English as a Second Language; Engaging the Early Years through Interactive Tablet Application Software

Abstract

An interactive tablet application for the new Microsoft Surface has been developed that targets early years of primary school education (kindergarten students) for improvement in English literacy and linguistic skills. The application services remote learning in English as a second language and is developed in accordance with school curricula and learning objectives, in collaboration with Deira International School, Dubai. In the UAE, GCC and other cultural contexts that require English literacy for wider community inclusion and where parental assistance may be lacking, the software provides an invaluable aid both inside and outside the classroom, for development in reading, writing and audition. Interactive activities that offer skill development and assessment are modularized, providing tasks in listening, reading and writing with phonetics and spelling challenges, combined with audio-visual prompts. Tasks and levels are assigned automatically as determined by the software, based on real-time competency assessment of individual students; tailoring the task and its difficulty to each child's needs. Fuzzy logic is applied for task/level determination. Handwriting character recognition is embedded for skill assessment in the writing module. Parents and teachers are able to view graphical results of a child's progress, as system administrators. The software is developed in C++ on Windows 8, utilizing Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 SDK. Compared with existing solutions, the software offers many new features and benefits. It offers a holistic approach with an expanse of syllabi-based tasks and automatically assesses each student individually, providing a tailored, engaging yet comprehensive package, toward universal education and community engagement.



Author Information
Catherine Todd, University of Wollongong in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2013
Stream: Language Learning

This paper is part of the ACLL2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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