Copy Pasted Solution from last time:

Conversational turns or the back and forth between children and adults are essential to learning vocabulary and the rhythm of  conversations. Studies found that a lack of conversational turns between children and parents of low SES have contributed to the 30 million word gap. We are developing solutions that specifically take this into mind because back and forth conversations are much more effective at helping children learn words than simply just hearing them. Since low SES families may be less present due to working, we want to use technology to build tools that allow kids to hear and practice new words. This could include building AI chatbots that talk to children like a parent would or interactive e-books that would read to children and ask them simple questions like “what animal is this?” to simulate conversational turns. These tools would be presented as a game to children so that they would be excited to participate and not feel self-conscious that they are falling behind their peers.

3 yes ands:

  • Helps keep the children interested
  • Response: Yeah we think this is a major benefit to a technology like this
  • Can help simulate peer-to-peer interaction
  • Response: This would be a great goal to work towards. Having the computer be a friend that child would be able to talk to would increase conversation a lot.
  • Ebooks (online resources) are widely accessible
  • Response: Yes, between the increasing use of technology and public schools programs that distribute chromebooks/iPads to students we believe that eBooks that can be downloaded/put on flash drives (no internet access required) will be widely accessible.

3 yes buts:

  • How do you keep kids engaged/accountable when working with solitary tools?
  • Response: We’re hoping to make the audio books and other features interesting and appealing to children of this age.
  • Families, especially low SES, won’t have this sort of technology at home
  • Response: We’re hoping to have a product that won’t need internet access in order to be used. This way, it can be more widely distributed and universally accessible.
  • Social interaction is important
  • Response: We understand that social interaction is important to development and are trying to replicate conversations through interactive tools. We recognize that this is not comparable to social interaction with peers/adults. However, for many kids of low SES the alternative is no interaction at all.

Copy Pasted Solution from last time:

Another potential solution would be an afterschool and/or summer school program designed to both provide childcare and give kids one on one time with adults who can help them with homework and spend time talking to them. Ideally, this type of program would be externally funded (so free to parents) and would create a space where kids could have conversations with adults and work on vocabulary/schoolwork but also have time to engage in less structured activities. In that sense, the program would not explicitly be a vocabulary intervention that would call attention to specific children in a negative way, but would still play a role in increasing the number of words the kids heard each day.

3 yes ands:

  • Yes and this is a good approach and it allows the children not become annoyed or disinterested by keeping the curriculum dynamic.
  • Response: This is definitely something that we have been trying to stay aware of while creating our solutions, because if we create a program that the kids dread being a part of, it will not be nearly as effective
  • Yes, and we think if it is structured this way, children will not feel self conscious.
  • Response: This is also something we have been working to stay aware of, because the last thing we want to do is make kids feel like they’re being called out or that something is wrong with them. This could have a negative effect on their self-esteem, and could also create an environment for confirmation bias (where they are being told they are bad at learning and so they start believing it).
  • Yes, this kind of behavioral program is amazing, and we can make it even better if we scale up the size and goals of these programs.
  • Response: Yes, this is definitely something that would be interesting. If we were actually able to implement this solution and have it be successful, it would be great to expand it to make sure as many students as possible are being helped.

3 yes buts:

  • How would this be different from afterschool programs now?
  • Response: This is a good question and something that we may need to revise in our solution to make it more clear. Our basic idea is that unlike current afterschool programs, this one would involve a higher number of adults (either volunteers or paid workers) to work one on one with the students. That way, the kids are able to get one on one interaction and vocabulary practice that they may not receive at school or at home.
  • Can we add in other things than just talking? How about making fun word games to keep the kids involved? How about including other kids as well so it's not just adult -> kid speaking?
  • Response: This is definitely an interesting idea. We haven’t spent a lot of time discussing the details of exactly what the kids would do in this afterschool program, but incorporating some word games is a great idea. As for interactions with other kids, while this is an important part of development, that would probably occur more during the more unstructured parts of the program. The main goal here is to make sure that kids are getting the chance to practice their vocabulary with adults, so that they get experience with conversational turns and hearing new vocabulary

We didn’t get a third yes but for this solution.

We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on our solutions! As mentioned on our responses, we’ve made some tweaks on our solutions that will help make them more effective. We want to look into revising our first solution so the tool is as interactive and engaging as possible. In order for it to be an effective solution it must be a kids want to use and a tool that mimics social interactions. For the second solution, we went into a bit more detail on how the program would operate and benefit the children. As of now, both of our solutions seem promising so we haven’t made a decision yet.