MSCA ITN Early Language Development in the Digital Age (e-LADDA)
Stefania Milan receives funding from the European Commission (Horizon 2020/ Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions)
Current theories of language learning emphasize the role of language input and the child’s interaction with the environment as crucial to language development. Modern digital technologies are transforming rapidly the environment in which children are growing up and developing skills. This new digital reality has changed both the nature of the linguistic input provided to young children and affords new ways of interaction with communication agents (tablets, robots). Thus, we need to establish whether new digital technologies also change the way in which language is learned. If so, do digital technologies provide useful tools to enhance/optimize language learning in increasingly multi-cultural educational and therapeutic contexts? Despite the rapid and unprecedented advance of technology and the rapid change in the child’s ecology, research on the impact of digital technologies on children’s communication and language development is still scarce and highly fragmented with no unitary approach across disciplines. The central scientific goal of e-LADDA is to establish whether the new and quite intuitive interactions afforded by digital tools impact on young children’s language development and language outcomes in a positive or adverse way. We further aim to identify exactly what factors in both the technology itself and the communication channel advance language learning and growth or may impede it. This goal will be pursued in e-LADDA from a highly interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial perspective, bridging between research disciplines and methodologies and in collaboration with industry and the non-academic public sector.