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Published on Apr 3, 2013
Technology Assisted Reading Acquisition (TARA): Children Acquiring Literacy Naturally
Society faces increasing challenges in the ability to support the infrastructure of a literate world. Virtual teachers, the internet, and the ceaseless access to information hold promise. To date, however, these potential solutions do not consider research in cognitive science and the potential of the learning brain. As background, the talk reviews our previous research, technology, and applications in speech perception and language learning using our computer-animated face, Baldi. Included is a project to enhance the ability of hearing-challenged and deaf persons to understand conversational speech in face-to-face spoken interactions. The talk offers the possibility of how universal literacy can be achieved with minimal cost, allowing a revolutionary new age that challenges the survival of our educational institutions and society as we know them. It questions the commonly held belief that written language requires formal instruction and schooling whereas spoken language is seamlessly acquired from birth onward by natural interactions with persons who talk. The objectives are to prototype physical systems that exploit developments in behavioral science and technology to a) automatically recognize speech, objects, and actions and b) to display corresponding written descriptions. The goal is to create an interactive system TARA to allow infants, toddlers, and preschool children to acquire literacy naturally.
Dom Massaro is currently a Research Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz and has had an extended career of innovative language research with preschool and school children as well as adults. Dom has researched both reading and speech perception for four decades, and has advanced these fields empirically, theoretically, and technologically. He also has valuable experience of applying technology and behavioral science to real-world problems. He invented Kid Klok, an educational easy-to-read analog clock, available in both physical and software embodiments. Based on his scientific scholarship and his concomitant development of technology, he co-founded several companies which developed successful products for language learning for language-challenged children such as those with hearing loss and autism. Dom is currently president of Psyentific Mind, a company aimed at using technology and psychology to expand the reach of the human mind. His current focus is Technology Assisted Reading Acquisition (TARA).
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