Virtual reality for educating Sign Language using signing avatar: The future of creative learning for deaf students

Oussama El Ghoul, Achraf Othman

Conference: EDUCON 2022 | IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference | March 28-31, 2022 | Online and Tunis, Tunisia [hybrid]

In the United States, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates that 90% or more deaf children have hearing parents. Communication is one of the first aspects of family life impacted by having a deaf child. The hearing parents of deaf children and teachers often have difficulty communicating with their deaf children and need to interact with them using sign language. Deaf children and hearing parents still face many challenges in learning sign languages despite technological advances such as mobile apps, desktop and web applications, and new instructional materials and methods. In Qatar, 13.7% of the persons with disabilities have some difficulties, many challenges, or cannot hear totally, highlighting the need to include and foster ICT accessibility of deaf and hard of hearing persons in education. In this paper, we presented a new approach based on virtual reality (VR) to teach the basics of Qatari Sign Language (QSL) for teachers and parents, which can be extended to beginner interpreters for sign language. We experimented on 52 participants from specialized primary schools and higher institutes to teach them new signs in QSL (Arabic Sign Language). Virtual reality presented an innovative way for fast education through impact assessment conduct before and after the training sessions.

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