Eric Seneca's blog

Going present some of my work in the Big Easy

Thank you for your submission to E-Learn 2014--World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education to be held in New Orleans, LA, United States, October 27-30, 2014. We are pleased to inform you that the Program Committee of E-Learn 2014, after rigorous peer review, has decided to ACCEPT your submission for presentation.

It is always good news to get something accepted at an international academic conference. I have some editing to do to revise the paper, but overall the comments of the reviewers was good. Unfortunatly, when I submitted this document for review, I accedently submitted an earlier draft instead of the final draft. After contacting the editors and making the corrections, it seems the wrong version still got reviewed an accepted. As I refine the paper for October, it will be a very interesting presentation. Here is the current abstract of the paper:

 

 

 

Title

Mobile learning management systems: Is ubiquitous access to instructional content enough?

 

Abstract

The growth in Internet usage has coincided with the significant growth of access to cellular phone networks. The preferred technology just five short years ago, the personal computer, is being replace with a new, highly mobile device; the smartphone. The purpose of this study was to determine if simply providing ubiquitous access to instructional content via a mobile learning management system app would enhance student learning. Using a random prettest/posttest control group design, participants in the treatment were given apps that mimicked the College’s learning management system. The control received a placebo app that was constructed for a mobile learner’s context. The results showed that the treatment group’s mean score (M = 17.740, sd = 3.910) was significantly lower than that of the control (M = 20.093, sd = 2.935). During the duration of the study, the students in the treatment group used their app for a period of 120.27 hours with a mean time per user being 4.40 hours. In contrast, the control group used their apps for a period of 99.18 hours with a mean time per user being 3.3 hours during the study. There was no evidence to support the conclusion simply providing access to content via a Mobile LMS app correlates to more learning.

Building a new sound app for #cochlear children

Over the past month I have spent a lot of time working on a new mobile app for children. Unfortunately, this has not left me with much blogging time. This new app is working on environmental sounds and trying to help children associate sounds to imagery. What is making this app difficult is that I am trying to design it for a child who cannot read. So, it will require audio instructions throughout the entire app. That is a new concept from a human-computer interaction design aspect for me. I hope to have a prototype completed by the end of next week. Till then, I will keep monitoring the boards and Facebook for issues concerning CIs.

Executive Functioning, the math is right, the conclusions are all wrong #cochlear #implants #research

A few weeks back a number of trade magazines had the following type of headline, “Some Kids With Cochlear Implants Face Cognitive Risks.” [1] That headline is an attention grabber; it conjures up in the mind a correlation between cochlear implantation and cognitive risks. This article cites research coming out of Indiana University looking at 73 children implanted before the age of seven in comparison to 78 children with normal hearing. They report that “Delays in executive functioning have been commonly reported by parents and others who work with children with cochlear implants.” [1] In the article, they go on to state that

“In this study, about one third to one half of children with cochlear implants were found to be at risk for delays in areas of parent-rated executive functioning, such as concept formation, memory, controlled attention, and planning,” he said. “This rate was two to five times greater than that seen in normal-hearing children.”

This information was widely reported on multiple CI parents’ websites and the reaction was strong. Many felt the study had no validity because it did not compare CI children to deaf non-implanted children. Still others, I believe, correctly defined the issue. The problem was not the study, it was the headline used by the authors. After reading the headline, article and reviewing the poster presentation for the study, the news article without a doubt puts forward a false correlation, one the researchers did not present in their poster. I guess that should not be a surprise, sensationalism in journalism, but I also think there is a fundamental misunderstanding about children with cochlear implants and their learning curve. To illustrate, lets explore the idea of executive functioning.


What is Executive Functioning? Executive functioning is the application and synthesis of acquired information. In education we like to call it higher order thinking or crucial thinking. Here is a commonly accepted taxonomy for learning called Bloom’s revised taxonomy. If you look at the graph, you will see the various levels of cognition as defined by Bloom. What we call lower-order thinking are simply memorization and understanding a concept. As you progress up the taxonomical triangle, you see that you move from simply acquiring information to applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating with that information.

