Project Number 510388-LLP-1-2010-1-UK-LEONARDO-LMP
Product SignMedia Learning Tool
Title SignMedia Learning Tool
Product Type material for open learning
SignMedia recognised that the world of broadcast media offers an increasingly rich source of employment for deaf graduates and professionals across Europe; but that focus on communication through written English can prove to be a barrier for Sign Language users.
The SignMedia learning resource aims to break down these barriers with an innovative and accessible online learning resource that teaches elements of industry-specific English through Sign Language video and interactive tasks. It has pushed boundaries further in elearning design, bringing video narrative, and an immersive, alternative reality to Deaf online education for the first time.
The SignMedia consortium believes that the SignMedia learning tool, which is suitable for users of British, Austrian and Italian Sign Languages will enhance the inclusion of deaf media specialists in the current European media industry, challenge stereotypes and raise aspirations.
The SignMedia project recognises the immense potential of combining the shared visual modalities of e-learning, media and Sign Language. The result is a product that uses contemporary media developments to reflect the vibrancy, creativity and professional aspirations of the deaf community.
All learning activities are designed around authentic media documentation taken from the production process, such as location risk assessments, crew and actors call sheets and scripts, enabling deaf users to develop skills that are dirctly transferrable to a work environment.
Sign Media delivers an interactive learning experience that teaches elements of written English through sign language. Users will encounter a flexible and engaging learning environment, combining elements of video, animation and game-play.
The materials are designed for flexible, non-linear use that can either be approached as an online course or respond to users’ needs at a particular moment in time. For example, as part of their job the user may need to complete a compliance form or risk assessment, or alternatively their motivation to select a document may be linked to a particular grammatical feature.
Each of the seven production document scenarios, including tasks, signed tuition, glossary and supplementary materials can take up to one hour to complete, depending on the skill level of the learner. Users are encouraged to revisit and complete the learning materials through the scoring and reward system, and the signed glossary and grammar tutorials are available as a continuing resource.
The learning resource also offers users the option to access the glossary in British, Austria or Italian Sign Language, creating further language experiences for deaf people and encouraging increased mobility between countries.
The online learning tool is accessible for users of British, Austrian and Italian sign languages. It is designed primarily for deaf media professionals, but has clear benefits for deaf media students and other sign language users who wish to develop their written English at an intermediate level.
Hearing people with a professional or personal interest in sign languages can also make use of this excellent resource.
The primary result of the SignMedia project is the interactive online learning tool which can be accessed at http://www.signmedia.tv/ .
Registration is currently free and open to all.
Area of application
The SignMedia project has the potential to have a significant impact on the European deaf community. Historically, this has been a community with limited mobility, limited aspirations and low levels of employment, but positive developments in legislation and educational provision mean that this is gradually changing. SignMedia is important because it represents successful, high-achieving deaf Europeans. It assumes that the users have, or are about to have exciting careers, travel, and collaborate professionally with other countries, and by reflecting their humour, ambition and creativity it reinforces their status as a linguistic, rather than a disabled minority.
Throughout the creative process, on-going evaluation was carried out by the teams of Austrian, British and Italian deaf industry professionals who were involved in the filming and production process.
Focus groups comprised of deaf media professionals and students also tested the learning tool and have described it as ‘engaging’, ‘unique’ and ‘fun’.