LLP KA3, 2011-2013
A Bilingual Bimodal Reading and Writing Tool for Sign Language Users
Fact: If you are born deaf, learning to read is a major challenge. The majority of adult deaf learners are functionally illiterate - independent of country, language, or educational background.
Fact: If you can't hear, ICT tools for dyslexic or other reading disabled learners (text-to-speech conversion) will not solve your reading problem.
Fact: Most people who were born deaf or who became deaf early in life, use a sign language as their first and/or preferred language.
Fact: The number of deaf sign language users is relatively small; in most EU countries, deaf learners are integrated in mainstream education. Each school, each teacher who has a deaf student in his/her class struggles to find solutions to circumvent the reading/writing problems of the deaf learner: in primary school, secondary school, vocational training, university, formal and informal adult education.
Fact: There is no writing system for sign languages; texts are signed on video. As a consequence, texts in sign language are hard to navigate, search, annotate. Often, they are difficult to 'read', because all you see is a frontal signer, comparable to traditional frontal teaching.
Fact: Although researchers have promised text-to-sign conversion for over a decade, results are very limited. Conversion at word-sign level is not sufficient; each sign language has its own grammar, so text has to be translated, not just converted.
In the BiBiKit project we will develop an easy to use authoring kit that will enable students, teachers, and everyone to write and read bilingual bimodal texts: electronic books that link text to sign language video.
BiBiKit will be validated in over 30 educational settings in 14 countries, by deaf and hearing writers and readers, 8-80 years of age. The BiBiKit community website will have a webshop, a user forum and up- and download facilities. We will organize an international BiBiKit conference as a launching pad for further and wider cooperation in this field.
Early 2010, a consortium of organisations from 6 EU countries submitted the BiBikit application to the Lifelong Learning Call for Proposal 2010, KA3 ICT.
A total of 224 applications was received for this action, 18 were selected for funding. BiBiKit was one of the lucky ones!
Starting date: 1 January 2011
Duration: 30 months