Morphing images: a potential tool for teaching word recognition to children with severe learning difficulties

Sheehy, Kieron (2005). Morphing images: a potential tool for teaching word recognition to children with severe learning difficulties. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(2) pp. 293–301.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2005.00458.x

Abstract

Children with severe learning difficulties who fail to begin word recognition can learn to recognise pictures and symbols relatively easily. However, finding an effective means of using pictures to teach word recognition has proved problematic. This research explores the use of morphing software to support the transition from picture to word recognition. Morphing software was used to teach word recognition to a group of eight children who were previously unable to recognise words. At the end of 16 teaching sessions, in a related design, the morphing technique was more effective than a word-alone approach ( p< 0.05, one-tailed). These results support the use of techniques such as symbol accentuation (Miller & Miller, 1971) and challenge the concept that the use of pictorial information is inherently detrimental to learning in this context, in comparison to the repeated presentation of words alone. The recent advent of accessible morphing software removes previous barriers to this type of approach. The investigation highlights several useful avenues for future research, in particular, the use of mnemonic elements within morphing teaching methods.

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