We are leading a project to create an e-learning course to help Deaf Sign Language users to read and write English. It is an international project and the course will be available with many different Sign Language versions so that Deaf people everywhere can learn how to use written English enough to be able to email, use social media and find information on the internet as English is the major language of international communication and used almost everywhere in the world.
The course has been developed by Lynne Barnes, Principal Lecturer and Divisional Coordinator, Department of Deaf Studies – University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). The creation of the course and the pilot development and testing was carried out through a Grundtvig grant of the EACEA’s e-learning programme. The partners in that project were the Government of Valencia; University of Central Lancashire; Walsall Deaf People’s Centre; Federation of Deaf People in Valencia; InForma Zentrum fur Horgeschadigte. The course was tested with Deaf sign Language users in Germany, Spain, and UK.
Now, Walsall Deaf Peoples Centre and UCLAN are working with an Italian NGO – Eldy, linked to software house Vegan Solutions to turn the pilot course into a user-friendly online course which will be accessible for Deaf people all over the world by the end of 2012.
This work has been made possible by the generosity of the Nominet Trust with a substantial grant towards the cost of the project as well as a lot of non-monetary help and support. Additional funding from The Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust has completed the funding necessary for the project to progress to completion.
For the first time, Deaf people will be able to learn at a screen where the teaching element is in Sign Language and the whole course has been designed for Deaf people with no reference to phonetics or sound.