Free e-learning resources for NZSL learners

Victoria University Deaf Studies Research Unit was granted funding to develop a free online suite of interactive exercises for NZSL learners in Round 1 of the NZSL Fund.

Victoria University of Wellington is developing an e-learning resource, which will feature four characters and their everyday lives, to help New Zealanders learn NZSL online. Note: The resource is now available on , released on 6 April 2017).

In 2015, the university’s Deaf Studies Research Unit received two years’ funding ($230,943.00) from the New Zealand Sign Language Fund for its 'LearnNZSL: E-Learning Resource for NZSL Learners' project.

Project Manager Sara Pivac Alexander says the project involves developing a free online suite of NZSL exercises for second language NZSL learners nationwide. This resource will contain up to 500 videos in NZSL, supported by learning tasks.

She says the A New Era in the Right to Sign (2013) report states that "for a language to must also be available to the broader population in order to build an appreciation and knowledge of the language”.

"We have a pool of NZSL tutors in this country but not all areas offer NZSL classes, which means many New Zealanders have limited opportunities to learn NZSL. There are regular requests about NZSL online courses.

"This new e-learning resource aims to address these gaps and motivate more New Zealanders to learn about our language from the comfort of their homes. More New Zealanders knowing NZSL means Deaf people have more opportunities to communicate in NZSL and thus, better participate in education, family and community activities.

Mrs Pivac Alexander says students will be able to use the resource independently to learn NZSL on their own, anytime, anywhere in New Zealand or to support in-class learning.

"Content will be drawn from the TeachSign (NZSL Level 1 Community Education) curriculum with nine topics focusing on everyday communication. Each topic will be presented in four sections: Words, Phrases, Conversations and Wrap Up."

Mrs Pivac Alexander says award-winning e-learning company Kineo are building the website and the filming is being done by Video NZ, who also worked on the NZSL Online Dictionary.

It is expected that the e-learning resource will be tested with learners late this year and launched early in 2017.

This e-learning resource is partly funded by TAB Book Project Committee.




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