Update: Please note that the lab director Dr. Matthew Kam has left Carnegie Mellon University in August 2012 to change the world. This website has not been updated since August 2012. To reach him, please see his personal website: http://www.matthewkam.org.
The Human Development Lab is a research, educational and incubation unit housed in Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute, a world leader in the design and evaluation of computing technologies in support of human activity and society.
At the practical level, we engage in participatory design with stakeholders in underserved communities to design, implement and deploy appropriate learning technologies that promote critical skills essential for economic empowerment in the 21st century. These skills include reading literacy, second language, math, healthcare and adult vocational skills. We combine design thinking with core engineering to develop learning solutions on pervasive, low-cost, and yet also extremely technically challenging platforms like the cellphone* and $10 TV-Computer. We have worked in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, which are two regions that rank lowest on most indices of human development.
Rural children from India displaying “You Win!” screens from two of our literacy learning games. Success in these games, and mastery of the technology, was a considerable incentive and source of pride for these children. These kinds of displays were repeated over and over
We apply the latest -- and often under-specified -- learning theories to design innovative curricula and technology-enhanced learning environments. Through our field studies, we refine existing conceptual frameworks and contribute towards knowledge that informs learning interventions for underserved learner populations. Our ultimate vision is a more globally complete understanding of learning, literacy, cognition and design that upholds human development in both the developing and industrialized world.
Our work has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed publications in prestigious academic venues. It has also been featured in the international media, including an ABC News television broadcast and a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television documentary.
To learn more about what's unique in our approach, we invite you to read more about us.
Talk @ World Bank
June 12, 2012 - Washington, D.C.
Paper on speech recognition for improving word reading scores @ ACM
May 5-10, 2012 - Austin, Texas
Cited in GSM Association's mWomen program's
Conference keynote @ 4th
IEEE International Conference on Digital Game and Intelligent Toy
Enhanced Learning (DIGITEL)
Mar 27-30, 2012 - Takamatsu, Japan
Mar 13, 2012 - United Kingdom
Featured in World Economic Forum
book commissioned by Qatar Foundation for
World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE)
Nov 2, 2011 - Doha, Qatar
Talk @ Virginia Tech
Oct 27, 2011 - Blacksburg, Virginia
Featured @ Clinton Global Initiative
Sep 19-22, 2011 - New York City
Featured @ World Economic Forum's session on "Closing the Education
Sep 16, 2011 - Dalian, China
Panel presentation @ USAID symposium on "Mobiles for Education for
Aug 18, 2011 - Bethesda, Maryland
Our summer interns from India have their work
featured in the press in Ahmedabad Mirror
Aug 2, 2011 - Ahmedabad, India
Commenced pilot of cellphone-based English literacy learning games
with 250 children
Jul 29, 2011 - Hyderabad, India
Paper on technology for
gender empowerment in developing world @ ACM CHI conference
May 7-12, 2011 - Vancouver, Canada
Panel presentation @ "M is for Mobile" workshop organized by Sesame
Feb 28-Mar 2, 2011 - Delhi, India
Guest lecture @ Stanford University's School of Education
Feb 24, 2011 - Palo Alto, California
Guest lecture @ University of Pittsburgh's course on "Principles of
Global Health Informatics"
Feb 9, 2011 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania