I have the pleasure of introducing Aksharit; the first ever Indian language word game created by a team of 3 IIT graduates. One of my friends, Rajat Dariwal, is one of the 3 people, the team that created Aksharit.
Aksharit won IIM Calcutta’s National Business Idea Competition “Ideas to Implementation” in January 2009.
What is Aksharit?
Aksharit is an educational aid to enhance language learning.
Akshari is one of the first Indian language word game ever made. Given the vast number of English word games available in the market, and their availability in 30 world languages, out of which none of them are Indian languages. One of the main issues for this lack of word games in Indian languages is the use of ’ which are non-existent in English. Aksharit addresses these issues to generate a rich and enjoyable language learning experience helping students from learning recognition of ‘Akshar’s and ’Matra’s, to correct spellings to enhancing their vocabulary, all through a fun medium.
Here’s more about Aksharit from the creators:
The game has 4 versions covering all age groups. The games were tailored to help children of different age group with specific learning objectives.
1. Chotu Aksharit Paheli: These are a set of 4 small games with simple picture crosswords on them. They help those children who are beginning their Hindi learning:
- Recognizing the Aksharas and Matras; associating them with their respective sounds.
- The way they combine to form words.
- Building some basic vocabulary with the word meanings reinforced with attractive pictures.
- The first game uses only a few Aksharas and Matras. Once the children complete this they play the second game uses the next set of ‘Akshar’s and ’Matra’s, so and so forth.
2. Aksharit Paheli: This game has 2 boards with picture crosswords which cover all the ‘Akshar’s and ’Matra’s of Hindi language between them. They help children reinforce letter recognition and build the vocabulary further. Student misconceptions like mirroring (confusing “I” and “i”, “e- vowel” and “ga”), errors due to similarity in shape (“Ga” and “Qa”), skipping ‘Matra’s while reading (reading “pustk” as “pstk”) come out. The first board is simpler and doesn’t involve the use of ’Matra’s. This is played once children are familiar with all the ‘Varna’s. The second board has words with ’Matra’s as well and slightly advanced set of words.
3. Baal Aksharit: This game has a board with empty spaces to fill words in crossword fashion and mechanism to score points. It requires children to scan through their vocabulary and building those words on the board to gather the maximum points for which the spellings need to be correct. It is geared towards vocabulary generation, spelling words correctly and basic dictionary checking to see if valid words are formed (by them and moreover by their opponents) along with Mental Math to computer scores. It can be played at regular intervals in classes 3, 4, 5, and 6.
4. Aksharit: In this game, children form words from the given ‘Akshar’s and ’Matra’s. All the words made on the board need to be connected in crossword fashion, which is significantly difficult. Apart from the need for an enhanced vocabulary and stronger mental Maths, now the game involves higher order skills such as – strategy, making and spatial skills to identify the possible ways in which new words can be connected.
The game involves a lot of thinking and generates ample conversation giving opportunities to the educator to moderate it. Children of varying ability levels and age groups find it challenging at their own level. It sharpens the students’ vocabulary since without ample alternatives, connecting words would be difficult. Mental Maths now involves multiplication with double word and triple word scores. They are now ready to be encouraged to use the dictionary increasingly, either to check the validity of other players’ words or to look for new words with their set of ‘Akshar’s and ’Matra’s.
The Design Team
Rajat and Madhumita, completed their B.Tech in Computer Science from IIT Bombay in 2004. Thereafter Rajat went for pursuing M.S from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and Madhumita joined the animation studio, Rhythm & Hues, in Bombay. They were somehow drawn towards working for the Indian education system since college and when they didn’t find their respective jobs fulfilling, they decided to give it a go. They have been teaching Science to grades 6th and 7th at Rishi Valley School for 4 years since. Inspired by the high motivation and engagement levels of children while playing any kind of games, they have incorporated a lot of games and activities in their own teaching.
Manuj did his B.Design from IIT Guwahati in 2007. As his college projects he invented a lot of creative games related to primary and middle school education. Aksharit was also born then.
- It has emerged as a very effective educational aid for language learning.
- Its Hindi version is being used by 1.2 Lakh children across India. This includes various states like Chhattisgarh, MP, Rajasthan, West Bengal; organizations like Eklavya, Vidya Bhawan Soceity, Digantar; schools like DPS Dubai, N H Goel World School.
- In the pilot conducted in 1000 govt schools by the State of Chhattisgarh it received an overwhelming feedback, owing to which it is likely to spread to another 32000 schools there.
- INTEL and NOKIA have launched it in a big way on their
respective platforms as well.
- Other than Hindi, Aksharit has been developed in all the 10 major Indian Languages.
More about Aksharit here - http://www.aksharit.com/
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