Website Boosts Literacy for Deaf Canadian Children

Online video and whimsical animation is being used to empower deaf children on a new website created by Toronto-based marblemedia and The Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf.

marblemedia and the CCSD, the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf, have partnered on the launch of an online animated American Sign Language (ASL) dictionary for children, www.aslphabet.com.

Described as a collaboration of three countries and many organizations, the prototype project lets deaf children look up vocabulary according to their own, primary language, ASL, along with the English vocabulary counterpart – without having to rely on adults for definitions.

CCSD is the only national cultural organization for Deaf Canadians. A non-profit organization supported by private donations, the CCSD represents over 450,000 Canadians and serves many more through its educational programs, cultural activities and Deaf heritage resources. The CCSD strives to preserve, encourage and advance the cultural interests of Canada’s Deaf population, promotes better understanding between Deaf and hearing adults and children and promotes literacy for Deaf children.

With funding for the prototype from the Inukshuk Wireless Learning Plan Fund, an equally owned partnership between Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, the project is already drawing accolades from educators around the world.

Working with Jordaan and Dr. Sam Supalla, Deaf linguist at the University of Arizona, marblemedia and CCSD have produced a product that is both inviting and educational. Video components of a signing magician and graphics add a sense of fun to the application, making a complex concept friendly to young children.

Plans for the future include enhanced functionality of this animated dictionary and an increase to the search potential from 100 to 1500 words. To do so, the partners will embark on an extensive fundraising initiative designed to raise the required funds for completion of the project.

Donations can be made via the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf’s website (http://www.deafculturecentre.ca/Public/DonationHome.aspx).

Established in 2001 by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg, marblemedia is a content creation company on the forefront of television and new media production, devoted to telling stories that entertain and engage audiences across all platforms.

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