Frametalker II prototype: A development project focused on teaching and usability
Hanna, Carly Breckenridge
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Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) refers to ways (other than speech) that people use to communicate messages to each other in order to communicate. One type of AAC is an utterance based device (UBD) that uses stored, whole utterances in addition to stored individual icons, pictures, and alphabet keyboarding systems utilizing word prediction. The study focused on an UBD called Frametalker II. This study utilized the best-practice teaching approach called the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) model, where instructors transition from assuming total responsibility for performing a task, to the student assuming all responsibility. The purpose of this study was to (1) determine whether participants can learn the Frametalker UBD with consistent high-quality instruction, (2) assess the generalizability of the learning to less taught and untaught features of the system, (3) document the types of problems exhibited by participants when using the system, and (4) document the communicative styles and strategies exhibited by the participants. In this study across two sessions, five student participants underwent a short training program using the GRR model, were given free time to explore the system content, then participated in two different assessments, a structured assessment and a simulation of a doctor’s visit. Data showed the Frametalker II system, when paired with a teaching style based on the GRR model, can be learned quickly and utilized proficiently. Generalization was shown through high success rates during the structured assessment and any further instruction or individual time spent with the system, all participants demonstrated the ability to fully participate in the role play. Analysis of the participants’ utterances showed the Frametalker system to be a flexible communication device that allows for creative utterance construction and use.