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TechCaFE
Head: M Bernardine Dias
Contact: Ermine A. Teves
Mailing address:
Carnegie Mellon University
Robotics Institute
5000 Forbes Ave
Newell-Simon Hall 2104
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Associated center(s) / consortia:
 Field Robotics Center (FRC)
Associated lab(s) / group(s):
 TechBridgeWorld
Project Homepage
Overview
TechCaFE provides educators with simple and customizable tools to make learning fun for students. Through TechCaFE we are creating a suite of culturally and socially relevant computer and mobile phone based tools for enhancing English literacy skills among children and adults. This includes CaFE Teach, a web-accessible tool that teachers use to create and modify customized content for their students. Students can access and learn from the content added by teachers via CaFE Web, a web-based practice tool, or CaFE Phone, a mobile phone game. Current work on this project involves developing CaFE Play, which would serve as a platform for developers to create applications that incorporate teacher content within the context of games designed with the specific user population in mind.

Several new games and a game development framework were recently developed by CMU undergraduate students through CMU courses such as "Software Development for Social Good" and independent studies. These literacy tools are being field tested and evaluated in several countries including Qatar and the United States. Pictured: Teacher observing students playing CaFE Phone

For this project, we are targeting three categories of users: children (high school age or younger), youth (college and university age), and adults (25 years and older). To date we have collected background information on part of our user population and are creating tools that can be iteratively tested with these groups in order to further develop them to be more effective and useful. We will be working with experts in teaching English as a second or foreign language to inform the design of our tools and the content that is associated with this technology. In addition, we continue to foster new partnerships with various communities across the world to enhance these research activities. Through our work on this project we hope to advance the state of the art in computer assisted language learning, educational technology, and technology for development.