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SBIR Phase I: Life-like, Expressive Avatars for the Instruction of Young Learners who are Deaf
Phone: (407) 737-7310
Phone: (407) 737-7310
This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I research project develops a system for creating animated stories and related instructional material in American Sign Language (ASL), with the goal of significantly improving Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (HH) K-12 student's opportunities to learn from reading - not only in the classroom, but anytime and anywhere they have access to digital communication. The project will include the development and testing of exemplary reading instruction for Deaf students reading at grade level 2-3. This project researches signing styles and pedagogical methods currently used by skilled teachers of young deaf learners to document how facial expressions, variations of signing style, ""body language"", and other methods are used to engage the students and promote understanding of reading materials. The translation of English text into American Sign Language (ASL) will be extended to support the signing styles and pedagogical methods that are found to be effective. This research and development will not only provide new tools for assisting Deaf students to develop literacy skills, but also provide new insight into how these skills are acquired. The research will result in improved, computer-based reading instruction for the more than 50,000 K-12 Deaf/HH in the U.S. whose first language is ASL. Currently, Deaf children are delayed in developing language skills, to the extent that the average reading level of a Deaf high school graduate is no greater than 4th grade. Since Deaf children have difficulty developing phonemic awareness, and are often isolated from contextual information available to hearing students, teaching reading to Deaf children requires the application of several unique methods that go far beyond simply translating English text. This project will make possible the creation of instruction that is available ""anytime, anywhere"" for assisting Deaf children to develop literacy skills. The outcomes of this research will be commercialized through educational software technology licensing.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *