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Alpha Tiles

Creating literacy games for the world's 7,000 languages

There are no literacy game apps for 98% of the world's languages. Our open source platform makes it possible to create a basic literacy games app in one week.

HundrED 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

Web presence






Target group
Students early
July 2023
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.

We are currently running a pilot test for the 2022-2023 school year for 185 students in a bilingual (Spanish, Me'phaa) primary school. By March 2023, students were on average outperforming the baseline scores (September 2022) of students two to three years older (e.g. 2nd graders (Mar 2023) outperforming 6th graders (Sep 2023)).

The Alpha Tiles code is open source.

How has it been spreading?

The Alpha Tiles app is being tested in 51 languages with a median of 30,000 speakers. Another 117 teams have begun the process of creating a "language pack" for a new localization of Alpha Tiles. The app correctly handles Roman and Thai scripts. Arabic and Devanagari script support is in development.

In the next 2-3 years, 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 alpha_tiles@sil.org.

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
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Steps to create a new localization of Alpha Tiles
Please follow the steps in this guide: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1w-BTKk2MuJIwTFXfXP8cNShU0QI6MSXM5YJQxcaP4uk/edit#slide=id.p1

Spread of the innovation

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