Program

Jun 08, 2011

OVERVIEW

The Words and
Concepts program is a series of computer software program designed to increase
oral language skills. There are three programs in the series (Words and Concepts
I, II, and III) with each covering a new set of vocabulary. An evaluation of the
program among Head Start students found that Words and Concepts did not provide
any benefits with regard to oral language skills compared with a
usual-instruction control group. However, for students classified as low
functioning, there was a positive impact on basic level of oral expression.

DESCRIPTION
OF PROGRAM

Target
population: 
Although the program has only been evaluated with preschool
children, the program does not have a specific target population and can be used
by children as well as adults. The program will work with individuals with
language-learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, physical
impairments, hearing and vision impairments, and autism.

The Words and
Concepts program is a series of computer software program designed to increase
oral language skills. Specifically, it addresses vocabulary, work associations,
and concepts of same and different. There are three programs in the series
(Words and Concepts I, II, and III). Each program includes 40 core vocabulary
words and six language related units (vocabulary, categorization, word
identification by function, word association, and concepts of same and
different). Activities in each program have three levels of difficulty and can
be set to adjust to the progress of the individual. The program activities
feature graphics, animation, digitized speech, and optional text.

EVALUATION(S)
OF PROGRAM

Schetz, K.F.
(1994). An examination of software used with enhancement for preschool discourse
skill improvement. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 11(1),
51-71.

Evaluated
population: 
93 low-income children from Head Start classes located in three
Head Start centers in Roanoke, VA. Children were 4 and 5 years of age, and the
sample was 55 percent female. Sixteen students were receiving speech language
services. Due to attrition, the final sample consisted of 78 children.

Approach:
Children were matched based on pre-test scores and randomly assigned to one of
two intervention groups or a control group. The Preschool Language Assessment
Instrument, which has four separate subtests, and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary
Test-Revised were used to assess language levels at pre and post-test.

Participants in
both intervention groups worked in pairs and used the Words and Concept program
twice a week for approximately 20 minutes over the course of 12 weeks.

Participants in the
first intervention group used the Words and Concepts program with the aid of a
speech-language clinician. The clinician asked questions to help the participant
verbalize their responses as they used the program. Participants in the second
intervention group used the Words and Concepts program where the clinician
explained how to use the program but did not provide any additional instruction.

Participants in the
control group received language enrichment as part of their regular Head Start
program.

As a secondary
analysis, the participants were separated into high and low functioning groups
by a median split based on their pretest scores. The impact of the program on
these two groups was then compared.

Results:
Results of the study indicated that the Words and Concept program did not
produce any significant gains in the oral language domain. However, for those
students classified as low functioning there was a significant effect found of
the program for both of the computer intervention groups on scores for the first
subtest of the Preschool Language Assessment Instrument, which is intended to
measure the most basic level of oral expression.

SOURCES FOR
MORE INFORMATION

Curriculum
materials available for purchase at:


http://www.laureatelearning.com/products/descriptions/wcdesc.html

$230 for each copy
plus $1150 for a network license. Bulk licenses are available.

References:

Schetz, K.F.
(1994). An examination of software used with enhancement for preschool discourse
skill improvement. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 11(1),
51-71.

KEYWORDS:
Computer-based; Preschool; Children (3-11); Other Education; Males and Females
(Co-ed); School-based.

Program
information last updated on 6/8/11.