I am always interested in new uses of current technology, especially when it greatly helps others. Before I heard of this news I never really know what else RFID technology could be used for, apart from Rugged PDAs which pick up information on RFID tags when they are out and about, so when I heard they could help teach deaf children how to use sign language, I wondered if there was a whole RFID world that I didn’t know about!
I read an article in a recent edition of the RFID Journal in America, which talked about RFID tags being attached to toys in a children’s nursery. Children would wear a reader which when picks up a signal from an RFID toy, starts a video being played on a nearby computer. The video then shows a person demonstrating the item’s sign. This greatly helps teachers at the school to engage pupils and it also helps hearing parents of deaf children, also learn sign language with their child. Before the technology was introduced, children had to learn from photocopied pages from a text book, which failed to engage young children and didn’t manage to put clearly across the correct sign for an object. The kit has been developed by Lambert, and it includes a computer, and RFID integrator which connects to the PC and objects with off the shelf passive 125kHz tags. Objects with RFID tags range from aeroplanes to balls, to household items and animals. Initially the company developed the system with barcode tags, but this wasn’t as effective as children struggled to scan the small barcodes that were on objects, and so getting frustrated and losing interest.
The kit helped bridge the educational gap between deaf children who also had deaf parents, which meant they had a lot more help at home and before they started school, and those children who had hearing parents, who may have been struggling to tech their child sign and also learn it themselves at the same time.
The system has come under rave reviews from teachers at the school, who say it has greatly helped them with teaching children with no language foundation. This system is only currently available in America, where it was developed, and hopefully with more funding put in place it can grow and develop, and be used all over the world, to help children with hearing difficulties lean to communicate.