Patricia Hampshire, an associate professor in the Department of Early and Special Education, posed a challenge to students in the College of Innovation and Design’s Games, Interactive Media and Mobile program: create an app to help children on the autism spectrum learn handwriting. GIMM majors Lauren Matthews, Chris Ross, Aaron Rachwitz and Casey Kawamura spent two years creating ABC Stories.
The app, available for free from the Apple Store, is suitable for kids with autism and anyone else learning handwriting, said Matthews, project manager.
The project is close to her heart. Before coming to Boise State, Matthews served for AmeriCorps teaching handwriting to kindergarteners. She recalled her own school days, learning handwriting by repetition. She wanted ABC Stories to offer something different. The app combines augmented reality with old-school storytelling. Learners participate in on-screen adventures by tracing letters.
The ABC Stories team, she said, “never lost sight of who we were creating this app for, and we kept moving forward.” That means working with local school districts to test the free app.
“I love this aspect of GIMM, that it provides hands-on learning for our students at Boise State, prepares them to be professionals, but also answers community needs,” Hampshire said.
ABC Stories is one of a number of learning tools that GIMM is creating. “We deliver these tools at little or no extra cost to have maximum benefit for children around the world,” said GIMM Director Anthony Ellertson.