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Alpha Tiles

Creating literacy games for the world's 7,164 languages

There are no literacy game apps for 98% of the world's languages. Using our open-source platform, new apps can be created in one-week workshops or via online collaboration in a Google Drive. Around the world, hundreds of millions of children start school in an unknown language. With the Alpha Tiles app, children can begin reading in their own language before continuing to a national language.

HundrED 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

Web presence






Target group
Students early
July 2024
One billion people speak a language at home that is not one of the 150 most spoken languages in the world. Our hope is that the children of these families will begin learning literacy skills in the language they know best, enabling a more positive experience in formal education as they learn literacy skills in the regional and national languages of their countries.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

98% of the world's languages have no literacy game apps available. Children who first learn basic literacy skills in their home language will be more successful when they transition to literacy in regional and national languages.

Our platform facilitates the creation of a basic literacy games app for Android that is free and works offline. The app can be created in as little as one week.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

The Alpha Tiles app can be built with as many as 120 games ordered from easiest (picture matching) to hardest (spell from memory). All games are at the word level or below. It can be used in informal or formal learning and for child or adult literacy.

Our first school pilot (Sep 2022 to present) is supporting 185 students in a bilingual (Spanish, Me'phaa) primary school. By March 2023, students were on average outperforming the baseline scores (Sep 2022) of students two to three years older (e.g. 2nd graders (Mar 2023) outperforming 5th graders (Sep 2023)). Additional pilots are underway in Indonesia and elsewhere in Mexico.

Each localization of the app is also informally distributed within the language community.

How has it been spreading?

The Alpha Tiles app is being tested in 109 languages with a median population of 50,000 speakers. Another 188 teams have begun the process of creating a "language pack" for a new localization of Alpha Tiles. Apps have been created for the following scripts: Ancient South Arabian, Arabic, Devanagari, Khmer, Lao, Roman and Thai.

New apps are created in workshops or via remote collaboration in Google Drive.

Going forward, we want to develop a web version of Alpha Tiles that further simplifies localization of the app into new languages. This would be in addition to (not replacing) the Android version. The web version would also allow the creation of print resources (e.g. downloading five unique word search pages for a particular language).

If I want to try it, what should I do?

To start creating Alpha Tiles in a new language, email We will create a Google Drive project folder for your language. To create the app, you will define your own wordlist and then provide images and audio for each word. More information is available in the setup instructions:

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

The innovation provides an open source platform allowing virtually anyone to make a language learning app in any language. This can be particularly impactful in languages spoken by a small number of people and for languages with a lack of resources.

The program's collaborative implementation with local speakers of each language is a notable strength, ensuring its adaptability and scalability to various settings. This approach guarantees its effectiveness in achieving its intended purpose.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Prepare a new language pack for Alpha Tiles
Alpha Tiles apps are created with "language packs" organized in a Google Drive project folder. Email to request a new project folder be set up. You will then follow this setup guide:
Validate and build your Alpha Tiles app
After completing the previous step, most teams ask SIL validate and compile their new app for them. But teams can also validate and build their own app in Android Studio by following these steps:

Spread of the innovation

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