UGR app, Galexia, nominated for Best University Game by AIAS and now on Google Play

UGR app, Galexia, nominated for Best University Game by AIAS and now on Google Play

Galexia still

   14 June 2016

Galexia, a mobile phone app developed at the University of Granada, is now available on Google Play for Android and has been nominated for the Best University Game Award by the Spanish Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS).

Scientists at the University of Granada (UGR) have developed an interactive game app for smart phones that notably improves the reading ability of children with dyslexia and reading and writing difficulties.

The application, known as Galexia, is now available on Google Play for Android and has been nominated for Best University Game at the annual celebration of the National Videogame Awards held by the Spanish Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. The winners will be announced at the 12th Games & Interactive Entertainment Conference (GAMELAB), which will be held in Barcelona from 29th June to 1st July 2016.

Galexia is the product of a collaborative effort between researchers and students at UGR. The development of the Android app is supported by the work of UGR’s LEE research team, Professors Francisca Serrano and Sylvia Defior from the Faculty of Psychology for the psychoeducational content and Professor Manuel García Olmedo from UGR’s School of Computer & Telecommunication Engineering. The app also relies on contributions from the software development group Pambú! Developers, led by Jose Francisco Bravo Sánchez, who is also the IT developer; Alvaro Maillo, who is in charge of the app’s graphics; and Roberto Acebrón and Sergio Bascuñana, who are in charge of the music for Galexia.

The application is presented in the form of an interactive game with content adapted to the educational level of the player. It attempts to encourage a playful and motivational drive in young learners. As an Android app, it is manageable, attractive and user-friendly, making it a valuable resource for the treatment of reading and writing difficulties, as well as the improvement of reading skills for those with dyslexia.

An extraterrestrial companion

Francisca Serrano Chica and José Francisco Bravo

      Francisca Serrano Chica & José Francisco Bravo, creators of Galexia

As its creators explain, the intervention programme that Galexia develops “is organized so that the user will join an alien companion on a fun and exciting intergalactic journey from Earth to his home planet, Leximundo. Aboard the ship, players will travel around the galaxy over 24 gaming sessions, during which they will take part in a diverse array of activities and mini-games that will enhance their ability to learn and improve their reading fluency, all within an entertaining and enjoyable environment. They must overcome all the obstacles that get in the way: facing enemy UFOs, solving puzzles and riddles, exploring unknown planets and much more.”

Improving reading fluency and comprehension in cases of dyslexia and literacy difficulties is a pressing issue which needs to be addressed within the psychoeducational and language intervention fields. To this end, the development of this educational app was based on research evidence in literacy studies.

The intervention programme is individualized and adapted to the pace of each player. It is structured and sequential (starting with reading syllables, then words and finally texts) using repeated and accelerated reading as effective intervention methods for improving reading fluency in those with dyslexia. The intervention is complemented by phonological reinforcement activities, phoneme-grapheme correspondence rules, spelling pattern rules, and comprehension activities.

Available for primary schools

Currently, the app is available for children from 2nd to 6th class of primary school and is already being released among dyslexia associations, PTAs and schools in Spain and Spanish-speaking countries such as Argentina and Ecuador, among others.

Galexia has been very well received and has amassed a high number of downloads (over 3000 already), placing it at the top of world rankings of psychoeducational apps geared toward improving reading and writing skills and with a specific focus on dyslexia. Future developments are aimed at creating an app adapted to meet the needs of secondary school students and adults.

The advantage of Galexia over other apps is that it is backed by an empirical study. The developers note that the app “is the result of an evidence-based research project and has been scientifically validated. It draws on the work experience of expert researchers in the field of literacy intervention and software development. It’s not just a game; it's a programme for the monitoring, adjustment and improvement of the user in each session based on their results.”

In addition, the app has led to hundreds of success stories in many schools and has been praised by teachers and experts working in the fields of dyslexia, speech therapy and education. Studies conducted on people with reading and writing difficulties show how, after training, reading scores of children with these difficulties reach similar levels to those of children without such difficulties.

As an incidental result reported by teachers, professionals and families, scientists at UGR have found that Galexia even leads to a greater interest in reading. Therefore, it may be helpful not only for children with reading and writing difficulties but also for the general population as an incentive to reading development.

Watch the official trailer here:
Galexia: Improving Reading Fluency v=IcVQa_BnZL8

Download the free application for Android here:

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