“Privacy concerns caused the computerized eyewear to fail with the general public. But researchers believe it could help autistic children learn to recognize emotion and make eye contact.” C. Metz
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: Google Glass May Have an Afterlife as a Device to Teach Autistic Children, By C. Metz, The NYT
“When Esaïe Prickett sat down in the living room with his mother, father and four older brothers, he was the only one wearing Google Glass.
As Esaïe, who was 10 at the time and is 12 now, gazed through the computerized glasses, his family made faces — happy, sad, surprised, angry, bored — and he tried to identify each emotion. In an instant, the glasses told him whether he was right or wrong, flashing tiny digital icons that only he could see.
Esaïe was 6 when he and his family learned he had autism. The technology he was using while sitting in the living room was meant to help him learn how to recognize emotions and make eye contact with those around him. The glasses would verify his choices only if he looked directly at a face.
He and his family tested the technology for several weeks as part of a clinical trial run by researchers at Stanford University in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. Recently detailed in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics, the trial fits into a growing effort to build new technologies for children on the autism spectrum, including interactive robots and computerized eyewear.
The Stanford study’s results show that the methods have promise and indicate that they could help children like Esaïe understand emotions and engage in more direct ways with those around them. They could also measure changes in behavior, something that has historically been difficult to do… But even as these ideas spread, researchers warn that they will require rigorous testing before their effects are completely understood.
Catalin Voss started building software for Google Glass in 2013, not long after Google unveiled the computerized eyewear amid much hullabaloo from the national media.
An 18-year-old Stanford freshman at the time, Mr. Voss began building an application that could automatically recognize images. Then he thought of his cousin, who had autism.
Growing up, Mr. Voss’s cousin practiced recognizing facial expressions while looking into a bathroom mirror. Google Glass, Mr. Voss thought, might improve on this common exercise. Drawing on the latest advances in computer vision, his software could automatically read facial expressions and keep close track of when someone recognized an emotion and when they did not…The hope is that Mr. Voss’s application and similar methods can help more children in more places, without regular visits to clinic. ‘It is a way for families to, on some level, provide their own therapy,’ Mr. Voss said…The concern with such studies is that they rely on the observations of parents who are helping their children use the technology, said Catherine Lord, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of autism. The parents are aware of the technological intervention, so their observations may not be reliable.
Still, the Stanford team considers its study a first step toward wider use of this and other technologies in autism.”
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer
Directions: Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Researchers believe it could help autistic children learn to recognize emotion.
- Privacy concerns caused the computerized eyewear to fail.
- Esaïe tried to identify each emotion.
- The glasses told him whether he was right or wrong, flashing tiny digital icons that only he could see.
- The glasses would verify his choices only if he looked directly at a face.
- The growing effort is to build new technologies for children on the autism spectrum.
- The Stanford study’s results show that the methods have promise.
- Google unveiled the computerized eyewear amid much hullabaloo from the national media.
- Mr. Voss was trying to build software that could recognize faces.
- The company hopes to commercialize the method once it receives approval from the FDA.
Grammar focus: Modal Verbs
Directions: The following sentences were taken from the article. Complete the sentences using the modals listed.
English modals: can could may might must should will would
- The Stanford study’s results show that the methods ___ help children like Esaïe .
- But even as these ideas spread, researchers warn that they___require rigorous testing.
- They___ also measure changes in behavior.
- Google Glass, Mr. Voss thought, ____improve on this common exercise.
- Google stopped selling the device to consumers amid concerns that its built-in camera ___compromise personal privacy.
- The company hopes to commercialize the method [but] that ___still be years away.
- But researchers believe it ____ help autistic children learn to recognize emotion.
- The hope is that Mr. Voss’s application and similar methods ___ help more children in more places.
Directions: Review the following statements from the reading. If a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they mark it F and provide the correct answer.
- Cost concerns caused the computerized eyewear to fail with the general public.
- Esaïe, was 10 at the time when he first wore the computerized glasses.
- Esaïe was 12 when he and his family learned he had autism.
- He and his family tested the technology for several weeks as part of a clinical trial run by researchers at Stanford University.
- Esaïe aunts and uncles were present when he tried on the glasses the first time.
- The main function of the glasses is to help autistic kids understand emotions and engage in more direct ways with those around them.
- But even as these ideas spread, researchers warn that they will require a large amount of money to continue research.
- Catalin Voss is another child with autism.
- Dennis Wall is Catalin’s friend.
- Esaïe enjoys using iPad apps and watching DVD movies.
III Post Reading
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
- According to the article the Google glasses were intended to work as computerized eyewear for the general public. Why did this fail?
- In addition to helping autistic children identify emotions and make eye-contact with others, how else could the glasses help the kids?
- What were the results of the Stanford study?
- What is the warning that researchers give about the results of the glasses?
- Do you know anyone who is autistic? If so, do you think a pair of glasses such as these would be helpful?
- Can you think of any drawbacks the glasses might have? If so please explain.
- List 3 questions that you would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Share the questions as a class.
1-Minute Free Writing Exercise
Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading. Review the responses as a class.