SCS Undergraduate Thesis Topics

Aysha Siddique Bernardine Dias Designing Mobile-phone Based Educational Games to Improve the English Literacy Skills of Limited English Proficient (LEP) Adults

Many immigrant workers in the fields of construction, menial labor, household help, and service sectors in countries like the US and Qatar have limited English proficiency, which is often a barrier to advancement in their careers and creates problems in communication with their supervisors and managers, which in turn leads to a myriad of other problems. These problems also expand to the refugee population, who find it hard to get jobs with limited English skills, thereby making their adjustment process in the US harder. English proficiency is also a problem with the deaf population; only 10% of the 18-year olds read at or above an 8th grade level, and the average deaf adult reaches only a 4th grade reading level. We can address the problems of limited English proficiency by providing these groups with a fun way of practicing their English skills. The senior thesis is motivated by the aforementioned problems faced by immigrant adults, refugees and deaf students and proposes to develop a mobile-phone based educational game for enhancing the English communication skills of these limited English proficient (LEP) adults. The senior thesis will build on mobile phone based literacy tools developed during TechBridgeWorld's iSTEP program in 2009, which consists of two parts: the actual single player game accessible via mobile phones, and an online content authoring system to allow teachers or other informed individuals to add content to the games. So far, a majority of the related research efforts have concentrated on the effectiveness of similar educational games on children, and the thesis will contribute to the understanding the effectiveness of mobile phone based educational games on adult literacy. This will require significant research to effectively incorporate techniques used to teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to adults into educational games that are exciting to play, effective in teaching, and accessible via a mobile phone.

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