WonderTree - Redefining Education and Therapy for Children with Special Needs through Augmented Reality
Making special education and therapy accessible, affordable and measurable for children with special needs through augmented reality games.
What problem does your innovation solve?
While there is no denying that persons with disabilities constitute some of the most vulnerable globally, in Pakistan, as in most developing countries, the disabled tend to be even further marginalized. Wondertree’s unique approach of using Machine Learning and Augmented Reality has helped create a system that provides multi sensory experience making this innovation a solution for inadequate special education and therapy needs. Through this ed-tech platform we are redefining special education.
Explain your innovation.
WonderTree is a software making special education and therapy for special children cost effective, more efficient, measurable and accessible to all. WonderTree is doing this by using the technology of Augmented Reality and by gamifying existing educational curriculum and therapy exercise making it motivational, engaging and effective for the children. These games also feature an in-depth reporting system through which the progress of the children can be measured and monitored. Wondertree’s use of augmented reality real life simulation based games have paved ways to enhance, improve, learn and develop multiple skills in people with special needs such as eye hand coordination, letter recognition, tracing abilities, association of letters with their sounds, color recognition, shapes and patterns cognitive and meta-cognitive processing focus, counting skills, sorting skills, decision making skills, cognitive and meta-cognitive processing etc.
These games are made in collaboration with therapists, psychologists, special educators and parents. Everyone who helps us make these games is on our advisory board and they posses year of experience and medical expertise in field of special needs.
Another game developed by WonderTree for developing pre academic skills in children with special needs and learning disabilities. The game gives the players a feeling of painting, while they are encouraged to trace letters making them memorize and familiarize with them. The game also uses phonics and images of objects after the completion of each letter.
An introductory video of WonderTree showing its innovation and the sector in which WonderTree is working
An interactive game of WonderTree made for developing multiple skills like: hand eye coordination, decision making, gross motor capacity and fine motor capacity. The game has variable settings making it applicable on children with different disabilities.
With our low cost and effective edtech solution and development of an inclusive special education curriculum through Ilm Ideas2 support, we expect to reach the disabled population percentage of 13.4 of 3.28 million in Pakistan. WonderTree is following a subscription based revenue model for its widespread target audience comprising of parents of children with special needs, schools (special schools), hospitals, health care centers, rehabilitation centers and NGOs.
How is your innovation unique?
In Pakistan, little effort has been done to integrate technology in the education system let alone for the academic and therapeutic needs of PWDs (persons with disabilities). the integration of video games into home-based rehabilitation therapies and academic pedagogies for children with special needs is a growing area of interest. The vision of children running eagerly each day to participate in undirected, self-motivated physical therapy guided by a low-cost video game system is indeed alluring. Add to this the ability to remotely monitor progress and to foster social play with friends and siblings or through online companions, and it is easy to be swept away by the potential of video game-assisted rehabilitation, or more generally termed, virtual reality therapies (VRTs). Enabling the vulnerable and marginalized disabled population of Pakistan to use augmented reality with simple electronic tools (Microsoft Kinect Sensor), we make our innovation one of a kind.
What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?
Our product is in its pilot prototype phase and is being tested and carried out at a couple of healthcare centers and schools in Karachi, Pakistan. At this stage we aim to effectively learn more about the following unanswered domains:
1. Pricing Model
2. Costing Model
3. Accuracy of Results (Data Analysis)
4. Outreach and Collaboration with Relevant Stakeholders
5. Securing funding from the investment fraternity
6. Sales and Revenue Generation
Tell us more about you.
We are a registered non profit social enterprise within the technology service industry. WonderTree is currently working with Samsung Pakistan as its technology support partners and with National ICTRnD to develop the product. We have a diverse team of researchers, special educators and psychologists (clinical and beavioral) working besides our technical team of web developers, game developers and creative leads.
What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?
Emergency Setting - Elaborate
Pakistan's education state is a victim of armed conflict with cases reporting more than 838 attacks on schools during 2009-2012. Militants recruited children from schools. More than 30 children were killed in attacks on schools and school transport during the same period. At least 138 school students and staff were reported to have been kidnapped. This state demands education to be accessible to an already vulnerable and overlooked disabled population.
Where will your innovation be implemented?
Since our product is in its prototype phase, we piloted it in an armed conflict striken state, Kyber Pakhtunkhaw - Pakistan. Our business model that is in a refinement stage needs to clearly articulate the feasibility of this ICT innovation being tested in emergency settings besides conventional, ergo, we have tested it in thirty special education camps in the marginalized and displaced region of Khyber Pakhtounkhaw which has been a victim of armed conflict and tribal violence.
