RFID Technology Teaches Deaf Children Language

September 11, 2009

Two members of South-eastern Louisiana University’s education faculty are the first to explore a new system, which integrates RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology into classroom learning.

Assistant professors Becky Sue Parton and Robert Hancock received a USD 360,000 grant from the US Department of Education to develop their ”physical world hyper-linking” teaching system.

The process, known as the Lambert system, sets up a computer to recognize an object with an RFID tag and responds with an interactive description of the item as well as several photos and an interpreter signing the word.

This system can benefit children learning sign language, and parents at home who may otherwise have no direct access to learning the language.

Following a successful, first prototype the Lambert system was adapted to include Spanish printed text and audio which makes the system available to children and adults who use English as a second language.

Deaf children using the system also have the opportunity to learn a foreign language and the system can be used worldwide. Tests at Centro Christiano de Education in the Dominican Republic were well-received.

A mobile Lambert Unit is available, which allows children to use a PDA instead of bringing each item to a base computer. This means real life items such as tables, fridges, doors and cookers can be tagged instead of using smaller replicas and makes the experience  more true to life.

Susannah Ford, a teacher at the Louisiana School for the Deaf, has been using this program for 6 months and already sees the benefits. She says:

“First and foremost, it is very user friendly, both for teachers and students of all functional abilities. It’s a hands-on approach, which is truly the best way for deaf students to learn and acquire language.”

(compiled by Miriam Walsh)

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