PEN Lecture Series
Academic Year 2013-2014
Continuing a center tradition, we are excited to feature six outstanding researchers, scholars, and visionaries for the 2013-2014 academic year. We will cover topics that vary from gestural interfaces in learning to artistic approaches in interactive storytelling. Research findings under discussion will include infant eye gaze, language acquisition, and bimodal bilingualism.
All presentations are open to the public and will take place in B111 in the Merrill Learning Center (the Library), from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Interpreters and CART services will be provided.
Live Streaming Available
Please view the presentations below to obtain the URL for live streaming of the presentations; high speed internet access is necessary for the best viewing experience.
We will announce the URLs approximately 2 weeks prior to each presentation date.
All the presentations from 2008 to present are available on the VL2 website and on the Gallaudet University Video Library Catalog.
Planning for Bimodal and Bilingual Success in Young Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children
This presentation will provide an overview of an ASL/English bimodal bilingual approach (spoken English and signed ASL) as well as a rationale for using this approach to foster bilingual language development in early childhood programs for deaf and hard of hearing children (including those with and without cochlear implants). Discussions as to how to implement the school wide planning necessary to support the development and use of both spoken and signed languages will occur. The educational framework and necessary components will describe how an early childhood educational program can facilitate the acquisition and learning of ASL and English (spoken and written) with successful implementation. Such implementation is dependent upon program and school-wide language planning that includes understanding the roles that families bring. Emphasis on the intensive language planning process required to establish an environment that demonstrates value for both languages is reviewed. The overarching goal of the presentation is to focus on meeting the individualized needs of the deaf and hard of hearing children and their families.
Individual Differences in Literacy Skills Among Deaf Readers
A complete theory of literacy in deaf readers should account for individual differences. Such theories should explain how domain general cognitive skills, (e.g., working memory, executive control) and domain specific skills (e.g., orthographic and phonological processing, lexical knowledge, syntactic knowledge), interact with experience (e.g., first-language experience, 2nd language teaching methods, reading habits) to produce literacy outcomes. Recent advances in statistical modeling have provided us with the tools to evaluate such theories. This talk presents results from a large scale study of individual differences among deaf and hearing bilingual readers. The results to date highlight the importance of first language experience as a critical factor in second-language literacy.
Educational Neuroscience of Reading Development
Functional and structural neuroimaging studies of adult readers have provided a deeper understanding of the neural basis of reading, yet such findings also open new questions about how developing neural systems come to support this learned ability. A developmental cognitive neuroscience approach provides insights into how skilled reading emerges in the developing brain, yet also raises new methodological challenges. This talk focuses on functional changes that occur during reading acquisition in cortical regions associated with both the perception of visual words and spoken language, and examines how such functional changes differ within developmental reading disabilities. I will integrate these findings within an interactive specialization framework of functional development, and propose that such a framework may provide insights into how individual differences at several levels of observation (genetics, white matter tract structure, functional organization of language, cultural organization of writing systems) may impact the emergence of neural systems involved in reading ability and disability.
Sensitive Periods and Developmental Plasticity for Language Learners
Many adaptive behaviors, for example, the formation of attachment of young to their mothers and the formation of visual and auditory skills, show heightened sensitivity to the environment in early life. Dr. Newport will suggest that the human ability to learn languages also undergoes the same type of change over age. Children are particularly gifted at language acquisition, but under some circumstances adults can learn the way children do. Our research on the learning of natural and miniature artificial languages is aimed at understanding the mechanisms that make language learning best early in life and change the way learners acquire language over age. The newest direction in our research asks whether the same mechanisms govern neural plasticity and recovery from damage to the brain, making children more able than adults to recover their language abilities; and whether we can reopen these sensitive periods so that adults can recover from neural damage as children do.
Constraint-Based Error Patterns in ASL Sentence Processing
Error analysis of data from the American Sign Language Sentence Reproduction Test provides the opportunity to explore online processing in sign language. We have analyzed the data from 3 distinct groups of adult and younger signers from similar home backgrounds but who vary in ASL fluency. The analysis reveals that signers with different levels of competence and knowledge of ASL grammar make very different types of errors, and these errors provide insights into how they process ASL sentences. These results have implications for current models of working memory across spoken and signed modalities.
Educational Neuroscience as Situated Practice
Neuroscience focused both on brain functioning and effects of situated practices on cognition are important to informing educational practice. However, newer theories of learning locate cognition outside the skin (head?) as much as inside. Learning that spans space and time and is embedded in our material world is as important in educational practice as “mental” functions. Identifying and locating the material for a new educational practice, especially a practice situated in and informed by Deaf communities, requires us to think about where cognition begins and ends. Situating learning is an important part of the re-construction of the body of the “teacher of the deaf”, for example.