We are two parents, with kids ages 2 and 6 years. We record what our kiddos say on our phones, and share them with relatives in Chicago, Washington State, Michigan, and Taiwan. And right now, we’re social distancing -- managing the day-to-day juggle of child caring, home schooling, and working from home.
We are also scientists who study how children learn language. Usually, this involves inviting families to come to our University labs or visiting children at schools. But both are closed right now, so we want to create a project that would shed light on what families are going through right now, and to get everyone involved in crafting solutions.
This is how the idea of language scrapbooking began. From a memory perspective, scrapbooks organize moments in time, making them easy to share with others. From a science perspective, scrapbooks offer a window into how language develops, both within and across children.
Meet the team!
Dr. Yi Ting Huang
Dr. Yi Ting Huang is a professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences at the University of Maryland, where she leads the Language and Cognition Lab. She is one of the principal investigators on this project. Her research focuses on how young language learners acquire the ability to coordinate linguistic representations while comprehending spoken language. She is also interested in the relationship between language development and literacy. Prof. Huang got the idea for language scrapbooking when she found herself taking videos of her daughter to share with family members, and then listening to old videos to zoom out on her now-six-year-old’s language development.
Dr. Joshua Hartshorne
Dr. Joshua Hartshorne is the other principal investigator on the KidTalk project. He is a Psychology professor at Boston College, where he leads the Language Learning Lab. Prof. Hartshorne is particularly interested in understanding what allows humans, but not current machines, to learn language – and why it is that children, despite their salient limitations of both cognition and experience, are so much more successful at language learning than adults. He is interested in applying new and emerging methods (such as computational modeling and crowdsourcing) to core problems in the language sciences in his research. He is from Wichita, Kansas, did his undergraduate in math at Oberlin College, and obtained his graduate degree in Psych at Harvard University.
Kathleen Oppenheimer received her MS in Speech-Language Pathology from Northwestern University and her AB in Linguistics and Chinese from Harvard College. She previously worked as a speech-language pathologist in a children’s hospital and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Maryland at College Park under the guidance of Dr. Yi Ting Huang and Dr. Jan Edwards. Kathleen’s research interests include language and literacy development in children with typical and atypical development. She uses eye-tracking to study sentence processing in adults and children. Kathleen is also interested in the diagnosis and treatment of language disorders in children who speak non-mainstream dialects of English.
Jess is a former University of Maryland undergraduate who heard about this project on Facebook, and reached out to join us! She recently graduated from The George Washington University with a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology. Her research Interests include: impacts to access of SLP services in diverse populations, treatment practices in pediatric populations (e.g. speech, language, and feeding and swallowing), the role and impact of family involvement in speech and language therapy. She has two younger sisters who attend public school, so she had to navigate completing her degree this last semester with supporting their distance learning schedules. She is supporting the team with outreach and developing solutions that will support the communities we want to reach with our research.
Juliani worked in Prof. Hartshorne’s lab when she was an undergraduate psychology major at Boston College. Now she’s an MS student at the University at Buffalo studying Data Analysis. She’s been putting her skills to use gathering and organizing data for KidTalk, as well as providing general support in image editing and recruitment, and translating our survey into Spanish. Juliani is interested in second language acquisition and specifically heritage speakers. After two semesters of elementary French, she spent an entire summer in France while she was in college.
Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistant
Parker graduated from Northeastern University in 2019 with a degree in linguistics and worked as a lab manager in the Language Acquisition and Brain Lab at the University of Delaware before he joined this project. He is interested in how kids learn language, especially how they learn grammar. He is also interested in documenting endangered languages to both preserve them and improve our understanding of how human language works. When not in the lab, Parker enjoys playing with his cat, taking walks, and reading historical fiction. Parker is new to the project, but he will be helping with project planning, participant recruitment, and public outreach.
Alex is a third year student at Northeastern University with a major in business and a minor in linguistics. He is currently working in Prof. Hartshorne’s lab as part of Northeastern’s co-op program. He performs various roles within the KidTalk project, including recruitment and managing the website, as well as doing administrative work for Prof. Hartshorne’s lab.
Abby is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Maryland studying Hearing and Speech Sciences. She is interested in working with people with developmental disabilities as a Speech Language Pathologist in the future. Abby's recent involvement in KidTalk has provoked her interest in language development. Her primary roles include recruitment of participants and social media engagement. Outside of the lab, she loves baking, exploring the outdoors and learning languages!
Alexandra is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Maryland studying Hearing and Speech Sciences. She currently works in the Language and Cognition Lab and over the summer helped code data regarding how cognitive control engagement affects children’s sentence processing. After graduation she plans on pursuing a law degree, focusing on medical device law. Her primary roles include recruitment of participants and social media engagement. Outside of the lab, Alexandra enjoys traveling, reading Stephen King novels, and watching hockey.
Alejandra graduated from Boston College in 2015 with a double-major in psychology and communication. After working in roles that focus on relationship-building, within Customer Success as well as development and fundraising for a nonprofit, she has returned to Boston College as a graduate student in the School of Social Work. Alejandra is a Mexican-American native Spanish speaker who is interested in learning more about how immigrant families retain or lose their native language as new generations are raised surrounded by the pressures of assimilation. Within KidTalk, Alejandra will be focusing on community engagement and recruitment. Outside of the lab, Alejandra loves playing soccer, exploring the outdoors, going to concerts (pre-COVID), traveling, and cooking!
Ezekiel is a second year student at Boston College. There he is majoring in Theater and Sociology with a focus on Social Psychology. He is currently working in Prof. Hartshorne’s lab where he member within the KidTalk team. Although he is new to the team he helps out by working to recruit new participants from diverse backgrounds, preforming administrative work for Prof. Hartshorne, and contributing to other tasks in the lab where needed. Ezekiel began his journey with languages in elementary school when began he passively acquired the Spanish language from time spent with close friends and their families. Now he is fluent in Spanish and has found his way to the KidTalk team to continue that journey.
Former Team Members
Anna Petti (Undergraduate Student, 2020)
Other Helpful People
This study has been approved by the University of Maryland College Park Institutional Review Board. For more information, see our IRB approval letter here.
The KidTalk app was developed by Chip Studio. Check out their website here.
Our logo and the other icons and illustrations featured on our website and in the KidTalk app were designed by Emily Brymer. Emily is a cartoonist, illustrator, and graphic designer based in Newark, Delaware. We appreciate all her hard work and talent - KidTalk wouldn't be the same without her art!