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Group 16: Education

Project Report

11.29.2010

EE2 GROUP PROJECT REPORT Electronic Language Literacy for Education Research R. Bishop, A. Smith, J. Rose, M. Polycarpou, A. Ghorbangholi, L. McNally, L. Xia, C. Latawski (Imperial College London) Supervisor – Dr. W. Pike (Imperial College London) T ABLE OF CONTENTS Type chapter title (level 1) ....................................................................................................................................................1 Type chapter title (level 2) ..................................................................................................................................................2 Type chapter title (level 3) ..............................................................................................................................................3 Type chapter title (level 1) ....................................................................................................................................................4 Type chapter title (level 2) ..................................................................................................................................................5 Type chapter title (level 3) ..............................................................................................................................................6 T ABLE OF FIGURES No table of figures entries found.

R. Bishop, A. Smith, J. Rose, M. Polycarpou, A. Ghorbangholi, L. McNally, L. Xia, C. Latawski (Imperial College London)

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Group 16: Education

Project Report

11.29.2010

ANALYSIS OF THE PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION OF A NEED According to the 2009 Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) school census (1) 15.2% of all pupils in state-funded primary schools do not speak English as their first language – an increase of 1% from the previous year. This statistic is even more significant when considering inner city primary schools alone – in 2005 (2) the percentage of pupils believed to have a first language other than English was 51.3%, giving them the majority in the classroom. This obviously creates a serious difficulty in educating classes where the majority of children are unable to read, write or communicate in English, in addition to often being illiterate in their own first language. “We do experience great difficulties with non-speaking pupils particularly when they first arrive at school from overseas (as was the case earlier this year when three children from China joined us without any English at all).” Bill Foreman, Headteacher, Dunston Hill Community Primary School (from e-mail reply to research questions) Additionally, primary school teachers are usually not trained to be able to communicate with the children in other languages so schools are forced to rely on their local authority’s language support team for help (3). However the availability of this service is very limited due to there not being enough support teachers to meet the demand. As classes are taught in English these non-English speaking pupils require extra attention and can create serious difficulties when trying to teach the class as a whole - placing strain on both education and class control – often at the detriment of overall teaching quality. Although teachers could be trained to deal with these mixed-language classes this would only be possible at a great deal of cost to the state education budget. Figures suggest that the cost of primary education for a child who does not have English as their first language can reach £30,000 per annum – whilst only £4,000 for those who do (4). Whilst tools exist for those literate in one language to quickly learn another, these traditional text-based language translation methods such as a dictionary or online tools are not suited to many of these children due to their illiteracy. We believe that this therefore represents an obvious opportunity to engineer a solution which can save both time and money in our education system and could be financed by these savings. ANALYSIS OF THE PROBLEM In summary, we require a system to allow the teaching of English literacy and language to illiterate non-English speaking children, to occur simultaneously during the teaching of a standard lesson plan to a mixed-language class as a whole. Additionally we also require no extra skills to be needed on the part of the teacher, beyond that of standard training, and no literacy skills in any language on the part of the pupil. The system would also need to operate in such a way as to be unobtrusive to other children in the class so as to not create any division between pupils leading to tensions between those of different backgrounds. This could be achieved using some form of simplistic audio-to-audio and text-to-audio language translation, whereby a limited catalogue of certain key words and simple phrases needed for class control, basic communication and teaching could be easily translated from a teachers’ voice or basic pre-written words into a number of required languages for each nonEnglish speaking child. Complex audio-to-audio language translation would not be required for our system as we need only to translate the simple key words and phrases needed to be conveyed by a teacher in order to establish clear communication for class control and teaching purposes. Once this basic dictionary of key words had been learnt by the pupil they would then be in a position to use existing text-based language translation tools and methods for furthering their learning of the English language. The aim would be to give all pupils the same teaching experience regardless of language during normal classes whilst accelerating English learning for those pupils who require it. EDUCATIONAL ASPECTS OF THE PROBLEM -

WHAT DO THE LA SUPPORT STAFF DO? HOW IS LITERACY TAUGHT? HOW IS ESL TAUGHT? WHAT FORM IS A STANDARD LESSON PLAN AND HOW WOULD WE FIT IN WITH THIS?

