Information technologies that support the learning process by persons who perceive the world slightly differently due to their impairments. There is a need to take a closer look at such pupils, their way of life and needs, as well as to understand in what way the available technology solutions may support their education process to help them gain social self-dependence.
When stressing the significance of the development of technology ideas to the process of integration of persons so far excluded, attention should focus on teaching the handicapped to appropriately and safely use the modern technologies. Use by schools of innovative ICT solutions that offer possibility of customisation of their user functionality will not only facilitate learning by handicapped children, but also improve their chance for successful professional careers and social life in the world of tomorrow.
In February 2009, Microsoft together with Nobody’s Children Foundation and Safe Driver Foundation has developed the educational material on safety on the web, addressed to primary school pupils, their teachers, parents and custodians. The educational package is based on series of cartoon video clips presenting potential threats that young computer users may encounter in Internet, as well as advice on how to use the web safely.
The success of these materials encouraged its authors to work towards making this tool available also to pupils with special educational requirements, so far unable to draw on available sources of knowledge - the hearing-impaired children. A deaf child, for whom the world of perpetually developing new information technologies will very soon become the bridge to integration, should in a natural way be learning about possible Internet threats and react to them skillfully. Internet threats concern all Internet users, regardless of their health deficiencies. However, not all publicly available materials on this topic are understandable to pupils with disabilities, like hearing impairment. Globally there are very few teaching aids designed for use by the deaf and their teachers.
The project was implemented together with the Polish Association of the Deaf and Nobody’s Children Foundation.
The challenge was to transpose spoken language to sign language in the most interesting way.
Due to specifics of Polish sign-language and partners’ requirement for maximum attractiveness of form of communication, we used sequences combining not one, but two or three sign-language interpreters onscreen. Such scenes of lively dialogues and complex situations expressed through innovative postproduction methods allowed us to provide children with content they understand easily. Numerous consultations and trials conducted on group of pupils from Institute for the Deaf in Warsaw allowed us to arrive at a result that is easy to understand and attractive to deaf children.
This project was a pioneering undertaking on nationwide scale, paving the road for similar future initiatives. The forms of communication pioneered by partners, such as the way lectors work or the material is post-produced, may successfully be used in similar educational projects for deaf children. This initiative is also significant in global scale. There are not too many similar educational materials for hearing impaired children, combining educational content on safe use of the web with interesting visualisations of situations that also their peers with no hearing impairment may encounter. Possibility to adapt the existing teaching tools to the needs of deaf web users provides them with opportunity to benefit from modern technologies while being well aware of good practices of avoiding risky behaviors and reacting to Internet threats.