[PS-1.6] Learning Technologies: Supporting Word Reading Using Dual Language Vocabulary Apps.

McQuarrie, L. 1 & Enns, C. . 2

1 University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
2 University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Previous research demonstrates that ASL phonology is a facilitative gateway into early reading in English for Deaf dual language learners (e.g., McQuarrie & Abbott, 2013). Similarly, vocabulary intervention studies targeting signed language phonological analysis skills (i.e. Handshape phoneme categorization) suggest that Handshape may provide a powerful mnemonic supporting print word learning for young deaf readers (e.g., McQuarrie & Enns, 2015). Grounded in this research, our knowledge translation project aims to develop educational learning technologies to enhance signed language phonological awareness and word reading skills using touch tablet technology that is highly motivating, easily accessible and transportable.

In this presentation we will demonstrate the dual language (ASL - English) learning games. Our suite of vocabulary skill-builder apps includes two gameplay options: 1. Picture mode: reinforcing sign phonology-semantic connections (i.e. sign vocabulary learning) and 2. Text mode: reinforcing sign phonology- orthography connections (i.e. print vocabulary learning).
The user interface of the educational apps has gone through several iterations adapting the language, challenge levels, and key visuals based on input from young Deaf children during user evaluation prototype sessions. Upon formal release, these digital learning tools will provide educators with much needed resources to support their students' early word reading development.