Study Shows Augmented Reality Program Helps Kids Read
At the #ISTE2014 Conference in Atlanta, the EdTechDaily carried the following interview with Dr. Tamara Ogletree, who headed up the research that was recently published on Letters alive.
Q: Dr. Ogletree, you have done independent research on the effectiveness of using a 3D augmented reality product in the classroom, Letters alive. Can you tell us, in your own words, what Letters alive is and how you came to conduct this study?
A: Sure. Letters alive is a supplemental reading program used to teach early literacy skills via augmented reality. I was first introduced to this program actually by happenstance. I was attending a training event about how to use a new piece of equipment that had been placed in classrooms on campus. The presenter knew that my area of teaching was in literacy education, so at the end of the presentation she demonstrated the Letters alive program for me and a couple other participants. This was my first introduction to using augmented reality for literacy instruction. I was fascinated by the program and the possibilities that it might have. I especially saw uses for English Language Learners and at risk learners.
Q: What were the major impacts on student achievement that you were able to measure?
A: Well, as a researcher, I usually don’t get too excited about the findings from the numbers, but in this case, I literally jumped up and down at the results. The achievement scores by students who had full implementation of the program increased by 48% over their pre-test scores on letter naming fluency and an increase of 112% on letter sound fluency.
Q: How would you compare student engagement using Letters alive to the kind of engagement we would expect from other technologies such as student response systems or interactive whiteboards?
A: Our observational data showed that students were more actively engaged in the lessons when using Letters alive than during lessons using interactive whiteboards. As a result of students being actively engaged, classroom management problems decreased. Response time to questions increased too.
Q: Were there any specific skills that improved more than others using Letters alive?
A: Oh yes! Letter Sound Fluency was increased exponentially.
Q: We talked about the impact that Letters alive has on students. Did you observe how it might have helped teachers?
A: Yes. As I mentioned earlier, a finding from the research involved student engagement. The teachers who were part of this study were surprised at how students who typically had attention difficulties were consistently engrossed in the program. The students responded to the animals because of the sound and visual stimulation. Another added benefit was that the computer assisted voice gives the teacher an alternative pronunciation that negates the effects of regional pronunciations. This had the most benefits for the ELL students.