Inventing An Infant Learning Environment

Infant Learning Environment Program

Hello and Welcome
The Infant Learning Environment Program seeks to discover the extent to which infants and toddlers can simultaneously learn to read, speak, and think starting at about three to five months of age. After years of research and development we have reached a point where we can do a rigorous nine-month test of our program, which we call our "Proof-of-Progam". This full-scale test should tell us four vital pieces of information. First, infants can control our computer simulation using our interfaces within a short time. Second, reading and speaking will emerge during this time well beyond what is considered normal development for speaking alone. Third, caregivers can and will provide infants with opportunities in our simulation environment. Fourth, caregivers will play with their infants using the supplementary activities we provide. If our test is successful, we will then seek to improve and extend the program until children are 36 months of age. However to carry out this proof, we seek your donations.
The following pages introduce you to the program and what questions it had to answer to reach this testing point, our proof-of-program. We have gone into detail because most people we have encountered consider what we seek to prove as something impossible to do or something that should not be done. In contrast, our team desires to help infants and young children to reach out toward their full potential. We can only show what infants can learn with tests, not beliefs or hypotheses based on momentary glimps at reality, the present method used by researchers.
The Questions We Seek to Answer
  1. Can we simultaneously accelerate infants’ speaking, reading, and thinking skills starting at about 3 months of age with a computer-based simulation?
  2. Can caregiveres use the simulation and other tools need to achieve this first objective?
  3. Can the infant-caregiver relationships fostered by the Program yeld stong, happy, lasting relationships?
  4. Can we scale and supplement these tools so they can be used until childhood begins (36 months of age)?
  5. Can we make the tools as free and open-sourced as possible?
Our Reasons for Pursuing These Questions
  • First, in this age of change, the ability to think and communicate is vital for the life-long success of our children, families, communities, and the world at large.
  • Second, infants come ready to learn. They imitate, explore, and attempt to control their environment from their first moments. We value fostering infants’ high-powered, growth-oriented learning state.
  • Third, parents and other caregivers simply don’t have the time or resources to carry out the formal and informal teaching necessary to help infants reach a much fuller potential. Caregivers need assistance.
  • Fourth, in this world of inequality, can more children be given the skills to succeed when the world is theirs? The “skills to succeed” means that these children can help radically reduce racism, war, terrorism, poverty, and the environmental hazards faced by all and created by past generations. To our team, these as are the real economics of growth for the 21st century.
In the long run, we believe that the consequences of our program will not only relieve caregivers of the hardest part of teaching early language skills—its systematic design, development, and delivery—but foster what our founders' said was so important: A citizeny who have the skills to take up the adventure of reducing the burdens that our own human behavior has brough upon us.
The Two Sides of Our Program
  • First, our computer-based simulation is designed to do the teaching. At its core is a method that cements speaking, reading, and reality together in ways caregivers can't. By using this method in combination with the systematic buildup (i.e. patterning) of language content, our aim is to see thinking emerge along with reading and speaking, and eventually the forms of writing.
  • Second, a set of floor- and table-based activities and games that complement what takes place in the infant’s simulation environment. They bring infants and caregivers play together to build strong relationships, extend simulation learning into everyday life, and link caregivers, infants, and the simulation program.
We are ready to prove that the Program will successfully teach infants,
but we need your help!
We Need Your Help in Three Ways
  • A direct donation. Follow the above link or click here.
  • Help with programming and media production(art, animation, video), and infant-caregiver activity development. Click here to learn more and to volunteer.
  • Help by volunteering to work on Proof-of-Program implementation. We need parents and/or day care centers in the Monterey Bay, California area that are willing to use the program with their infants, as well as assist in implementing the testing. (Note: We are willing to do the proof almost anywhere that these participants and helpers can be found in close proximity.) Click here to learn more or to volunteer.
At a basic level, our proof-of-program involves one more objective: Our data-analysis tools can begin giving us the data needed to strengthen the program’s effectiveness for an ever widening range of infants and caregivers. At this time we have approximately 6 to 9 months of curriculum in place and about 6 months more in development. See our Proof-of-Program Plan here and the our budget need to carry it out here.
Our Pledge
Given proof that the program can successfully teach infants, we pledge to continue to develop of the program so that all those who start with it and seek to continue using it will be able to do so, as well as add infants to the extent possible given the funds available.
We will populate our Audit Web page, done by an independent auditor, so it clearly displays donations and our expenses in a timely fashion.
Just a Little History
The first question about teaching infants to simultaneously read, speak, and think was clearly stated in January of 2003. The present Program is actually our third attempt to make it to full proof-of-program testing. The first showed us that parents must like the methods we give their infants to control the simulation and the way the simulation looks in the home—a surprise that expanded our minimalist eyesight and lead to stating our second question.
Our second attempt at proof gave some initial clinical findings: Given a Program that had some caregiver appeal, infants as young as two months attended to the display and followed the screen changes that they made occur through their button pressing. This was enough incentive to continue with development while making the funds needed to do so. After much delay, we now have three interfaces control methods that with a little prompting [scaffolding or shaping to some] will give infants a gradually widening range of control over the simulation and provide strong data to assess learning, infants' desire to continue learning, and improve the product. We realize that you can’t do the latter without data. Our history will only continue with your help.
Peruse Our Site
The menu on the left describes the Program, what it entails, our plan to prove its functionality, and the budget required to carry out the proof that infant can simultaneously learn to speak, read, and think. Many people have the “It can’t be done.” belief and many people have the “It shouldn’t be done.” belief. Finally, there are some who are open to the possibility. They suspend belief and have a curiosity about how such teaching could be done. Only by reading and questioning will you arrive at your belief state.
The Program Summary pages rewrite much of Inventing an Infant Learning Environment in a manner less academic and hopefully more readable. You can read the book if you want to delve into the details of our analysis of language and why it is the gate-way to thinking. Also, some may be interested in the details of how we designed the curriculum and the instruction. Click here to download the book or click the download link at the top of the page.
Enjoy and thank you for visiting.
Michael B. Medland

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