People ForWords

People ForWords

About

Barbara Bush Foundation, Adult Literacy, XPrize, Grand Prize Winner

Southern Methodist University (SMU) Guildhall, SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development and Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT) have joined up and formed People ForWords to participate in the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPrize. Together they are linking their expertise in game development, education and adult literacy to build an immersive fun mobile application that will advance the Adult Literacy industry.

SMU Guildhall is a premier graduate video game education program, ranked #1 Graduate School for Video Game Design, and first in the world to offer a Master of Interactive Technology degree. We also offer a Professional Certificate, and are the only program with specializations in all four cornerstones of video game development: Art Creation, Level Design, Production and Programming.

The Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development promotes excellence by engaging in and disseminating scientifically-based research, preparing exemplary professionals in education and human development, collaborating with other schools and institutions in the development of model programs and furthering positive learning experiences in all stages of life.

Literacy Instruction for Texans (LIFT) is the only adult literacy provider in the Metroplex serving very low-literate adults. Beginning with basic phonics, our programs are designed to address the needs of many different kinds of learners.


Screenshots

Here are samples of concept art, screen shots, and photos from the development of our XPRIZE application.

Portrait of the female main character, from sketch to final look

Female Adventurer. Portrait of the female main character, from sketch to final look.

Male Adventurer Portrait of the male main character, from sketch to final look.

Male Adventurer. Portrait of the male main character, from sketch to final look.

The library reward book, where players can learn about the places in the game

Library Reward Book. The library reward book, where players can learn about the places in the game.

The Codex in use, learning sight words.

Codex. The Codex in use, learning sight words.

Real-world locations. View locations around the world, like the Great Sphinx in Egypt.

Real-world locations. View locations around the world, like the Great Sphinx in Egypt.

Atlantis Jungle. The jungle engulfs the ruins of the Great Library of Atlantis.

Atlantis Jungle. The jungle engulfs the ruins of the Great Library of Atlantis.

Codex Gameplay. A sampling of gameplay, from learning letter-sounds to reinforcing vocabulary through a hidden object game.

Atlantis Library. 3D Rendering of Atlantis Library.


Our Story

Here is a list of our milestones.

  • October 2015

    Starting Up

    In October, SMU Guildhall, SMU Simmons and LIFT all came together to start discussing how to participate in the Adult Literacy XPRIZE.

  • January 2016

    A Team is Born

    People ForWords is formed, and the development team begins ramping up.

  • March 2016

    Game Development

    Development team is assembled and technology has been selected. Game Development is now in full swing!

  • October 2016

    Closed Beta!

    Codex: Lost Words of Atlantis Closed Beta Begins.

  • December 2016

    Grant

    SMU Simmons, Guildhall, and LIFT wish to acknowledge the Communities Foundation of Texas for its grant to develop People ForWords’ smartphone game for competition in the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE.

  • January 2017

    Pilot Testing

    Codex: Lost Words of Atlantis Pilot Testing with local literacy groups.

  • March 2017

    Final Submission!

    Codex: Lost Words of Atlantis Submitted to XPRIZE.

  • July 2017

    Semifinals!

    Codex: Lost Words of Atlantis was selected as a semifinalist for Adult Literacy XPRIZE.

  • March 2018

    Pilot Testing II

    This time we concentrated our research on native Spanish speakers wanting to learn English. "Before I was able to understand a little and I couldn't speak. But now I can speak more."

  • April 2018

    Final Submission!

    After an additional 5 months of development, Codex: Lost Words of Atlantis was submitted for the Adult Literacy XPRIZE Finals

  • June 2018

    Hooray!

    PeopleForWords makes the finals! Our team is one of five finalists in the Adult Literacy XPRIZE competition. The winners will be announced January, 2019.

  • September 2018

    Google Play Feature

    Codex: Lost Words of Atlantis was featured on Google's Play Store!


Our Amazing Team

Corey Clark, Ph.D. Development Lead

Corey Clark, Ph.D.
Development Lead

Anthony Cuevas, Ph.D. Instructional Design

Anthony Cuevas, Ph.D.
Instructional Design

Linda K. Johnson, Ph.D., President and CEO, LIFT

Linda K. Johnson, Ph.D.
President and CEO, LIFT

Diane Gifford, Ph.D. Literacy Specialist

Diane Gifford, Ph.D.
Literacy Specialist

Victoria Smith, Artist

Victoria Smith
Artist

Jacqueline Gan-Glatz, Artist

Jacqueline Gan-Glatz
Artist

Arnie Adams, Infrastructure

Arnie Adams
Infrastructure

Bart Holland, Infrastructure

Bart Holland
Infrastructure

Chris McCrimmons, Design/Scripting

Chris McCrimmons
Design/Scripting

Brian Rust, Programmer

Brian Rust
Programmer

Dawn Woods, Ph.D., Education Specialist

Dawn Woods, Ph.D.
Education Specialist

Yolette Garcia, Asst Dean/XPRIZE Liaison

Yolette García
Asst Dean/XPRIZE Liaison

Rukuan 'Young' Yang, Programmer

Rukuan 'Young' Yang
Programmer

Matt Saladin, Programmer

Matt Saladin
Programmer

Tim Ulrich, Programmer

Tim Ullrich
Programmer

Josh Brookover, Progammer

Josh Brookover
Programmer

Adrian Hernandez, Programmer

Adrian Hernandez
Programmer

Rebecca Ward, Programmer

Rebecca Ward
Programmer

Max Krembs, Producer

Max Krembs
Producer

Brian Applegate, Producer

Brian Applegate
Producer

Stephanie Knight, Ph.D., Dean of Simmons>

Stephanie Knight, Ph.D.
Dean of Simmons

Kate Hoffman, Director of Marketing and Communications, LIFT

Kate Hoffman
Director of Marketing & Communications, LIFT

Dan Thompson, Chief Development Office, LIFT

Dan Thompson
Chief Development Officer, LIFT

Special Thanks

PeopleForWords would like to thank founding members, Lisa Hembry, LIFT President Emerita, and Dr. David Chard, former dean of SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, for starting our collaboration, and getting us to compete for The Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE Prize.

Lisa Hembry, LIFT President Emerita

Lisa Hembry
LIFT President Emerita

David Chard, Ph.D., Former Dean of SMU's Simmons School of Education and Human Development

David Chard, Ph.D.
Former Dean of SMU's Simmons School of Education and Human Development