Language Explorer Study Aims & Milestones
This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) [NIHR200889 i4i]. It is a collaborative product development project which started in November 2019 with the aim of designing, developing and evaluating a language sampling tool that can save time for speech and language therapists.
1. Design and develop an engaging app that can be used by children across the UK to gather data about how children retell stories
2. Compare how the technology analyses language with the expert research associates at Newcastle University
3. Test the app with children and clinicians in three NHS sites around the country
4. Deliver a UKCA marked app that can be used to save time and money and provide rich data about language.
In 2020 we embarked on a challenge to gather samples of children across the UK retelling the treasure themed story within the Language Explorer app. We needed 600 children aged from four to eight, covering a range of socio-economic groups and from around the country. We were so pleased to reach this target. Following that the Research Associates at Newcastle University have transcribed and analysed the samples by hand, which has been compared with features in the tool as well as being used to train machine learning models.
We have started our first in-clinic sessions using Language Explorer. There are currently three sites participating in the evaluation of the app within this project - Bristol, Newcastle and Hackney. Clinicians at each of the three sites will use the app with the children who use their service and we will compare the performance of the children to their performance on standardised assessments. We are also asking the clinicians, children and parents what they think about Language Explorer.
This project brings together expertise from across clinical, technical and academic domains. The collaborating organisations are Therapy Box, Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit at North Bristol NHS Trust, Newcastle University and Sirona.
Rebecca Bright MBE
Dr Yvonne Wren
Prof. Cristina McKean
Sirona Care & Health
Dr Jen Chesters
Senior research associate
Technical Project Manager
Dr Sam Harding
Senior Research Associate
UI UX Designer