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Smart Library of Edutainment: technology and gamification at the service of Education

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Smart Library (Smart Library of Edutainment: technology and gamification at the service of Education)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2017-12-01 al 2018-12-31

Children today are digital natives, having frequent access to digital devices. However, there are un-met needs in the market for education and entertainment, both at home and at school as the offer for high quality educational apps is limited and expensive. Parents and educators are concerned about this and are actively searching for better alternatives.

To help resolve these issues, Smile and Learn places technology in service of education with the mission of helping children from the ages of 2 to 12, learn while having fun. Like North American educational philosopher John Dewey, we believe that “if we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow”.

We have developed the Smart Library, a single platform of interactive games and stories that leverages technology in a unique way. The Smart Library is multilingual, it can be used at home and at school and provides smart recommendations to the children and their educators thanks to an advanced recommendation system using machine learning and collaborative filtering technologies. We offer the Library for free at all schools, so children can access high quality material. We put a special focus on bridging the gap by making our Library special needs friendly, adding specific features that can be tailored to the needs of these children.

We are moving forward to make the Smart Library a global state-of-the-art product by scaling it up and developing advocacy campaigns to spread word of mouth. With the support of the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 SME instrument, we have accomplished 4 main goals:
• Develop new content reaching a total of 150 games/stories and 140 videos, to cover all multiple intelligences, including new features and technologies (e.g. virtual reality).
• Implement the recommendation model’s full potential.
• Make the Library 100% special needs friendly.
• Roll out dissemination exercise across international markets.
Smile and Learn has completed all deliverables agreed for this project regarding the four main work packages:
• Develop new content and advanced features in order to adapt the learning experience:
o Developing and integrating new interactive activities and videos to reach + 3,500 activities in 150 apps and 140 videos
o Adding great capabilities to adapt the experience to different learner needs, including learning paths, games, reading modes, language settings taking into consideration the reading difficulties of each learner
• Implementation of the recommendation model:
o AI/machine learning system providing smart recommendations for children based on the use and progress of the latter, leveraging different algorithms.
o Analytics and parents/educators' view to monitor the use and progress of children.
o Gamification worlds to reward children’s activities
• Make the library special needs friendly:
o Special collection of interactive activities aimed at children with special needs and/or entry level recommended for them
o Added specific features for children with special needs such as pictograms reading mode (visual aids specifically targeting special needs) and a new, easier narrative, calm mode for games, dyslexia friendly font, the increase of font size for children with
sight issues
o Specific configuration of the Smart Library for children with special needs, including among others a more and simplified and iconic view, selection of the most relevant content, or calm mode games set by default
• Dissemination of the Smart Library
o + 100,000 children using the Smart Library in different geographic areas
o Scientific articles published about the use of Recommender systems for education and the use of games as educational tools with special needs children
The state-of-the-art in the edutainment environment comes from players who have good brand images and demonstrated product development capabilities but who are producing mostly independent apps. They have not developed a reporting system much less any smart recommendation functionality. We must look to the pure educational segment to find companies that are beginning to develop models for generating reports and smart recommendations, still in incipient forms.
The smart library is an innovative, state-of-the-art platform, based on 4 areas that represent a significant progress over the current offering in our competitive space.
• High quality, proprietary, interactive, multi-format and customizable content, to adapt the experience for different learning needs.
• Advanced features to have a product fully special needs friendly.
• Mobile and versatile platform: multidevice, multiplatform, scalable and super-efficient.
• Recommendation model, unique in the global edutainment space.
- Provides reports on the child’s activity and progress.
- Provides feedback based on the analysis of the child’s use and progress.
- Able to detect and alert of possible educational issues with children.