Friday, September 25, 2009

Learn to Sign with Toys

Researchers in Louisiana and Texas are using RFID-tagged toys to teach ASL to deaf preschoolers. The system is known as LAMBERT which stands for Language Acquisition Manipulatives Blending Early-childhood Research and Technology. It was designed by Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. Thanks to a grant from the Department of Education of nearly $400,000, the program has been expanded. The system includes a kit with a laptop or desktop PC along with 25 objects with radio-frequency identification tags attached to them. When a child sweeps the tag, a short video pops up on the screen with a person giving the sign for the word. It also speaks the word. A kit with 500 items is under development. It’s being used at the Louisiana School for the Deaf and the Jean Massieu Academy in Texas.