Executive function would exist at the upper parts of the triangle. It's a learned activity. Students need to be explicitly taught to use these skills. Most speech therapy focuses on sound and the acquisition of words, but in many cases do not give the student the opportunity to apply that information in real and meaningful ways. Much of what I have observed through my own son’s speech therapy is behavioral in nature and exists at a lower taxonomical level. At first this is completely necessary. A child with a CI needs to learn how to identify sound. Their brains need a period where they can start to integrate the auditory sense. But, at some unknown point, their brains understand how to use sound, but in many cases we just keep feeding in lower order information.

What is suspect in this study and many is the idea of the control group and how we as educators go about helping children with CIs. Maybe the reason we continue to find issues with the development of CI children is because our measure and approaches to their education are all wrong. As researchers and educators, we are trained to look at a norm, see a deviation, develop a plan to address that deviation and then compare to the norm to see how the intervention worked. This concept of basic scientific method works as long as the norm you look at is the correct norm. Our math can be completely right, the method sound, the treatment and control group intact, and the conclusion can be all wrong.

Comparing CI children to normal hearing children would seem to be a very good methodology, but it is not. CI children have too many factors different from normal hearing children to ever truly meet their milestones in the compressed time one learns spoken language. The mainstreaming goal is to fast pace a CI student so they can catch up, but the problem with this approach, learning does not happen that way. We learn langue over a long period of time through a recursive process of informed trial and error. During that period a child constructs their own understanding of language through years of exploration, correction, reflection and resolution of ideas and concepts. Understanding words and sounds is a lower order thinking process, but putting together meaningful language requires us to adapt and synthesis language through meaningful social experiences. We do not learn higher order thinking from approaches that ask us to simply identify and memorize.

Finally, maybe it is time for CI researchers to identify a new control group, high performing CI children that were implanted at age one or less. Throughout the literature I continue to see studies that compare CI subjects that have a wide variation in implantation date. For instance a 2011 study that came to the same results about executive functioning risks, looked at children that had been implanted before the age of seven, but the mean implantation age was 33.7 months. So on average, for this study, the average child was functionally deaf for the first three years of their life. Then at age three, they are implanted and introduced to sound. Then over a period of time they are measured for executive functioning and we find a deficiency. That does not seem to me to be a sound method in that we know from the literature factors such as socio-economic status and age of implantation can have significant influence on results. Throughout the literature we see children implanted at a very young age performing high on most scales. We need to recognize that CI children have different developmental experiences and patterns. Those patterns need to be identified and applied to subsequent generations of research as the control.

Source: http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/05/25/some-children-with-cochlear-implants-face-cognitive-risks/70335.html
 

The summer semester has begun #cochlear #learning #education

It has been a busy couple of weeks. The week before and after the beginning of a semester is always a lively and active time. Getting new students ready for their journey can be a daunting task, but worth the efforts. The duties in my office has not allowed me much time for scholarship for this site, but as the normal summer cycle begins to take hold, there will be much more time for research and writing. I have used the past two weeks to really dive into the current round of information that has been from the current study. All in all, I have had 42 parents accept my invitation to participate in my research. I am really excited about what I am seeing in the results and I am coding the data furiously. I have converted my and my wife’s personal journal about our experiences in the first year of Landon’s life into an ethnographic timeline. It is amazing to see how the experiences we have resemble many of other parents during that first year. I am working hard on the manuscript a bit at a time and hope to have a first draft of it by the end of the summer. I am taking a week in July of personal time off from work to concentrate just on writing. More on that later…

Learning styles, auditory versus visual learners #cochlear #geauxtigers #lionup

You may have run into a this type of conversations in the past, “I am a visual learning while someone else says, “Well, I am an auditory learner.” This idea of learning styles have been much debated in the educational literature for decades, but despite countless efforts to determine ways to enhance learning through styles, not much progress has been made. Much of what we know about learning comes from this idea of identifying the way a child learns best and then presenting content and material in that manner.  If you look at this concept of auditory versus visual learning, there is no evidence to support the conclusion that learning styles exist. In 2009 a team of experts in the psychology of learning found that although many studies purport to find evidence of the existing of auditory or visual learners, most of those studies to not meet the criteria of basic scientific validity.

