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 - http://wondertime.go.com/learning/child-development/index.html)

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

WEBSITES:
http://www.akhlesh.com/
only has picture and word
too many elements, weak design
not child friendly
not modern
not appealing to a urban audience

http://www.4to40.com/discoverIndia/hindi/default.htm
allows for limited interaction
visuals are unclear and weak
not apealing to kids

http://www.karaditales.com/karadishopping/heritage.php
- 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

DESIGN APPROACH ONE:



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

DESIGN APPROACH TWO:


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


Critique:
- 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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