Human Development Lab

@ Carnegie Mellon University


Broadly, our research aims to develop a base of design knowledge that can inform the design and development of learning interventions that target underserved learners in both the developing and industrialized world. Our interests integrates specialist language that intersect language literacy with specific domains, and forms of embodied and kinesthetic learning -- dominant in agrarian communities -- that complement verbal and visual communication.

MILLEE: Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies
Cellphone applications that enable children in the developing world to acquire language literacy in immersive, game-like environments. We aim to make localized language learning resources more accessible to underprivileged children, at times and places that are more convenient than schools. After 10+ rounds of field studies in the past 6 years, we are scaling up our pilots in India and elsewhere.

Playpower: Affordable, Effective, Fun Games for Learning in the Developing World
An open community that develops educational games for affordable gaming platforms throughout the developing world. These games target health, computer literacy, language literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). We are starting with an existing 8-bit, TV-computer that is currently sold in dozens of developing countries for as little as $10.

ROWDI: Reading Our World Digitally
Motion-sensing games that middle school students and educators in the US can author to support adolescent literacy learning in the classroom. The game scenes are in turn based on adolescent fiction that students read in their classrooms. Our research goal is to understand how physical actions relate to learning and reading comprehension processes.

SMART: Speech-enabled Mobile Assisted Reading Technology.
Learning how to read in a new language is time and practice intensive. SMART applications enable children to practice language literacy both during and outside regular school hours, thereby gaining additional exposure at convenient times. In particular, SMART applications on mobile devices incorporate speech-recognition support for understanding children's speech and providing appropriate feedback.

Wumun: A Design Model for Women's Empowerment in the Developing World
An exploration of the design space for appropriate technology to empower non-government organizations working to improve gender equity. We study NGO best practices, developmental trajectories of the women they target, and how technology designs for employability skills and social empowerment need to take the unique characteristics of each developmental stage into account.


Children from rural India learning with our literacy learning games on cellphones.
Children from rural India learning with our literacy learning games on cellphones. (Source: ABC News. Image is copyrighted
2009 by ABC News.)