1. Arthur Glenberg
  2. DIP: EMBRACEing English Language Learners with Technology
  3. Arizona State University
  1. M. Adelaida Restrepo
  2. Professor
  3. DIP: EMBRACEing English Language Learners with Technology
  4. Arizona State University
  1. Erin Walker
  2. http://faculty.engineering.asu.edu/ewalker/
  3. DIP: EMBRACEing English Language Learners with Technology
  4. Arizona State University
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 06:53 a.m.

    The interdisciplinary approach is yielding an innovative way to promote active reading for children and their parents. Have you populated EMBRACE with materials that work for different age groups? What age span do you serve? How do you ensure that all students who use the program have access to the ipads? For whom does the system work best? Any challenges?

  • Icon for: Arthur Glenberg

    Arthur Glenberg

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 04:04 p.m.

    All good questions! We have been working with kids in grades 2-5. It would be great to have materials for older kids, but given limited resources we are focusing on those kids for whom we think we will have the greatest impact. As of now, we don’t know for whom the system works best…in our limited data the intervention seems to work well for just about everyone.

    The real challenge is political. In Arizona, it is mandated by state law (with a few exceptions) that English Language Learning kids have to have a four-hour block of English-only instruction. Because we use a modicum of Spanish in the application, we can only work with kids in after school programs. Thus, it is tough for the kids (who are tired) and school administrators (who have to worry about transportation, etc.), and tough for us to collect enough data to test and refine the system.

  • Icon for: Debra Bernstein

    Debra Bernstein

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 11:58 a.m.

    This is a really nice integration of reading and technology, and it’s clear (from your video) how the technology provides additional opportunities to the reader. In your research, have you examined the impact of children reading alone with EMBRACE vs. with a teacher or parent? I’m curious whether there is a specific benefit to be gained from co-viewing.

  • Icon for: Arthur Glenberg

    Arthur Glenberg

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 03:57 p.m.

    Thanks. Your research question is on the agenda, but as of now, we only have anecdotes from observing mothers working with their children (as in the video). One observations was that the kids were having more fun reading with their moms than with researchers. How do we know? They laughed at the jokes we had embedded in some of the texts.

  • Icon for: Debra Bernstein

    Debra Bernstein

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 01:35 p.m.

    That’s a pretty good piece of data! It sounds like your primary method, at this point, is to have kids reading with researchers and then measuring learning outcomes. Is that correct? If so, what are the next steps for transferring the tool into independent use in the after school settings?

  • Icon for: Arthur Glenberg

    Arthur Glenberg

    Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 11:57 a.m.

    Well, we actually have several more steps before getting to independent use after school. First we need to verify that our plans for the IMAGINE scaffolding (see below in a later post) work out. Second, we need to figure out how long of an intervention is needed to show gains on standardized measures of reading. Then, our long-term plan is to partner with an educational publisher and let them figure out the transfer to independent use!

  • Icon for: Nevin Katz

    Nevin Katz

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 09:20 p.m.

    Very cool! This app looks like a great tool for teaching both science and English in an interactive way. I noticed the clip of the pathway of blood through the heart…do you have a range of science topics that you plan to cover? Are you thinking of housing all the content in one app, or multiple apps?

  • Icon for: Arthur Glenberg

    Arthur Glenberg

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 11:16 p.m.

    Thanks much! As of now, we have three science topics: Blood Circulation, Laws of Motion, and Natural Disasters (with a lot of plate tectonics). We are planning to add one more in the social sciences.

    In asking your question, you may be thinking, “Oh, they need to add a lot to make complete curricula,” and of course you are correct. But, our goal is not to make complete curricula. Instead, we want to teach the kids an effective, embodied strategy for reading, and thereby turn them into readers who no longer need the EMBRACE application because they can read on their own. The point of the variety of texts is to give the kids the opportunity to exercise the strategy with different types of texts.

    Because it is not as visually exciting, the video doesn’t show the next step in the process in which we teach the kids to IMAGINE manipulating the images. That step has proven to be effective as a scaffold between the literal manipulation of pictures and independent reading.

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 09:19 a.m.

    Your next step—helping the kids to IMAGINE manipulating the images is very exciting. How will the technology provide feedback to the imagined scenarios? Also, your notion of using the embodied strategy to turn students into readers who no longer need EMBRACE is a good one. Do you have any preliminary indicators about what it takes for students to make that transition? Have any of your students done that?

  • Icon for: Arthur Glenberg

    Arthur Glenberg

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 06:54 p.m.

