Promoting Educational Opportunity

Case Study, Paper & ToCHI

May 8, 2012 @ 14:30, Room: 18AB

Chair: Anthony Hornof, University of Oregon, USA
Signing on the Tactile Line: A Multimodal System for Teaching Handwriting to Blind Children - ToCHI
Contribution & Benefit: McSig is a multimodal system for teaching blind children to write and draw. Similar combinations of tactile, haptic, sound and stylus interaction could be useful for other non-visual interaction situations.
Abstract » We present McSig, a multimodal system for teaching blind children cursive handwriting so that they can create a personal signature. For blind people handwriting is very difficult to learn as it is a near-zero feedback activity that is needed only occasionally, yet in important situations; for example to make an attractive and repeatable signature for legal contracts. McSig aids the teaching of signatures by translating digital ink from the teacher’s stylus gestures into three non-visual forms: (1) audio pan and pitch represents the x and y movement of the stylus; (2) kinaesthetic information is provided to the student through a force-feedback haptic pen which mimics the teacher’s stylus movement; (3) a physical tactile line on the writing sheet is created by the haptic pen.
McSig has been developed over two major iterations of design, usability testing and evaluation. The final step of the first iteration was a short evaluation with eight visually impaired children. The results suggested that McSig had the highest potential benefit for congenitally and totally blind children and also indicated some areas where McSig could be enhanced. The second prototype incorporated significant modifications to the system, improving the audio, tactile and force-feedback. We then ran a detailed, longitudinal evaluation over 14 weeks with three of the congenitally blind children to assess McSig’s effectiveness in teaching the creation of signatures. Results demonstrated the effectiveness of McSig – they all made considerable progress in learning to create a recognizable signature. By the end of ten lessons two of the children could form a complete, repeatable signature unaided, the third could do so with a little verbal prompting. Furthermore, during this project we have learnt valuable lessons about providing consistent feedback between different communications channels (by manual interactions, haptic device, pen correction) that will be of interest to others developing multimodal systems.
Collaboration in Cognitive Tutor Use in Latin America: Field Study and Design Recommendations - Paper
Community: user experience
Contribution & Benefit: Describes observations from a field study of children in three developing regions using adaptive educational technology. Presents guidelines for future development of technology that accounts for a collaborative use context.
Abstract » Technology has the promise to transform educational prac-tices worldwide. In particular, cognitive tutoring systems are an example of educational technology that has been ex-tremely effective at improving mathematics learning over traditional classroom instruction. However, studies on the effectiveness of tutor software have been conducted mainly in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, and little is known about how these systems might be used in other contexts with differing classroom practices and values. To understand this question, we studied the usage of mathematics tutoring software for middle school at sites in three Latin American countries: Brazil, Mexico, and Costa Rica. While cognitive tutors were designed for individual use, we found that students in these classrooms worked collaboratively, engaging in interdependently paced work and conducting work away from their own computer. In this paper we present design recommendations for how cognitive tutors might be incorporated into different classroom practices, and better adapted for student needs in these environments.
Building a Case for M-learning in Africa: African Youth Perspectives on Education - Long Case Study
Community: design
Contribution & Benefit: The paper provides valuable insights into African youth in terms of education challenges and opportunities hence inspiring and informing research and development of technologies for Africa particularly for m-learning.
Abstract » This paper is based on a case study of six African countries. It takes a look at education challenges faced by African youth and the gaps that exist in the education systems. African youth have the potential to be frontrunners in socio-economic transformation in the continent. They need to be empowered to be able to play their part. The huge gaps between education policy and practice, and other problems in this sector leave many African youth out of the system. Information and communication technology (ICT) is being integrated in education in many African countries. The emphasis has been on equipping schools with computers and literacy of the same. However the progress and impact is minimal due to inadequate resources, infrastructural challenges and lack of capacity. Mobile phone penetration in the continent has increased phenomenally unlike ownership of personal computers. This paper therefore proposes m-learning using mobile phones as a logical and viable channel of delivering education to African youth.
Evaluating the Implicit Acquisition of Second Language Vocabulary Using a Live Wallpaper - Paper
Contribution & Benefit: Using a novel language learning interfaces (called Vocabulary Wallpaper) we explore if second language vocabulary can be implicitly acquired through a user’s explicit interactions with her mobile phone.
Abstract » An essential aspect of learning a second language is the acquisition of vocabulary. However, acquiring vocabulary is often a protracted process that requires repeated and spaced exposure; which can be difficult to accommodate given the busyness of daily living. In this paper, we explore if a learner can implicitly acquire second language vocabulary through her explicit interactions with her mobile phone (e.g., navigating multiple home screens) using an interface we developed called Vocabulary Wallpaper. In addition, we examine if the type of vocabulary this technique exposes to the learner, whether it is contextually relevant or contextually-independent will influence the learner’s rate of vocabulary acquisition. The results of our study show participants were able to use Vocabulary Wallpaper to increase the number of second language vocabulary that they can recognize and recall and their rate of vocabulary acquisition was significantly greater when presented with a contextually relevant vocabulary than a contextually-independent vocabulary.