quality educational content for children,” said Sashwati Banerjee, Managing Director, Sesame Workshop India. “We are greatly encouraged by the response to the Play ‘n’ Learn program. In the next phase funded through the Qualcomm Wireless Reach initiative, we will add more games and also popularize the games through the Galli Galli Sim Sim broadcast on TV.

Qualcomm is honored to be involved in this ongoing effort with Sesame Workshop India and our other project collaborators,”said Sandeep Sibal, vice president, business development, Qualcomm India and South Asia.  “India is experiencing the rapid adoption of 3G technologies and we believe that access to the capability of 3G enabled devices can provide transformative educational opportunities for children throughout India.”

Advances in mobile technology have already changed access to educational materials and continues working to enable even greater transformation in mobile learning in order to enrich teaching and learning on a global scale. By working with organizations like Directorate of Education, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and Sesame Workshop India, Qualcomm aims to leverage its capabilities in order to expand the impact of mobile technology. 

To find out more about the work Qualcomm and its project collaborators are doing, please visit


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