Current Research

At the Media and Language Lab, we have two strands of research: one strand investigates youth and their use of digital media and the effects of such use on their learning and development while another focuses on language learning, specifically dual language learning. Here we describe some of our current projects in each strand of work. Check back for updates as well as for presentations/publications based on the studies.


Digital media and development


(1) Digital Communication Study - This study builds on our prior work on online communication applications, such as chat rooms, blogs, and virtual world. We are focusing on digital communication tools such as social networking sites and cell phones that are popular among adolescents and emerging adults. Our work in this area is focused on developing a better measure to assess user’s daily use of these tools and the relationship between such use and other psychological variables.

(2) Effects of multitasking - In a series of experimental studies, we are investigating the effects of online multitasking while reading for school. We are interested in the effects of simultaneous online communication on learning, reading comprehension, and memory.

(3) Screens vs. Paper - In another set of experimental studies, we are investigating the effects of the medium (paper vs. screens) on reading comprehension and memory.

(4) Executive function, Multitasking and Bilingualism - We are beginning to examine the role of executive function in multitasking among bilingual learners.


Dual Language Learning


In this MBRS-funded short-term longitudinal study, we followed 3-year old children in local Head Start programs. All children were from Mexican-origin families and spoke mostly Spanish at the start of the study. Using a variety of measures, we assessed their oral language proficiency in Spanish and English at four points in time. We also assessed the teacher’s beliefs the language and literacy environment and the language input in the classroom via the ELLCO and LISn. We are currently in the process of transcribing and coding our speech samples and analyzing our data. So check back in a couple of months for preliminary results.