Thursday, November 26, 2015

Drawing on the haptic side of the brain (in edutainment and pronunciation teaching)

How is your current "edutainmental quality of experience" (E-QoE), defined as degree of excitement, enjoyment and "natural feel" (to multimedia applications) by Hamam, Eid and El Saddik of the DISCOVER Lab, University of Ottawa, in a nice 2013 report, "Effect of kinaesthetic and tactile haptic feedback on the quality of experience of edutainment applications"? (Full citation below.) EQoE (pronounced: E-quo, I'd guess) is a great concept. Need to come up with a reliable way of measuring it in our research, something akin to that in Hamam et al. (2013).

In that study, a gaming application configured both with and without haptic or kinaesthetic features (computer mediated movement and touch in various combinations, in this case a haptic stylus)--as opposed to having just visual or auditory engagement, employing just eyes, ears and hands--was examined for relative EQoE. Not surprisingly, the former was significantly higher in EQoE, as indicated in subject self-reports.

I am often asked how "haptic" contributes to pronunciation teaching and what is "haptic" about EHIEP. This piece is not a bad, albeit indirect, Q.E.D. (quod erat demonstrandum)--one of my favorite Latin acronyms learned in high school math! (EHIEP uses movement and touch for anchoring sound patterns but not computer-mediated, guided movement--at least for the time being!)

The potential problems with use of gesture in instruction, the topic of several earlier posts, tend to be (a) inconsistent patterns in the visual field, (b) perception by many instructors and students as being out of their personal and cultural comfort zones, and (c) over-exuberant, random and uncontrolled gesture use in general in teaching, often vaguely related to attempts to motivate or "loosen up" learners--or, more legitimately, to just have fun. EHIEP succeeds in overcoming most of the potential "downside" of body-assisted Teaching (BAT).

In a forthcoming 2016 article on the function of gesture in pronunciation teaching, the EHIEP (Essential, Haptic-integrated English Pronunciation) method is somewhat inaccurately described as just a "kinaesthetic" system for teaching pronunciation using gesture, a common misconception. EHIEP does, indeed, use gesture (pedagogical movement patterns) to teach sound patterns, but the key innovation is use of touch to make application of gesture in teaching controlled, systematic and more effective in providing modeling and feedback--and obviously enhance E-QoE--very much in line with Hamam et al (2013).

The gaming industry has been on to haptic engagement for decades; edutainment is coming on board as well. Now if we can just do the same with something as unexciting, un-enjoyable and "unnatural" as most pronunciation instruction. We have, in fact . . .

Keep in touch!


Hamam, A, Eid, M., and  El Saddik, A. (2013). Effect of kinaesthetic and tactile haptic feedback on the quality of experience of edutainment applications.Multimedia Tools and Applications archive
67:2, 455-472.

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