Qualcomm and Sesame Workshop in India Demonstrate How the Use of Smartphone and Tablet-based Digital Games Can Improve Literacy and Numeracy Skills in Young Children

Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ initiative and Sesame Workshop in India (SWI) today showcased the benefits of using smartphone and tablet-based digital games to improve primary grade literacy and numeracy for children aged 6-8 from low income communities through their “Play ‘n’ Learn” program. Wireless Reach provided funding and program management support for this project and also provided 3G enabled devices powered by Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processors for use by children in Delhi. Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated.

Early grade reading and math have been the most challenging learning outcomes to improve according to the Annual Status of Education Report for Indian Schools. There are multiple efforts by the government, the private sector and the civil sector to look at innovative ways of improving the learning deficit among primary school children in India.

The “Play ‘n’ Learn” project, a collaboration between SWI and Wireless Reach, specifically looks at whether mobile enabled game-based learning could be an innovative mechanism to address the learning deficit in primary grade children. The project developed Android games focused on literacy, numeracy and physical wellbeing, and deployed them among children of ages 6- 8 using tablets and smartphones.

A set of 25 games mapped to the primary grade school curriculum Class 1, 2 and 3 to improve vocabulary, comprehension, concepts around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), identification of shapes, shadows, habitats, numbers, alphabets and spatial understanding, in addition to promoting hand washing and sanitation.  The games are available for free download from the Google Play Store.

The project was rolled out in schools in Delhi, as well as the Vaishali and Patna districts of Bihar covering over 4,500 children in 57 schools and additionally among 40 children in an under resourced community in Delhi. Research using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies was used to study the impact of introducing games in these diverse settings.

“The “Play ‘n’ Learn” initiative demonstrates the kind of impact mobile technology can have on improving learning opportunities for school children,” said Shri Yashpal Arya, Chairman, Education Committee, South Delhi Municipal Corporation. “The intervention has built teachers’ capacities, in terms of both engagement and classroom management.”

The study demonstrated that use of games not only improved learning outcomes, but that it also had a positive effect on teachers’ attitudes toward using digital technology for teaching and learning. Specific results include:

  • Children from Classes 1 and 2 from the community had more than 1.5 times improvement in scores for word knowledge and imagination as compared to children not exposed to the games. Boys who played the games showed four times greater gains in Hindi reading and five times in Hindi comprehension in comparison to boys not part of the intervention. Amongst all children who played the games, girls showed 1.5 times more gains in numeracy than boys.
  • Children from Classes 1, 2 and 3 from schools in Delhi who played the games showed greater gains in comprehension, word knowledge and imagination. The improvement was more prominent in children from Class 1 who showed three times the improvement in word knowledge and imagination as compared to children not exposed to the games.
  • Teachers observed that the children’s engagement level in Math and Hindi were higher when games were used in classrooms
  • Teachers’ attitudes toward the use of multimedia in classrooms improved by the end of the intervention as they reported their comfort level increased after using the tablets in their classroom. Half of the teachers interviewed in Delhi said that the tablet sessions had improved attendance especially on the tablet session days. Teachers reported that tablet sessions have had positive feedback from parents.

Through this collaboration, both organizations aim to extend learning at home and school using modern technology. The pilot showcased the importance of mobile-based learning in enriching the teaching and learning experience for children across the country.

According to Sashwati Banerjee, Managing Director, Sesame Workshop in India, “The “Play ‘n’ Learn” initiative helped us build a body of evidence to support the fact that game-based learning using smartphones and tablets can lead to improved gains in reading and numeracy – both essential skills for young children to make them lifelong learners. We are now looking at ways to expand the model for large scale impact.”

“Qualcomm is honored to be involved in this ongoing effort with Sesame Workshop in India and our other project collaborators,” said Monalisa Sahoo, Senior Director of Marketing, Qualcomm India. “India is experiencing the rapid adoption of advanced wireless technologies and we believe that access to mobile can provide transformative educational opportunities for children throughout India.”

The goal was to generate evidence to support digital game-based learning for young children in India. The program aligns well with the Government’s ‘Padhe Bharat, Badhe Bharat’ program, which aims to increase the learning outcomes in Classes 1 to 3 in reading, writing and comprehension. By working with organizations like South Delhi Municipal Corporation and Sesame in 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 Wireless Reach and its project collaborators are doing, please visit: www.qualcomm.com/wirelessreach.

About Qualcomm Incorporated:

Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm’s licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm’s engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, QCT. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blogTwitter and Facebook pages.


About Sesame Workshop in India:

Sesame Workshop in India, the organization behind Galli Galli Sim Sim, uses the power of media to help children reach their highest potential. Our content aims to facilitate young Indian children’s basic academic and life skills, while celebrating India’s rich cultural diversity, in order to promote their overall cognitive, socio-emotional and physical development. Galli Galli Sim Sim, Sesame Workshop’s flagship television series, has been watched by over 100 million1 children since its debut in 2006 and its educational messages have been extended through community radio stations, extensive community outreach, and applications on new and emerging media. Recently we have entered the school education space through the launch of Sesame Schoolhouse whose curriculum and methodology integrates hands-on project-based learning, with creative approaches to foster critical thinking and problem solving, laying a strong foundation to promote lifelong learning.

For more information on all, log on to www.sesameworkshopindia.org and www.sesameschoolhouse.in

1 Turner-KPMG Report, Season 1-5


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