    Periodically, as kids IMAGINE they are shown “an imagination check.” This check asks the children two choose between two possibilities. For example, if the child has just read “The cat drinks the milk from the bucket,” one possibility shows the cat facing the bucket and the other shows the cat facing away from the bucket.

    We have some preliminary data from monolingual English-speaking children. Those data show that for second-graders, just a few stories isn’t enough to allow them to transfer the strategy to new texts, but for third-graders it is. Thus, we are developing eight multi-chapter stories that we hope we be enough for the younger kids.

    Interestingly, for mono-lingual Spanish speaking kids reading in Spanish, just a few stories seems to be enough to get them to apply the strategy on their own…at least in the near term. We think that this is because Spanish has such a consistent orthography that it is relatively easy for kids to sound out the words. Then, when they have a good strategy for comprehension, they are able to use it. For the kids reading in English, it is so hard to just pronounce the words, that they need a lot of practice.

  • Icon for: Debra Bernstein

    Debra Bernstein

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 07:45 p.m.

    Are there any plans to expand EMBRACE to support English Language learners whose primary language is something other than Spanish? Given your response to Vivian’s question above, I wonder if supporting language learners with different native languages would require a lot of modification?

  • Icon for: Arthur Glenberg

    Arthur Glenberg

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 08:48 p.m.

    Yes, indeed! We applied for a PIRE award to take EMBRACE worldwide, but unfortunately, we did not receive funding. Nonetheless, we established relations with researchers in Arabic-, Filipino-, and Mandarin-speaking countries, as well as in South America. We hope to expand to those languages as soon as funding permits.

    There may be all sorts of unexpected psychological, educational, and cultural challenges when working with kids who speak those languages. But, we have designed the system to minimize technological challenges.

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 09:28 a.m.

    I am thinking that the Regional Education Laboratories funded by ED should be very interested in what you are doing. Have you linked with any of them to share your work?

  • Icon for: Arthur Glenberg

    Arthur Glenberg

    Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 11:49 a.m.

    That’s a great idea. A quick look at the West Region indicates that the projects are more descriptive of the current situation than interventionist. Nonetheless, worth a followup.

  • Icon for: Nevin Katz

    Nevin Katz

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 10:29 a.m.

    Very interesting work. What types of technological challenges have you faced and how do you try to minimize them?

  • Icon for: Erin Walker

    Erin Walker

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 03:40 p.m.

    One challenge has been an authoring challenge. The vision for EMBRACE is to allow new content to be loaded into the app fairly easily. However, due to the complexity of the app, there is a lot of metadata associated with each story, ranging from how the images should be moved to the new vocabulary found in the story. We are currently using an xml encoding to represent the story content and metadata, allowing new stories to be encoded and loaded without code changes. This separation of content and code will also make it possible to more easily translate the stories to different languages.

    Another difficulty we faced was in designing the touch-based interaction between the child and the app. Our goals were to balance making the app intuitive to use with enabling the child to embody a variety of concepts through the interaction. We settled on the drag and drop interaction shown in the video due to its simplicity and learnability. In the future, we plan on exploring more complex gestures the child might be able to perform to allow the child to express more concepts.

  • Icon for: Debra Bernstein

    Debra Bernstein

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 07:21 p.m.

    As I was watching your video again, I started to wonder about the narration voice in the EMBRACE system. Are there both male and female voices in the read-aloud narratives? How did you decide which types of voices to use?

  • Icon for: Arthur Glenberg

    Arthur Glenberg

    Presenter
    May 14, 2015 | 10:38 a.m.

    Hah! The voices you hear are two male voices (mine and that of a graduate student from Columbia). He was chosen for his Spanish accent. Then, we chose me just to have a male voice in English. Since then, we have found a really good text to speech system that has good accents in Spanish and English and speaks with good prosody. We are replacing all of the previously recorded sound files with these computer generated ones. For those, we also selected male voices based on our informal assessment of clarity.

  • Icon for: Debra Bernstein

    Debra Bernstein

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 07:54 p.m.

    That’s great – you could have a career in voice over!

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 04:07 p.m.

    Thanks for a great discussion. I learned a lot.

  • Icon for: Debra Bernstein

    Debra Bernstein

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 07:54 p.m.

    I’ll second the thanks. I learned a lot too, and enjoyed hearing about EMBRACE.

  • Icon for: Nevin Katz

    Nevin Katz

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 09:27 p.m.

    Thanks for an excellent discussion, everyone!

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.