An e-learning environment to improve deaf people language acquisition www.visel.cnr.it Maria Roccaforte*[email protected] * Department of archival, philological, linguistic and geographical Sciences – University “Sapienza”, Rome INTRODUCTION Prelingual deaf learners, experiences difficulties in achieving receptive and expressive skills in oral languages. E-LEARNING ENVIRONMENT DESCRIPTION DELE – Deaf-centered E-Learning Environment DELE – HOME PAGE When addressing linguistic problems of prelingual deaf people, research in the field of deaf education has proven how technology can enhance the quality of content transmission and of student’s writing experience (Caselli, Maragna, Volterra, 2006). The metaphor is a University-Campus story, where users have to graduate as their storyspecific goal. Inside this story, several other sub-stories (i.e. Home, University, Coffee, etc.) are provided, building up a story-based path for all learning activities. These will be adapted to increase deaf people's comprehension and interaction in the system through cooperative activities. E-learning allows reaching isolated groups of deaf learners and address their pedagogical needs through an immersive and challenging learning environment. In this presentation we will describe the working framework of the FIRB-VISEL project*, aimed at creating an interactive e-learning environment (DELE- Deafcentered E-Learning Environment) where deaf people (both signers and not signers) can improve their linguistic skills. GOALS DELE platform was created for the promotion of literacy skills in young deaf learners through cooperative activities, visual easification procedures, visual motivating educational games and Sign Language videos. DELE could be used for improve deaf students ehnglish competence. DELE also allows teachers to create linguistic learning paths using an integrated editor. TOOLS DELE: E-LEARNING STRATEGIES Linguistic structures are presented and explained using interactive "easification" tools, made of examples of use, signifying images, sign language videos, comics, definitions, synonyms, short stories and whatever else can be of any help to comprehension. "Easification" devices guide the reader through text, making it more accessible. Student also can underline a complex structur and make a question both by viedeo o written text Clicca sulle parti di testo sottolineate per visulaizzare i contenuti multimediali o sottolinea TU le parti difficili Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or conversations?' So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her. There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, 'Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!' (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge. Linguistic structures are presented and explained using interactive text "easification" strategies, made of examples of use, signifying images, videos, comics, definitions, synonyms, short stories and whatever else can be of any help to comprehension. STORYEDITOR in DELE: help educators create online courses "Easification" devices guide the reader through text, making it more accessible (Bhatia, 1983). DELE provides a teachers with a storyeditor that allows them to define a learning path simply by inserting materials, texts, images, videos, animations, etc. which will be automatically integrated in the environment structure, producing the intended learning “story”. DELE provides teachers with a story-editor allowing to create an open source database by collecting materials produced by teachers working with deaf learners. This editor can be used also to specify learning activities and co-textual in-depths using the described structures and tools. Acknowledgement * FIRB-Visel “E-Learnig, sordità, lingua scritta: un ponte di lettere e segni per la società della conscenza” is a three yearso long project ifinanced by MIUR, in which are involved: l’Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione del CNR di Roma (unità capofila del progetto), il Dipartimento di Scienze Documentarie, Linguistico-Filologiche e Geografiche e l’Unità Pictorial Computing Laboratory della facoltà di Informatica dell’Università La Sapienza di Roma, l’Università per Stranieri di Siena e l’Istituto Statale Sordi di Roma. References Bhatia, V.K. (1983). Simplification v. Easification - The Case of Legal Texts 4. Applied Linguistics, 42. Caselli, M. C., Pagliari Rampelli, L. (1991). La competenza linguistica di bambini e adulti sordi nella lingua parlata e scritta. Scuola e Didattica, 11, pp. 66 – 70. Caselli, M.C., Maragna, S., Volterra, V. (2006). Linguaggio e sordità. Parole e segni per l’educazione dei sordi, Il Mulino, Bologna. De Monte, M. 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