There’s no digital substitute when learning language

Sophie O’Kelly, another of the Brunel designers, selected this TED Talk by Patrica Kuhl. The presentation shares the latest research on how children learn language, identifying a crucial turning point in their development when babies become less receptive to new languages, a decline which continues throughout their lives. Kuhl also highlights how exposure to language on TV or radio has no effect on babies’ ability to learn – they need to hear it directly from a human.

Sophie comments: “I thought it was interesting to see the limitations that technology can have, and exploring times when nothing can replace the real presence and interaction with another human being.”

Almuni will remember Ed Maklouf’s May 2011 MEX session on Pathway #9, when he talked about sound as being the one ‘always on’ sense. As such, it has the potential to create the most inspiring and important learning experiences in digital products, but also carries the risk of causing deeply negative feelings if it is offensive to the ear.

It also touches on some of the issues in MEX Pathway #12, where we encourage designers to gain greater understanding of brain processes to improve their ability to create natural experiences. Ben Medlock, co-founder and CTO of TouchType, will explore how the brain models language in his MEX session.

The MEX blog is featuring ideas, images and videos selected by the designers at Brunel University in the build-up to the next MEX event on 30th November/1st December 2011.

Each breakout team at MEX is supported by a pair of Brunel designers, who work with the team’s facilitator to inject new thoughts and help the group to visualise ideas for their final presentation. The involvement of Brunel’s designers continues a thriving partnership between MEX and Brunel, which has seen the students contributing their design skills and fresh creative spirit to several previous MEX events, while building relationships with and learning from the industry pioneers in the MEX community.

The Brunel designers were asked to share a single item which has been inspirational to them, with no limitation on the industry it was sourced from or its subject matter.

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