Literacy on the Margin

Case Study & Paper

May 8, 2012 @ 11:30, Room: 18AB

Chair: Juan Pablo Hourcade, University of Iowa, USA
Improving Literacy in Developing Countries Using Speech Recognition-Supported Games on Mobile Devices - Paper
Contribution & Benefit: Field study discussing the extent to which productive training - enabled by speech-recognition-supported games - is superior to receptive vocabulary training for reading skills. Benefits development of speech-user interfaces for literacy.
Abstract » Learning to read in a second language is challenging, but highly rewarding. For low-income children in developing countries, this task can be significantly more challenging because of lack of access to high-quality schooling, but can potentially improve economic prospects at the same time. A synthesis of research findings suggests that practicing recalling and vocalizing words for expressing an intended meaning could improve word reading skills – including reading in a second language – more than silent recognition of what the given words mean. Unfortunately, many language learning software do not support this instructional approach, owing to the technical challenges of incorporating speech recognition support to check that the learner is vocalizing the correct word. In this paper, we present results from a usability test and two subsequent experiments that explore the use of two speech recognition-enabled mobile games to help rural children in India read words with understanding. Through a working speech recognition prototype, we discuss two major contributions of this work: first, we give empirical evidence that shows the extent to which productive training (i.e. vocalizing words) is superior to receptive vocabulary training, and discuss the use of scaffolding hints to “unpack” factors in the learner’s linguistic knowledge that may impact reading. Second, we discuss what our results suggest for future research in HCI.
Interactive Visualization for Low Literacy Users: From Lessons Learnt To Design - Paper
Community: design
Contribution & Benefit: This paper summarizes the problems that low literacy user's face when searching for information online, and establishes a set of design principles for interfaces suitable for low literacy users.
Abstract » This paper aims to address the problems low literacy (LL) users face when searching for information online. The first part of this paper summarizes the problems that LL user's face, and establishes a set of design principles for interfaces suitable for LL users. This is followed by a description of how these design principles are mapped to a novel interface for interactive data retrieval. The interface was realized into a working system and evaluated against a traditional web interface for both high literacy (HL) and LL users. The suitability of the designs was analyzed using performance data, subjective feedback and an observational analysis. The findings from the study suggest that LL users perform better and prefer the proposed designs over a traditional web interface.
Tale of Two Studies: Challenges in Field Research with Low-literacy Adult Learners in a Developed Country - Long Case Study
Community: user experience
Contribution & Benefit: Report on challenges and lessons learnt from the design of a mobile application to support adult literacy and its evaluation with a marginalized, functionally illiterate, group in a developed country.
Abstract » Efforts to address the problems of literacy are often focused on developing countries. However, functional illiteracy is a challenge encountered by up to 50% of adults in developed countries. In this paper we reflect on the challenges we faced in trying to design and study the use of a mobile application to support adult literacy with two user groups: adults enrolled in literacy classes and carpenters without a high school education enrolled in an essential skills program. We also elaborate on aspects of the evaluations that are specific to a marginalized, functionally illiterate, group in a developed country – aspects that are less frequently present in similar studies of mobile literacy support technologies in developing countries. We conclude with presenting the lessons learnt from our evaluations and the impact of the studies' specific challenges on the outcome and uptake of such mobile assistive technologies in providing practical support to low-literacy adults in conjunction with literacy and essential skills training.
Textual Tinkerability: Encouraging Storytelling Behaviors to Foster Emergent Literacy - Long Case Study
Contribution & Benefit: Case study of a storytelling prompt for fostering positive emergent literacy behaviors using: Detailed report of performative reading behaviors in emergent literacy. Video coding rubric for analyzing shared reading interactions.
Abstract » This paper presents textual tinkerability, a new concept for fostering early literacy skills during parent-child reading. Textual tinkerability maps storytelling gestures to changes in animation and text to assist reading exploration and demonstration of the link between text, spoken word, and concept. TinkRBooks are flexible tablet-based storybooks that allow readers to actively explore concepts in text using textual tinkerability. When reading TinkRBooks, both parents and children can alter text (character attributes and parts of speech) by manipulating story elements (props and characters) as they read. We demonstrate how textual tinkerability encourages more dialog, print referencing and dialogic questioning between parent-child dyads in shared reading as compared to paper books. In addition, our study reports observations of storytelling performance behaviors that foster playful and socially intimate shared reading behaviors that are closely mapped to the teaching and learning of emergent literacy skills.