Technology Assisted Reading Acquisition: 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 and brain science and relevant technology. This talk illustrates 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 meaningful events in the child’s world, and b) to display written descriptions of these experiences to the child. The goal is to create an interactive system TARA to allow infants, toddlers, and preschool children to acquire literacy naturally.