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Technological Innovations in Sign Language Publishing

MA Melissa Malzkuhn


Technological advances in video-based websites and applications have made integral breakthroughs for sign language publishing within the Universal Learning Design framework in representation, expression, and engagement.

The Deaf Studies Digital Journal is the world’s only peer-reviewed publication in sign language. To date, Deaf Studies Digital Journal (“DSDJ”) has over 100 contributors from around the globe, from researchers to visual artists and poets, opening new possibilities and avenues in advancing linguistic respect and equality through self-representation. The design approach to the Journal supports the national sign language and International Sign, as well as an unprecedented level of transparency in presenting data. The process of sign language publishing in academic discourse has led to new standards, which in turn, defines the innovative design of the Journal in expressing ideas and concepts in a visual language.

Another technological innovation in sign language publishing is the launch of a research-in-translation resource, an app (“The Baobab”) for the iPad, from the Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning at Gallaudet University. “The Baobab” is an interactive and bilingual ASL/English storybook app designed for deaf children and visual learners, who are early and emerging readers, through emphasizing visual engagement. The user interface allows easy access to vocabulary words in both text and video, set by the design principles based on research findings. This talk will discuss the developmental process in translating research findings into an educational resource, including the design approach to the user interface and gesture controls. Through early user testing stages, the hybridity of video and text has shown to facilitate vocabulary and story comprehension, which suggests that the touch-screen design is more intuitive in learning. The model is applicable and it points the way to infusing academic discourse on the tertiary level with technology.

This talk will introduce and demonstrate the Deaf Studies Digital Journal website, and “The Baobab”, the Storybook App by highlighting specific works and design approaches.

Related websites: http://dsdj.gallaudet.edu and www.vl2storybookapps.com

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