Engineering Ingenium: Improving Engagement and Accuracy With the Visualization of Latin for Language Learning
CitationZhou, Sharon. 2015. Engineering Ingenium: Improving Engagement and Accuracy With the Visualization of Latin for Language Learning. Bachelor's thesis, Harvard College.
AbstractThe goal of Ingenium is to prompt beginning Latin students to think consciously and critically on Latin grammar prior to translating a sentence, while engaging them with the grammar in an intuitive and hands-on way. Learners commonly make errors in reading Latin, because they do not fully understand the impact of Latin’s grammatical structure—its morphology and syntax—on a sentence’s meaning. Synthesizing instructional methods used for Latin and artificial programming languages, Ingenium visualizes the logical structure of grammar by making each word into a puzzle block, whose shape and color reflect the word’s morphological forms and roles. Ingenium is designed so that students do not focus on words in isolation, but make logical connections between words and group words together, so that the number of elements involved in the translation, or the cognitive load, is instantly reduced. For this reason, puzzle blocks only fit together if there is sound grammatical logic, preventing students from making syntactic errors and allowing them to experiment in a mistake-free environment. The blocks also serve to abstract out the grammatical terminology in favor of visual representation, making it easy for Ingenium to supplement current methods of Latin instruction and to maximize its adoption potential.
The audience of Ingenium is novice Latin students. When students’ experience and confidence are at their lowest, they will benefit most from an interface that is not exclusively text-based, but engaging, hands-on, familiar, and intuitive. To evaluate Ingenium, I conducted an experiment with 67 beginning Latin students, measuring objective engagement, emotional and cognitive engagement, learning, change in self-efficacy, cognitive load, and accuracy in sentence translation with Ingenium over a traditional text-based interface as the baseline control. From the study, students, when using Ingenium, reported considerably higher levels of engagement and learning, opted to perform more optional problems, and completed translation exercises with substantially greater accuracy than when using the traditional interface. Ingenium has demonstrated its potential to be a powerful tool in improving students’ engagement, learning, and accuracy in reading Latin. Thus, Ingenium supports Latin pedagogy by introducing the following research-based innovations:
- An approach to learning a natural language through hands-on interactions with the logic of its grammar
- A method of visually and intuitively representing technical grammatical concepts
- A tool that can effectively engage early learners of Latin with the grammar of the language
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