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Interactive storybook iPad app especially for ASL deaf children

By Lesley Lanir, Digital Journal
summarized by Rachel Cain, staff writer

The National Science Foundation-funded Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) at Gallaudet University research center recently released a bilingual American Sign Language (ASL) and English storybook app for the iPad of the childhood classic, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

“Our deaf children should have access to those classics, as part of their world knowledge,” said Melissa Malzkuhn, Digital Innovation and Media Strategies Manager for VL2.

Malzkuhn said the audience for the bilingual storybook apps includes deaf children, parents of deaf children, educators, anyone interested in ASL, and visual learners. VL2’s storybook apps are the only ones that also include fingerspelling, which is a “key factor in bridging ASL and English,” Malzkuhn said.

This story is second in a series of three iPad storybook apps VL2 is developing. The first storybook app was “Baobab,” which followed an original storyline designed by the VL2 team. “Baobab” was extremely popular and was the second prize winner of the 2014 DEVISE Design Award – Professional Category. “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” uses the same framework as the award-winning design of the previous storybook app.

VL2 is currently developing “VL2 Storybook Creator,” a website portal where people can download their storybook app code for a fee so the users can develop their own storybook apps.

Also, VL2 is developing two more storybook apps (including “The Little Airplane that Could”) and a science-based app.

Read the full story and see images of VL2’s storybook app here.

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