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Thanks for these questions, Michael.

The initial target group is trainee teachers, using their own phone (we found that 90% of teachers on the Ghana programme, even those who have apparently zero or negative income, do have a phone and know how to use it). It may be different in sophisticated urban settings where parents may themselves access it, but we don't expect many users to be illiterate parents who don't have phones. Rather the KG teachers will mediate the information to them through open days in KG classes, and face to face work with parents in the community, drawing them into the school and into their child's learning. See our responses to some of the questions from the IDEO team. This is not an end-user app (where the child or parent - with exceptions) accesses the website) but one directed at teachers and others who already have a phone - albeit an extremely simple one.

The significant difference from earlier phone-based programmes is that if you possess any phone at all, you can not just access (download) someone else's material, but also contribute and feed back (upload), on a basis of complete equality.


Kieran commented on Story Stones (updated Jan 15)

A great idea and congratulations on the progress you have made on it already. The importance of developing a child's creativity and communication skills cannot be overstressed. Have you thought at all about how you would assess the impact that this game has on the child's development of these skills?

In response to your questions (see also our updated Q&A document):

We plan to have this blog and instant surveys in place by end of March 2015 (see ‘How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?’ in our post). But we know what it will look like because we have seen blogs operating on other feature-phone optimised sites across Africa (e.g., and, which like ours are managed by our consortium member Every1Mobile. The questions posed to users to feedback on should ideally be simple menu-driven ones, mainly involving selecting 1, 2, 3 etc from a range of short text options. Free text options need mainly to be limited to short responses eg of SMS/tweet length. However one can get a fantastic amount of feedback in that way.

Our coordinator in Ghana has been surprised by the level of knowledge that teachers have of even the simplest concepts of the phonics approach and this has led to iterations to ensure we are beginning from a more basic level. Another useful learning point has been that some teachers have become confused between which information is to help their own understanding and which provides activities for the teachers to use with the pupils. We have therefore refined the structure to make it clearly have two strands to avoid this confusion. We will continue our user testing to refine it further!

We have added our site ( into our post but because of the limited formatting options it is not particularly clear. The website is being regularly update with more exciting content.