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Wordful: Overview for Parents

Wordful is an app that lets you track your child’s growing vocabulary by reporting the words that they say. Multiple caregivers (typically parents, but could include grandparents, babysitters, aunts or uncles) can contribute and view data for a single child. Each caregiver can also contribute data for multiple children. The app will guide you through adding one or more children and sharing a child with other users.

Most studies have two experiments that may be accessed whenever: “Swipe Words” and “Word Journaling”. In Swipe Words, you (the parent or caregiver) are presented with a card labeled with a word that your child might say. If your child says this word, you swipe right (yes); if not, swipe left (no). The app may ask again about any word for which you swipe “no” after a few days. In Word Journaling, you add information about a specific word that your child has just said. This is particularly useful when your child is only saying a small number of words.

If participating in a study, you may also be prompted to provide data when prompted with a Push Notification. It is not necessary that you complete every activity associated with a study, but do try to keep up if possible.

You can look at various visualizations of your child’s vocabulary by choosing “View Detailed Statistics.” This shows several graphs showing how many words you have entered each day, the increase in the total reported vocabulary over time, and a network visualization of your child’s vocabulary. In future releases, you will be able to share this information to the social media platforms of your choice, as desired.

The information collected in Wordful helps researchers understand more about children’s word learning: when do they start saying new words, and how does each new word relate to the words that they already say? Up until now, this information has been collected using a checklist periodically administered in a lab, sent home by mail, or (most recently) in an online web app. Wordful brings this data collection effort to parents’ phones and tablets and allows them to track their child’s language development in real time.

FAQ for Parents

  1. Can I see how my child’s vocabulary growth compares to other children? We very deliberately avoid providing parents with explicit comparisons or scores for their children at this time. Wordful is not intended as a diagnostic tool because the set of data that it collects is not sufficient to evaluate language development. In particular, the focus on productive vocabulary may underrepresent a child’s overall language knowledge, especially in the age range targeted by Wordful.

  2. For what age children is Wordful appropriate? Wordful focuses on children’s earliest language production, so 18-36 months.

  3. Will my data still exist if I delete the app from my phone, or upgrade the app? Yes. Data for parents and children is stored in an external database and you will be able to log back into your account if you delete the app or upgrade the app. If you would like to delete your data from the app, we provide that option under Settings.

  4. If I share access to a child account with another user by specifyig their email, can they then share access to another user? No. Only the user who creates a child account can chooose to share that account with other users. In other words, if user A creates a child account and shares it with user B, user B canntshare that account with user C.

  5. If I share access to a child account with another user, can I later revoke it? Yes. If user A creates a child account and shares it with user B, user A can later revoke access from user B. User B cannot share access from user A.

  6. How do you know that the data that people submit isn’t just made-up? We can identify “real” data contributions with machine learning algorithms that check against existing databases of vocabulary acquisition.

  7. Is an Android version available? An Android version will be available in early 2019.

Last updated: April 24th, 2019