R. Bishop, A. Smith, J. Rose, M. Polycarpou, A. Ghorbangholi, L. McNally, L. Xia, C. Latawski (Imperial College London)

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Group 16: Education

Project Report

11.29.2010

TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF THE PROBLEM This system could be achieved in a number of ways using either modification of existing classroom systems and infrastructure (such as using classroom computers to run custom software) or by developing a proprietary solution (such as a cheap microprocessor based hardware design). According to 2005 government statistics (5), on average there is one computer per 6.1 pupils in state-run primary schools with 51% having their computers linked to the school network (of which for 41% this was implemented through wireless technology). Of the primary schools which have a school website, 26% use it to allow pupils to access educational material online from off-site locations. All schools were listed as having high-speed (>2Mbps) internet access. It is also worth highlighted how rapid the take up of new technology has been in schools with 93% of primary schools now utilising interactive whiteboards (IWB) as an integral part of their teaching – with 74% of children stating that they prefer lessons taught using them(6). Given that there already exists a well-used and understood ICT infrastructure within schools this may be a logical method to implement our system. This would almost certainly prove to be more cost-effective for both creation of the system and the cost of installation of the system into a school (as current ICT technicians would already hold sufficient training). This leads to the conclusion that a software based approach using proprietary peripheral hardware would appear to be optimal for our goals. ANALYSIS OF THE FINANCIAL ASPECTS OF THE PROBLEM Considering that we are currently in a period of prolonged austerity, any methods by which the Department of Education, and by extension individual schools, can save money whilst also delivering a higher quality of education to all students are likely to be considered a good investment. We have the possibility of achieving exactly that, provided that our product can be feasibly implemented for a total cost of less than £26,000 per annum per child (the difference in cost of educating a nonEnglish speaking child at primary level) (4). The high rate of uptake and popularity of ICT solutions in schools also suggests that if our product is viable the likelihood of purchase interest from schools is high. Whilst we have obviously considered this problem from the perspective of a need within the UK’s primary schools it is reasonable to believe that the same issue may exist in other countries around the world. In fact the same technology could also be used for teaching foreign languages at a very low level. This makes our educational market sector of language and literacy skills in foreign languages very large, considering that only the translation database would need to be changed to use the product internationally. Given the rate of immigration and globalisation (as seen in the school census trends outlined previously) this is also a growing market. As we are now investigating what is primarily a software-based solution, the development overheads should be minimal with only funding for research and programming required. As the potential educational market is a very stable source of potential profit, we believe that this project represents a very good opportunity for outside investors. It is also important to recognise that any intellectual property developed in the field of language translation also has obvious commercial worth for many situations outside of the educational sector, which gives this project the possibility of future expansion into other areas and markets. LIST OF REQUIREMENTS The analysis carried out in the sections above allows us to create a list of requirements which our system must fulfil in order to solve the problem stated. We have determined that the system must; - Be capable of near real-time, audio-to-audio language translation for a certain list of words and simple phrases; - Be capable of converting the meaning of text and images into an audio description; - Work with a number of different languages as both output and input; - Use existing ICT infrastructure in schools as far as possible with any extra equipment existing as a peripheral; - Be usable by the pupil given no literacy skills; - Be usable by the teacher with only existing ICT skills; - Be unobtrusive to all other pupils during lessons; - Have a reliability and robustness suitable to a school environment; - Be implemented for a total cost of less than £26,000 per annum per child;

R. Bishop, A. Smith, J. Rose, M. Polycarpou, A. Ghorbangholi, L. McNally, L. Xia, C. Latawski (Imperial College London)

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Group 16: Education

Project Report

11.29.2010

INVESTIGATION INTO METHODS OF SOLUTION CURRENT SOLUTIONS

R. Bishop, A. Smith, J. Rose, M. Polycarpou, A. Ghorbangholi, L. McNally, L. Xia, C. Latawski (Imperial College London)

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Group 16: Education

Project Report

11.29.2010

RESEARCH TEXT-TO-SPEECH

References (1) Department for Children, Schools and Families. SCHOOLS, PUPILS, AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS, JANUARY 2009 (PROVISIONAL). ; 2009. (2) Department for Children, Schools and Families. Schools and Pupils in England: January 2005 (Final). ; 2005. (3) Foreman WE. Online Research Questionnaire. (4) teachernet.gov.uk. Mainstreaming Grants . . Report number: FRG38; 2009. (5) Condie R, Munro B, Seagraves L, Kenesson S. The impact of ICT in schools - a landscape review. Quality in Education Centre, University of Strathclyde; 2007. (6) Becta. Harnessing Technology Review 2007: Progress and impact of technology in education. ; 2007.

R. Bishop, A. Smith, J. Rose, M. Polycarpou, A. Ghorbangholi, L. McNally, L. Xia, C. Latawski (Imperial College London)

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ELLER Project Proposal