Learn sign language on the Web
In order to encourage learning sign language Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) in Manizales researchers of the Adaptive Intelligent Environments Research Group (GAIA, for its Spanish acronym) created an interactive tool.Bogotá D. C., 20 de junio de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
The tool entitled, “Aprendiendo lengua de señas colombiana” (Learning Colombian Sign Language) (http://froac.manizales.unal.edu.co/lengua_senas/) uses an avatar to help teach and interpret sign language.
The avatars were provided by the Foundation for the Development of Technological Tools for Humanitarian Assistance, a non-for-profit agency devoted to research, development and implementation of technologies to solve inclusion and human equity issues.
The tool has different concept categories to help teach sign language and enables disclosing the Web tool. Furthermore it helps determine if the user responded correctly to each activity.
For this, “We opted to implement basic categories focused on general concepts such as numbers, the alphabet, common objects, food and animals of daily life,” said UNal-Medellín Business Engineering master’s candidate Emilcy Juliana Hernández Leal.
To start off the user choses an activity to interact with, then selects a category and options which are clearly specified in the instructions to carry our different exercises.
One of the activities it to “associate” or “match” and is to try to link a concept to a sign according to the chosen option. In “responder” (answer), a sign is presented to the user and the person needs to input the corresponding word. There is also “elegir” (choose) in which the person choses the correct answer from a list of given choices.
UNal-Manizales IT System Management undergraduate Ángela María Pérez Zapata, added that another activity is where users associate images with signs with the concept written in Spanish.
“The images we use are taken from free image repositories, and others were taken by us and correspond to real life situations,” said UNal-Manizales IT System Management undergraduate Adrián Felipe Arroyave Tabares.
The initiative was funded by the Colombian Administrative Department for Science Technology and Innovation and the Ministry of Education within the Raim project (a framework implementation project supported on mobile technologies and augmented realities for ubiquitous, adaptive, accessible educational and interactive environments).
The initial implementation of this initiative has already concluded and was validated by its creators –the technical personnel of the project– with knowledge on software development and experts in Colombian sign language, who confirmed that this is a suitable tool to learn sign language.
“This enables the community with hearing impairment to have a better understanding of Spanish. It is also good to work with children because it uses basic vocabulary and games that entertain,” said Paula Alejandra Giraldo Vélez, Interpreter Coordinator and Linguistic Model of the Province of Caldas Association for the Hearing Impaired during the online platform test.
Paula Alejandra, a hearing impaired person and her interpreter Lina Fernanda Mejía Rojas, suggested replacing the avatar for video recordings of a linguistic model (a person with hearing impairment and knowledgeable of Spanish and sign language) as they could add greater hand and body movements than the member of the GAIA group are addressing.
In this manner the tool ratifies that using IT and communication technologies teaching and learning tools are well supported and besides contribute to a more inclusive education.(Por: Fin/UNP/MLA/ABPL