We are interested in whether technology can help children learn the foundations of literacy (such as phonological awareness) in a playful, creative way that gives children agency and a sense of self-efficacy. In our app SpeechBlocks, children can build scenes by spelling objects in them. The robot acts as a helpful guide, assisting children with building whatever words they request. By means of this, it helps them accomplish their creative goals while learning in the process. The app is highly open-ended: it is capable of building any word and contains a library of about 1800 imageable words.
Related earlier work from the Laboratory for Social Machines: Previous iterations of SpeechBlocks, PictureBlocks
See related publications:
Sysoev et al. (2021) Designing building blocks for open-ended early literacy software. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction
Sysoev (2020) Digital Expressive Media for Supporting Early Literacy through Child-Driven, Scaffolded Play. PhD Dissertation, MIT Media Lab.