RFID helps deaf children learn sign language
Thanks to a computer program and RFID-enabled toys, preschoolers learn faster
A group of researchers in the United States are developing a system that uses RFID to teach sign language to very young children.
While there are a whole variety of computer-based sign language learning programs, none of them are very well adapted to the special learning needs of 3 to 5 year olds. The professors and researchers in question have created a system that combines toys and a computer to make sign language more real and more understandable for preschoolers and their parents and teachers.
RFID tags are embedded into several dozens toys, each representing an airplane, dog, cat, car, house, boat and so forth. When a child brings one of the toys up to an RFID reader situated near the computer, the computer screen automatically shows a video of a person demonstrating that item's sign, as well as several other images of that item. The program also displays the printed word on the screen and speaks the word out loud, for the benefit of parents or educators who can hear.
The importance of starting to learn any language, including sign language, as early as possible in childhood is very well known. By allowing educators to link actual objects that can be seen and held with their sign, RFID is helping make it easier for very young deaf children to build a solid foundation in learning.