Using online resources to improve children’s lan­guage skills: Prospects and Challenges

Charles Hulme, Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford


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Oral lan­guage skills are a crit­i­cal foun­da­tion for the devel­op­ment of lit­er­a­cy skills and for for­mal edu­ca­tion more broad­ly. Our group is engaged in devel­op­ing lan­guage inter­ven­tions and lan­guage assess­ment tools. Online App based assess­ments hold huge promise for allow­ing class teach­ers to iden­ti­fy chil­dren with poor lan­guage skills who would ben­e­fit from tar­get­ed lan­guage inter­ven­tions. Such tools can also poten­tial­ly help teach­ers to under­stand more about the nature and preva­lence of oral lan­guage dif­fi­cul­ties. I will describe a sys­tem that we are cur­rent­ly devel­op­ing (ATLAS- Auto­mat­ed Test­ing of LAn­guage Skills). Chil­dren with poor lan­guage skills require suit­able edu­ca­tion­al inter­ven­tions. To date there is lim­it­ed evi­dence that com­put­erised reme­di­a­tion pro­grammes work (I will describe one that doesn’t). An impor­tant issue is the extent to which effec­tive child friend­ly tools can be devel­oped to improve the deliv­ery of lan­guage and oth­er edu­ca­tion­al interventions.

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