Multi-Language Toys For Kindergarten Children

Dr Andrea Valente,
Hee Holmen,
Emanuela Marchetti
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sMaall is new a linguistic educational project. It aims at the creation of a set of multi-language educational tools and games, based on pictorial translation and speech recognition technology, for kindergarten children (age 3 to 5). Young learners are exposed to a rich multi-language environment, so they can play with more than two languages simultaneously, and develop multi- and meta-linguistic skills in a natural way.

A key aspect of sMaall is multi-modality, and when fully developed, the games composing sMaall will consist of animations and programs, running on PCs, the web, and mobile phones. Tangibles, such as personalized toys made of paper, enable children to continue their playful explorations also without computers. Working as an integrated system, all the sMaall applications will provide a virtual learning space, where kids can play with languages and learn simply by speaking. Here we present the principles and problems facing sMaall development, together with details of two of the core tools.

Keywords: Children education, Multi-language learning, Voice recognition, Animation, Tangibles
Stream: Technology in Education, Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English

Dr Andrea Valente

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, Aalborg University Esbjerg

I master-graduated in Computer Science in June 30th 1998 at the dep. of Computer Science of the University of Torino (Italy), with a score of 107/110. My master specialization was computer graphics; however the thesis was related to more theoretical subjects. Its title was: "Sistemi di Tipo per Linguaggi Orientati agli Oggetti: Inferenza e Controllo di Tipo" (Type systems for Object oriented language: type inference and type checking); my supervisors were Prof. Paola Giannini, and Prof. Martelli (both from University of Torino). I won a Ph.D. grant, at the University of Torino (Italy), from 1998 to February 2003, when I finished. My activity was centered on the theory and implementation problems related to programming languages for mobility (such as ambient calculus). My main research projects are: c-cards (, and sMaall. C-cards is a simple card game, where cards are computational elements; computing machines can be defined, built and animated in a concrete way by disposing cards and moving pegs around them, following formal rules. Recently I've been involved in the development of set of linguistic educational tools, that resulted in the publication of "sMaall: educational games for multi-language kids.", together with Emanuela Marchetti and Hee Holmen.

Hee Holmen

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering - Medialogi, AUE - Aalborg University Esbjerg

MA (Cand. ph) in Film Science, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway; MFA in Experimental Animation, California Institute of the Arts, USA; BFA in Fine Arts, Print-Making, Hong-Ik University, Korea; Specializing in 3D computer animation, narrative story telling, animation history, feature length film production; Research interests: cross-cultural reference, interactive narrative, stereographic, media philosophy, Japanese animation history, advanced animation technology.

Emanuela Marchetti

Ph.D. student, Center for medieval studies - Odense, University of Southern Denmark

Ref: T05P0300