Signing Science Pictionary for Young Learners Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
In a previous collaboration, TERC and Vcom3D developed an illustrated PC-based Signing Science Dictionary (SSD) for students in Grades 4-8. Research findings show that the SSD helps build a communication bridge to promote teaming and communication of scientific ideas. However, at the end of the primary grades, scientific literacy levels of children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing already lag significantly behind those of their hearing peers.
For our Phase I SBIR project, Vcom3D and TERC developed and tested a prototype American Sign Language and Signed English Signing Science Pictionary (SSP) for both CD-ROM and handheld applications. This proof-of-concept software consisted of a 100 word illustrated sign language dictionary of scientific terms for students in grades K-3.
For this Phase II SBIR project, Vcom3D proposes to develop and evaluate a fully functional SSP with at least 700 terms for handheld devices for use in grades K-3. Versions will be created for handheld media players, such as the Apple iPod Touch, as well as for selected emerging multifunction devices, such as iPhone, Blackberry and Sidekick. We will also develop new signing characters, including animal and fantasy characters that are more appropriate to the younger age group than the SSP targets.
Anticipated Results and Potential Commercial Applications
The SSP will be made available for the Apple iPod Touch and for at least one additional mobile device and sold through popular application channels such as Apple’s iTunes. The second mobile device will be selected in early 2010, based on the latest offerings by major manufacturers of mobile devices. We will also license the technology and signing characters to other educational software developers.
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