Wednesday, November 26, 2008

MAKING HINDI FUN - 2 : final interactive project

This interactive piece should allow children to be introduced to HINDI in a fun playful and interactive manner just as they are with English so they grow up with a positive attitude towards it - The project does not aim to prove one language better than another. It is not a competition.

Audience :
- Age 4-6 years
- children in larger cities, urban areas
- study in English medium schools, they are exposed to cartoon network and all Disney characters -earlier on and they easily associate with America.
-They have multiple computers internet access, tv’s etc in their homes
-These kids don’t like the Indian toys, look down upon them “uncool”

This age group because : at Age 4 they-
- learn valuable lessons in counting, cause and effect, and problem solving.
- good language skills, can make full stories and talk non-stop - vocabulary of over 2000 words, can say words like over, under, why, before , after etc.
- write the letters of the english alphabet
- can identify the sounds that correspond with many of them.
- can interact with the mouse and computer

(as researched from website -

Current Scenario:
- Hindi is considered to be a vernacular language - with backward connotations
- parents think kids only needs to know English - if he can speak English it is a matter of pride
- Adults and schools have developed a skewed attitude, which is partly due to the history of the British colonial influence and today's obsession with the west.

Change is Required why?
- Language and origin is significant part of one’s identity.
- As managers, company heads and top executives - they should be able to connect and communicate with their own people who have not gone to english medium schools
- When they go abroad as representatives of their country can have a strong foundation of their roots. can take pride in the fact that they know multiple languages - multiple perspectives
- A language has embedded history, culture and values, which they can relate to more easily and be less confused misfits

Toy Stores I visited in the US:

-Toys ‘r’ us
-FAO Schwartz
-Borders book store, children’s book section

- most toys incorporate color, texture and alphabets.
- They connect alphabets to different things - vehicles, animals, colors, shapes etc
- Some have sound, music and notes
- couple books are water proof, "bathe with a book"
- Characters very relevant to children here – for example – toys about monsters, cartoon characters or Disney Characters
- they are often made "cuter" by being oversized or really small

Upon speaking with Mother's of such children in India
- an elementary school teacher, mother of 2 - 5 yrs and 10 yrs.
- a mother of 2 such children, aged 3 years and 6 years
- a mother of 2 - 5 years and 9yrs.

Type of learning tools that are currently available for Hindi :
- Books, magazines picture books for ages 2 and 3 also – but old graphics, outdated imagery.
- NOT dual language - only for hindi alone
- Have no sound
- very few toys available in the market that they would buy:
Problems being:
- The quality of the Indian looking toys is not appealing for kids they are usually wooden and break easily.
- no bright plastic colors that can be thrown or chewed upon.
- child safety an issue
- electronic toys are not of good quality
- soft toys of Indian characters not available – only recently of Ganesha

Multimedia kits :
- CD/s and DVD/s
- They have nursery rhymes, fables sung and patriotic songs – but these allow only for a passive interaction – You press play and the movie / music video runs there is no key press or deliberate effort from kids

only has picture and word
too many elements, weak design
not child friendly
not modern
not appealing to a urban audience
allows for limited interaction
visuals are unclear and weak
not apealing to kids
- one such website that has cd roms and book sin bilingual languages
Passive interaction

What I think is needed:
- Modern toys, games, books
- Better packaging – updated graphics
- Marketing – need to be placed in the right stores – higher end, where such an audience shops
- quality of toys needs to be much better
- “cool” and “wow” element must be incorporated via - innovation, design, packaging and marketing.
- India today is a progressive, modern and racing ahead. It is not archaic and these toys need to speak that language. It needs to be current there.
- not fight the west – find a balance - learn from the toys, try to match the quality of toys at FAO schwartz for example.

Therefore my game should:
- Appealing to parents and to kids.
- A way for parents to realize its importance, be convinced and it be easy for them to use, access and teach with.
- Hindi alphabets, words, Alphabet sounds, words narrated
- Characters from Indian stories and folk tales, mythology
- Shapes
- Colors
- Interactive - by screen, possibly website?
- Because these children are introduced to computers early on, and as there is already a “cool” factor associated with computers. – this medium is modern and current
- It also has International appeal – children abroad can also play with them - Non Resident Indians


Word building game -
- The object appears and the word in Hindi is pronounced
- The child can drag letters from below and spell out the word in Hindi
- depedning on the number of words a child gets correct he can be scored over time.
- Can be used for animals, shapes, fruits, etc


Narrative with simple interaction, no change in story:
The narrative tells the kid a story, tells him the hindi word for everyday things, teaches him colors, teaches him shape.

- A voice narrates the story page by page– in Hindi
- User can click on certain elements – “bird”, “house”, “tree” and it will say the word in hindi
- User can choose a color form the palatte below – the narrator will say the color in Hindi and everything in that color on the page will be highlighted
- User can pick a shape – The narrator will say the shape in Hindi and again everything of that shape in the image will be highlighted
- The user can then turn the page to go ahead with the story

- the computer games I'm suggesting are boring and would not draw a kid's attention.
- he would rather play with his english games that are more challenging
- kids at 4-5 years are very smart and learn very quickly
- Research not enough

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