Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Conclusion

During the summer, we worked in two groups to create an SMS based game that can help in teaching masses. Both the groups came up with fascinating ideas, but interestingly we had similar findings. You can examine the results of our various experiments in the previous entries. From these results we have drawn following conclusions.

1. From our statistics, we have found that a lecture prior to the game is extremely beneficial (upto 33% in one control group). This implies that, if we tie up the game with lectures on public media like TV broadcast, followed by SMS questions then this system can become an extremely effective mass education system.

2. Participants were more comfortable with multiple choice questions. This is validated by both the statistics (more correct answers through MCQ) and interviews (see below).

3. Our language experimentation was different with different conclusions. First group provided every question both in English and in Romanized Urdu. Their conclusion was that participants found questions written in both the languages as helpful at the same time. Other group provided questions alternately in English and in Romanized Urdu. Their conclusion was that results are marginally (
10%.) better for Romanized Urdu.

As a final remark, we strongly claim that this SMS based teaching system can greatly aid in teaching masses. Through this system people who have left education due to some reason can have a chance to continue their education and learn new concepts that otherwise may be not possible.


After a series of experiments, here are the concluding results of our project.

First we would like to talk about the response of users over time. The graph below shows the average response of users in games through SMS. As you can see, as the participant started to answer the questions, their responses got better. The dip at the 19th question is when two participants changed level and faced difficulty in the an advanced level.

Before the lecture

The second result shows the response to the lecture given to the participants. We observed a 33% increase in their success after they were given a lecture on the material as shown in graphs below.

After the lecture

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Playing the game

Interview with participants

lecture video

The experiment

We conducted our first test of SMS teaching system and the first exposure was very positive. We gave a short lecture on the subject matter which we also recorded (Videos to be uploaded shortly). The reason to record is so that we can provide the basic knowledge without the need to have trained professionals online or at site. Then we opened up the lines for SMS games. We had a smallish group of 7 participants ranging from cleaning staff to cashiers at our university.

The response was heartening. All the participants were eager to learn but due to financial constraints were not able to. Most were pressed into jobs at an early age because they had to earn to keep food on the table in their houses.

Initially they were skeptical but as they got the hang of the game they started enjoying it. Whats more when we looked at the stats it seemed like they were getting better at the topics (multiplication and word problems) as they kept on playing.. as they say practice makes perfect.

So we will have the interviews of the participants and of lectures up shortly so keep on checking us out on this blog.

Ciao for now
education through SMS team
(Fahad, Oumair and Muzammal)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Experiment Design

Our experiment consists of two parts. Teaching followed by stimulation through questioning.

For our teaching part we will impart lectures and record them. This will be shown to the learners.

Following this the learners will be provided with questions for which they will answer. Questions will look like the following:

3 x 4 = ?

If the learner answers 12 then a message of following type will be sent

Good job!
5 x 2 = ?

and so on.

After 5 questions, the learner's responses will be assessed to select the next set of questions. We have formed different levels of questions based on their difficulty. So in each batch of 5 questions, the number of questions answered correctly are replaced by questions from next level and the rest are from the same level.

We will be conducting this experiment on 20th

The Idea (meeting on July 16)

After the initial idea of having a computer adaptive game here is what we are planning to do:

Have a video lecture of 10 - 30 minutes on a basic topic like tables or basic algebra. This video lecture is shown to the learners.

After the lecture is shown, the learners can play "The game" through our SMS gaming system. Learners are sent messages containing questions that will quiz them on the topics of lecture. If the learner answers correctly then a more advanced question will be sent. If the learner fails to answer the question then a hint will be sent to the learner guiding her on how to attempt the question.

So with the method of teaching settled and the SMS gaming system almost ready we will be soon in position to conduct our first test.

What we did last summer


We are a bunch of students from LUMS. This last summer we, under the guidance of Dr. Umar Saif, started a small endeavor to help those who could not complete their education due to various reasons. This blog is the story of us doing our little bit to change the fortunes of those who were not able to progress beyond primary education. Unfortunately in countries like Pakistan, there are a lot of people who are unable to continue their studies due to poverty. During the course of our work there very many heartening moments which we will share with you through this blog.

Ciao for now
education through SMS team
(Fahad, Oumair and Muzammal)