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Digital Humanities Projects

Wordification®

Where most English language education games focus on spelling and vocabulary, Wordification® places the emphasis on linguistic principles and word morphology, and thus serves as a more useful teaching aid for learning the language.

Wordification® is a web-based game system driven by an underlying word feature database and an AI algorithm providing students with individualized spelling instruction based on their current knowledge of English spelling. It addresses the individualized spelling instruction need by using internal assessment to determine each student’s appropriate instructional level, because the database is constructed to encode relevant phonological, orthographic, morphological, and semantic properties of individual words (and groups of words). Words and word features each have associated audio files, enabling students to learn through both speech-to-text and text-to-speech mappings. Wordification® uniquely incorporates, hidden to the user, theoretical approaches to spelling acquisition and data-based spelling instructional strategies.

The practical importance of this project cannot be overstated. Literacy outcomes for students in the US have declined recently, and inadequate knowledge of the English spelling system directly and indirectly leads to lower literacy outcomes. We know much about the linguistic bases of English spelling system, but classroom instruction too often does not explicitly and accurately teach these principles; rarely is spelling instruction individualized.  

Our proposed intervention addresses these issues. The fundamental practicality of Wordification® is that linguistic principles of English spelling are embedded within the programming. The delivery of classroom spelling instruction through Wordification® will provide accurate instruction of the linguistic principles of English spelling, even when teachers do not have explicit understanding of them. Also, Wordification® allows for individualized instruction not possible with traditional classroom practice; each student moves through the program at their own pace, based on embedded progress monitoring on their own computer. Teachers can also track student progress using personalized reports downloaded from the software.

SpellingBits®

The SpellingBits® part of Wordification® is an application which allows a student user (or the teacher of the user) to practice matching words and parts of words to their corresponding sounds. Student users will be able either to play with SpellingBits® as a stand-alone free-play spelling app, or to learn and practice particular aspects of English spelling under an instructor's guidance.