Kitkit School is a comprehensive early learning solution built for ALL children.

We created Kitkit School to bring high-quality learning experiences to the children around the world who need them the most. Named for the phrase “to think” in Thai, Kitkit School is a tablet-based application with a comprehensive curriculum that spans early childhood through early elementary. It is designed to provide children with the fundamentals and practice needed to build foundational skills in literacy and numeracy even without access to school or resources. Our commitment to accessibility also led us to incorporate sign language functionality into Kitkit School, including the ability for users to add their own local sign languages into the app.  Kitkit School was recognized for its achievement in sign language education when it was named a semi-finalist in the ongoing Sign On for Literacy Prize, a global competition that seeks to improve children's access to quality sign language educational materials worldwide. Kitkit School combines international best-practices in literacy and math education with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to empower every child to succeed as an independent learner. Its flexible learning architecture comes to life with nature-themed graphics that transcend cultural boundaries and connect the world’s diverse students to positive educational outcomes.

Kitkit School includes a suite of mini-games, books, videos and quizzes that help children practice reading, writing, counting and math operations. The app also contains a library that children can freely explore, as well as tools that encourage creativity, including a virtual drum, marimba and painting set.

Efficacy Tests in Africa

In 2016-2017, Team Kitkit School conducted three field tests that included daily observations, an oral pre- and post-test for Standard 2 students, and a digital pre-and post-test for all participants. Our oral tests provided valuable information about the range of achievement within rural and peri-urban areas in Tanzania, with students in the two schools we tested scoring higher on average than Tanzania's 2014 National Baseline Study would suggest. However, our findings were consistent with the 2014 National Baseline Study in that children’s scores in reading comprehension and more complicated math operations were significantly lower. Thus, while it seems early-level concepts (such as number, letter and syllable identification) are memorable and retrievable concepts for children, they require support in more advanced conceptual tasks. Bearing this in mind, we made it a goal to ensure that Kitkit School provides multiple means for children to think abstractly early in the curriculum. Doing this ensures that students begin building a foundation of abstract reasoning from the start, allowing them to apply critical thinking and problem solving to more complex concepts and exercises when they arise. When teaching addition and subtraction, Kitkit School provides not only numbers, but also real-world objects as manipulatives to create a sense of familiarity between abstract numbers and the environments that children find relatable.

Case Study: Kitkit School’s Design for ALL children

After a few days of observing the program at one of our Field Study schools, the teachers suggested that we include one Standard 3 student with Down syndrome. The student had missed a few years of school, but had been allowed to progress through the standards despite low achievement scores. The student's family and teachers did not have high hopes for achievement, but rather viewed school as a means of keeping the child occupied during the day. However, after being included in the field study, teachers were very surprised to see the child’s heightened enjoyment and improved progress while playing Kitkit School. The child had no prior experience using a tablet, but was able to figure out and play several of the games independently due to their intuitive nature. The teachers found that the game captivated the student's attention while imparting important educational content. As a result, both the teachers and the student's family noted the great potential of tablet-based learning for children with special needs.

Our field test elicited very positive responses from principals and teachers. A principal at one primary school remarked that Kitkit School made it easier for children to learn, noting that the game's engaging and child-friendly presentation made it perhaps even effective than the teaching styles found in many of the school's classrooms, and he was grateful for the opportunity to reduce blackboard time for his students. A teacher also noted how beneficial the game is for slow learners and others who could benefit from increased practice. Still another teacher spoke of the impact the game has had on both the students' and the teachers' creativity: it encourages thinking more broadly about education and pushes students to be more innovative in their problem-solving.