WORDS PLUS is an experimental industrial design project focused on the development of new literacy tools that increase understanding of the component sounds in language (phonological awareness). Its aim is to close the gap between written and spoken word and facilitate engaging, interactive, multi-sensory learning.
Volume is a digital audio book designed to be displayed on a touch screen. It plays on the intuitive action of running your finger along the page as you read aloud. Animations are triggered in conjunction with syllabic sounds, and can be set to convey a range of phonic characteristics.
Lips-in-sync is a speaking and listening tool that uses words and lip reading to teach language, on the basis that each sound (phoneme) has a particular facial position (viseme). The user is displayed on one half of the screen and can practice recitation while trying to match the timing, pronunciation and therefore facial position of the tutor’s video which is shown on the other side of the screen. The tool gives the user real time visual feedback to aid his or her sound production, and is implemented by way of a webcam and a video display.
The interfaces are multi-sensory and aimed to be engaging regardless or the users preferred sense. Teaching language necessitates a lot of repetition, so having a resource where the user can practice time and time again helps alleviate teacher boredom.