Current Projects

Urban Griot Playground (UGP)

UGP consists of a series of technology-driven family workshops that leverage multimodal pedagogies (oral/aural, visual and embodied engagement) and are informed by traits of the traditional African talking drum cultural system. Most UGP activities blend the practices of drumming, call-and-response and drum language communication with the affordances of computer interaction. This is accomplished by using a drum-like hardware interface to control interactive software applications.

Keywords: embodied learning, multimodal literacies, family relations, socioemotional development


The Drumball prototype is made of custom fabric with conductive pads providing presence of touch information of a user’s hand. It is intended to serve as a rhythm-based multimodal call-and-response platform and language learning tool. The cushion prototype version above gives a bird’s eye view of the main components which make up the device.

Keywords: tangible user interface, human-computer interaction, haptic devices, digital instruments


Built in Processing, Alphariddims is an alphabet learning app using a Morse code-like scheme to produce letters through various 4-beat drum tone combinations. By associating the concept of four-ness to the action of producing a letter, this activity connects literacy with numeracy as each letter is generated from a rhythm of 4 beats. Requires an Android tablet or mobile phone
The Unity version is cross- platform compatible, including a WebGL build allowing users to access the game from a browser. It also provides more animation and interactivity features, being a full-scale game development engine.

Keywords: Learning games, rhythm, literacy, alphabetic knowledge, phonemic awareness

Past Projects

Urban Griot Collaborative

Oral histories are embodied forms of knowledge. Accessing these stories can be difficult because personal histories are not normally communicated in any other form than oral transmission. This web utility helps to fill this gap by allowing users to upload audio feeds in a two-way exchange, enabling third parties to leave a written or verbal feedback on each story exchange.

Keywords: oral history, tacit knowledge, transmission

Project Website