In the world of learning and education, many of us have known for a while that learning is not dictated by one dominate source of input. Learning occurs all the time with a multitude of stimuli processed by our brains. Language acquisition is a process of situated cognition. Putting children in situations that require them to understand the vocabulary and then apply that vocabulary in their diction will yield the best results. So what does this mean for our auditory versus visual aspects of language learning? It seems that it gives us an idea that the playing field is level. If one approaches the problem of learning language from either perspective, then there is a high likelihood that outcomes will be achieved regardless of the path. Understanding yours or your child’s learning style may not give you the desired outcomes. It seems that what you put in, is what you get out in many cases.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216162356.htm

What the Eyes Reveal, a review #cochlear #ASL

When I woke up this morning, I began to think of the day’s events. During breakfast, my wife introduced me to a post from one of the Facebook groups that we belong to about ASL. The post was from a user and it was recommending watching a video on ASL language. The video was by Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto entitled What the Eyes Reveal. The discussion that resulted between my wife and I was very interesting as we are wanting to introduce our family to ASL. She and I have some differeing viewpoints on the issue. Needless to say, the video sparked a health debate on the parents group about some assertions by Dr. Petitto. I decided to take some time at lunch today and watch the video, which I thought was very interesting and thought provoking. I could not resist posting my comments to Facebook. Here is what I wrote,

I would not draw too many conclusion from the video. The speaker described many assumptions that I would characterize as easily dismissible. For instance, at one point the speaker lays out the assumption that language acquisition can only be accomplished via auditory stimulus. I would suggest that is an old way of looking at the issue. I think it would be more accurate to say that if your end goal of language for a child is spoken language, then auditory stimulus is the best route to accomplish that goal. Conversely, if the goal is a visual language, then visual language will more than likely be the best path. The human brain is wired from birth to be bimodal, we all hear and see as part of a typical state of human existence. The development of spoken, and the word spoken is really important here, is best done through auditory, not visual means. There is a lot of empirical evidence to support that assertion. That is not to say that deaf individuals cannot develop high levels of language.

The idea that language equals patterns the brain is evolutionarily wired to detect seems to make sense to me. But, if one sense is deprived, the brain adapts and builds neural pathways to adjust for the lack of stimulus. The issue with the video is that it does not address essential questions of dominance. CI children who are first implanted are visually dominate. The absence of visual language stimuli during that period post implantation is meant to balance the equation. Even the presenter agreed that children must be taught to use their CIs. It is to allow time for their brains to learn to process this new form of stimulus. Once the brain has learned to process both auditory and visual stimuli equally, like most of us do from the womb, then introduction of visual language makes sense. I do not think anyone can tell you based on our current understanding at what point in development that happens post-implantation. Pre-lingual CI children have a different developmental patterns than that of a deaf child with sign language and a hearing child and those patterns are ill defined in the literature. I think that is a really important point.

Additionally, another issue I have in the video is that the presenter blurs the lines between learning English and learning spoken English. Those are two different things entirely. The one subject they demonstrated in the video was non-verbal. Visual languages are not well equipped to develop spoken language.

Just a personal commentary, the depriving of food part was ridiculous and silly and detracted from the arguments being presented by the scholar in the video.

I will take some time to look into the work for Dr. Petitto, she is an accomplished scholar. I wish Gallaudet would address is the idea of helping auditory parents with deaf children develop listening and speaking skills with implants as well as ASL skills. That maybe a step to far at this point, but I believe Dr. Petitto's research is leading use in that direction. It is one thing to speak of language acquisition, its another to talk about spoken language acquisition. I do not see how this line of inquiry address some central concerns of that auditory parents have for their deaf children. How do we effectively communicate with our children and make them part of our culture as well as Deaf culture. Here is the video, I invite you to watch Dr. Petitto’s presentation and draw your own conclusions.

 

Early #cochlear #implanted children are able to produce intelligible speech

"The majority of early-implanted chidlren are able to produce speech that is intelligible to normal-listeners."