Experience in Implementation Country(ies)
Yes, for more than one year.
As a testament to our claim on running commercial operations, we have already been deployed at two major hospitals namely Aga Khan and Ziauddin National Hospital in Karachi, two schools – Picture Autism Islamabad and PNS Karsaz Special School, Karachi and have received more than 26 online orders from international buyers over our website. Furthermore, we have collaborated with international investors e.g. Acumen, proving that we are financially viable for the investment fraternity.
I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for more than a year.
Sector Expertise - Elaborate
Our team comprises of Psychologists from Institute of Professional Psychology, Pakistan, Special Educators from State University, Researchers serving the Dean office of a state of the art international school, Habib University and Business Minds from International Companies. We have a panel that contributes to strategic alliances and collaborations through outreach and grants. Our diverse cohort has more than 25 years of experience in variety of sectors combined.
Existing Prototype or Pilot: I have tested a part of my solution with users and am iterating.
We are a registered for-profit company (including social enterprises).
WonderTree is registered in Karachi, Pakistan and is operating from its local office located at the 3rd floor of Citi View Building, Baharduabad, Khi.
Links to digital media:
Instagram: WonderTree (Username)
How has your Idea changed based on feedback?
The OPENIDO community and experts facilitated us to pilot and experiment our idea in an emergency setting than conventional. we have tested it in thirty special education camps in the marginalized and displaced region of Khyber Pakhtounkhaw which has been a victim of armed conflict and tribal violence. We collaborated with the local government and a Public Private Partnership and organized a 7 days camp where we tested our games and found those to be well received by the relevant stakeholders.
Who will implement this Idea?
WonderTree has expanded its outreach in the country in the past one and a half years and we wish to collaborate in Public Private Collaboration to make this idea implementable in the emergency states in Pakistan. We have partnered with Local Government Bodies as well as with Alif Ailaan, a public entity for educational reforms to help us establish a footprint in KPK where we have piloted this idea. They have full time and volunteer resources who can deploy our games there in camps and collect data for us to gauge impact.
What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?
1. We have developed games that are being modified currently and when the individual users become accustomed to the difficulty levels of our games, they tend to get demotivated with lack of more variety embedded in the games in terms of more difficulty levels.
2. The systems level challenge that is affecting our end users is only to be found in the reporting side where it is important for us to facilitate our customers to be able to generate the progress on their own.
How is your organization considering sustainable growth in order to continue making an impact over time?
We are a registered for profit social enterprise working to redefine therapy and education for children with disabilities and special needs. We are making it cost effective, affordable and accessible for this marginalized group of population. Our sustainability stems from our business model where we are providing technology service to relevant stakeholders whilst working for a social cause in return for a price the users pay. We aren't running a charity but want to build on augmented reality to cater to the needs of the differently-abled by using technology and human centered design.
Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact that you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question/hurdle you need to address to get there?
By 2020, we aim to expand our deployments all around Pakistan reaching a population of more than 200,000 disabled children and 1.5 million through strategic partnerships, collaborations and on ground establishment of our footprint in emergency states.
The biggest hurdle we anticipate is how do we create a robust business model that maintains sustainability while we reach out to more emergency settings than conventional and what should be the outreach strategy to cater to the needs of people.
How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) outcomes for this project?
We have well defined Impact Assessment tools whereby we measure functional and behavioral indicators alongside academic and emotional improvements. We intend to formulate a strong behavioral, emotional, academic and functional log frame that helps us analyse collected data more efficiently and for that we are seeking technology and data scientists in our team to help chalk out relevant information for the therapists, academia and psychologists.
What is the timeline for your project Idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?
The timeline for our project idea, to test it in emergency striken states in Pakistan, intends to cover a duration of 2-3 years where our milestones will be as follows:
1. Identification of marginalized and vulnerable disabled population in emergency states in Pakistan.
2. Advocacy and awareness before starting deployment in the beneficiary area.
3, Deployment and costing of intervention.
4. Hiring of full-time and volunteer staff to set up a footprint for beneficiaries.
5. Gauging Impact.
My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:
Between $100,000 and $500,000 USD
How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed Idea live?
Between 5-10 paid, full-time staff
Is your organization registered in the country that you intend to implement your Idea in?
We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.
How long have you and your colleagues been working on this Idea together?
What do you need the most support with for your innovation?
Business Development / Partnerships Support
Business Model Support
Other Technical Expertise