The Importance of Culturally-Situated Design on Children’s Interaction with Speech-Enabled Features in an Online Spelling Tutor

Culture and Computing(2022)

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Spelling is an essential anchor for literacy skills. In the Caribbean, there are limited resources to support struggling readers with their spelling practice. This paper describes an exploratory study of an online Spelling tutor, Ozzypi which was built in response to Covid-19 related school closures across the region and the subsequent need for novel approaches to facilitate spelling practice. It has since been transformed to feature an intelligent tutoring system core that supports children in spelling practice exercises using speech-enabled technologies. Twenty-eight users (14 learners and 14 parents/guardians) from Trinidad and Jamaica used a basic version of the tutor over several weeks. Analysis of interview responses and logged usage data revealed broad learner and parent engagement, positive shifts in on-task behaviour. Importantly, the need for a culturally-situated design emerged as students interacted with the speech-enabled features.
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Key words
Intelligent tutoring system, Spelling, Synthetic speech, Children
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