 

Source:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3895537/pdf/nihms-492267.pdf

Long-Term Speech and Language Outcomes in Prelingually Deaf Children, Adolescents and Young Adults Who Received Cochlear Implants in Childhood  

Chad V. Ruffin, William G. Kronenberger, Bethany G. Colson, Shirley C. Henning, and David B. Pisoni

 

New study for parents of #cochlear #implanted children

My name is Dr. Eric Seneca and I am the parent of a seven-year-old who was bilaterally implanted at age one. I am a researcher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who is investigating the experiences of cochlear implant parents. With the permission of the group's moderators, I am inviting you to participate in a research study on parental perspectives on cochlear implants.

The study is entitled, A Cochlear Identity: A parental perspective on the pre-lingual implantation. The goal of this study is to determine what important factual information that helps a parent decide on implantation. This study has undergone official human subjects review protocols and presents no danger to those that choose to participate. No participants responses will be used without their permission and for those responses used in the research, they will be completely anonymous.

This study was derived from my own personal experience with this decision. Participation in this study will require answering 10 survey questions and following up emails if you are willing. I want to thank you in advance for your participation.

To participate in this study, please navigate to this URL: http://www.cvent.com/d/j4qxhv

 

#GeauxTigers and #LionUp is about excellence, not athletics

Recently, as I have been writing and informing some of my readers about different issues for the cochlear implant community, I started adding the hashtags #GeauxTiger and #LionUp to my posts. Someone recently asked me why I have been adding these hashtags to scholarship posts. First, let me state I am the biggest LSU Tiger sports fan. Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night, Warren Morris in the bottom of the 9th; goosebumps. I love my SLU Lions, a new conference championship football program and Alumni field on a Friday night, but I think those catch phrases are meant to represent more than athletic excellent. They represent excellence in all aspects of life.

Both my institutions of higher education, LSU and SLU have prepared me to answer this calling to help parents with profoundly deaf children. I hope and try to do that to the best of my ability. Without the support and guidance of my family and my academic communities, I would not have the necessary skillset to develop mobile apps for HoH children or conduct research professional. So, as I conduct research and publish in these areas, I hope I am making those two academic communities proud. So when the Tigers score a touchdown on Saturday night scream Geaux Tigers. When the Lions come back to win after being down at half time, scream Lion Up! But, do not forget, when you accomplish something in life that those institutions prepared you for, exclaim with exuberance, #GeauxTigers or #LionUp because its just as important as a touchdown on Saturday night.

Magic hands and the sound of music #cochlear #implants #geauxtigers #lionup

In 2008 I started my academic journey with the express purpose of learning as much as I could about deafness and learning with cochlear implants. My first major project or study was trying to teach Landon about music. My first blog post was, Get in iPod touch with sound, a description of how I used the first generation iPod touch, a Radio Shack Y connector, YouTube and the Hot Dog song expose Landon to music. I turned it on, handed him the iPod and let him listen to the sounds of music. Since then he has only grown in his love of everything musical. I found this video of him singing an NSYNC song during Christmas (see the video below). I hope to get more videos of Landon's vocabulary progress posted on a youTube channel.

We are now in year six of this auditory journey. He has come a long way from the child who could not recognize sounds to "feeling" the beat! Along with his love for music, he is finally starting to ask questions about his not hearing. Last night I asked him if he wanted to learn how to speak with his hands. At first he was puzzled by this concept. I had to explain to him that he was deaf, another concept he did not understand. To demonstrate to him what I mean by "deaf" and "speaking with hands", I started talking to him in a louder than normal voice. I told him to listen to me really closely. I was going to continue talking but disconnect his coils. Then I wanted him to listen as hard as he could to see what he heard. When I did this, he looked at me and said, "Does deaf mean I cannot hear without my ears?" I replaced his coils and confirmed his diagnosis. To that he said, "Oh, so I can learn to use magic hands to talk when my ears are not on?" Again, we told him yes, that would be the case. He became really excited and spent the next hour with Jennifer learning basic words in ASL.

To make sure he is not alone, we are going to make this a family project. His brothers and sister will begin basic ASL training this week. We will be posting pictures, stickies and everything else around the house for us to start identifying objects. Our entire family will be involved in learning a new language. Landon is really excited to learn to use magic hands and so are we…

Landon singing and dancing with his iPod touch

 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Eric Seneca's blog