Three educators are optimising a software product for students with hearing issues to access audio-visual content, to achieve a universal design for a concurrent, mainstream student pool that was not envisaged at the outset.
The product, AvenueDHH, gives educators a standardised way to measure student literacy while allowing for variables in the abilities being tested. Student progress is tracked with review and monitoring tools in the online assessment software, which has student and teacher-specific interfaces.
Woord Vor Woord (Word For Word) Software
Earlier this year, Karien Coppens, a researcher in the Netherlands, devised an online vocabulary test to accurately measure the ability of deaf students. Notably, her research found children who had digital hearing-devices and sustained parent support, did better in online vocabulary and literacy tests.
Hearing – and reading ability – appear to be linked, with numerous studies showing parent interactions, audibility (hearing) and home exposure to new vocabulary to be recurring factors in a child’s very early literacy skills.
With child digital literacy being all-important, software tools and platforms are evolving to acknowledge that some deaf children will prefer verbal communication, with others favouring more visual (signed) interactions.
One size does not fit all, when meeting the needs of students who’re deaf or hard-of-hearing, but as the creators of AvenueDHH know, universal design theories can be extrapolated to achieve a product for a mainstream market.
As Karien Coppens will testify, reusing software code is a positive first step.
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