Challenge: How can listening to news podcasts help students master the English language?
There are over one billion people currently learning English worldwide, and thousands of English language news podcast episodes are published every day. Combined, these two facts present a clear opportunity to enable learners to engage with news podcast content, and at the same time, master the English language. However, the methods and designs to take advantage of this opportunity are not clear. At Stanford, my husband Eric and I have been able to tap into the extensive resources of the university to further develop our research hypotheses and approach. At the Stanford Graduate School of Education, Eric studied with Karin Forssell who helped us focus on learning from, and designing for, a specific set of extreme users first. She also helped to improve our approach to prototyping educational technology via Design Thinking methodologies and pedagogical science. I studied with Jessica M. Tsang and Kristen Pilner Blair to understand the core mechanics of learning. At the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences, we studied with Phil Hubbard, the director of the Stanford English for Foreign Students program, and Connie Rylance. In their class we were an introduced to the foundations and principles of second language learning and English language learning. In addition, we attended Phil’s Computer Assisted Language Learning seminar and gained his valuable insights about how to improve our prototype. At the Stanford d.school I attended the d.media class at the D.school which challenged us to quickly move through a prototyping process that advanced our research considerably, helping us to ask questions by making a high-fidelity podcast player prototype. We call this prototype LEAP (Learn English with any podcast) which you can read about at learnenglishwithanypodcast.com. We have also connected with many other researchers in the field of language and cognition, education and design. In the upcoming quarter we plan to work on improving our prototype, study marketing strategy at the Graduate School of Business, and education technology design at the Graduate School of Education and Engineering.
Clara Gonzalez Sueyro is a user-experience researcher, anthropologist and entrepreneur who is now applying her background in consumer products to news. Since 2015, she has been director of user experience at Radio Ambulante, a Spanish-language radio program and podcast that tells Latin American stories from anywhere Spanish is spoken, including the United States. Gonzalez Sueyro received a degree in social anthropology from the University of Buenos Aires and after graduation joined Unilever’s consumer research team, where she used ethnographic methods to understand haircare product customers. She quit after two years to seek greater meaning in her work. She found it through project to help foster youth transition to independent adulthood. Her team and foster care participants developed an online guide and support community that continues to grow today. Gonzalez Sueyro then co-founded Chef Surfing, a mobile marketplace startup aiming to connect professional chefs with catering gigs. In 2014, she was Code for America fellow, working with the Puerto Rican government to address economic development challenges. She led a team to launch PrimerPeso.org, an app to help people apply for business incentives. In 2013 she moved to Oakland, California where she lives with her husband Eric Knudtson and infant daughter Elena.