1. Assisting Teachers in Understanding Assistive Technology: What Recent Research Says
  2. Introducing the Assistive Technology Blog Series
  3. Assistive Technology to Support Writing
  4. Preparing Pre-Service Educators to Make AT Decisions
  5. 3 Key Questions When Considering Assistive Technology
  6. Data Tools to Inform AT for Reading and Writing
  7. Supporting Online Reading Using Assistive Technology
  8. FOCUS To-Do Increases Time Management Skills in Pre-Service Teachers
  9. Assistive Technology Solutions to Support Math
  10. Behavior and Burnout? Values-Based Practice Using ACTCompanion
  11. Assistive Technology to Support Young Children
  12. AT Goes to the Big and Little Screen: Tech for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community
  13. CIDDList: Assistive Technology Tools and Resources for Young Children
inside a movie theatre

AT Goes to the Big and Little Screen: Tech for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community

Author: Samantha Goldman; info@ciddl.org

In 2021, CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) won several Oscars, including Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Troy Kotsur was the first deaf actor to win an Oscar. 

Fast forward to this year, the Barbie movie was released on HBO Max with ASL. Leila Hanaumi, a graduate of Gallaudet University and an ASL performer, interpreted the entire film. RespectAbility and the Deaf West Theatre collaborated on this project.  

Why This Matters

American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English are not the same. Sign language is the first language for many young children who are deaf/ hard of hearing. But, not all people who are deaf/ hard of hearing use sign language. So, when considering inclusion in the movie-going experience (or within the classroom), it is important to ensure that you account for all needs.

There are several options to increase accessibility in movie theaters and classrooms. Unlike closed captioning on your TV at home, closed captioning devices at movie theaters are personal devices that typically fit into the cupholder. Some of the reported negatives of these devices include limited availability and shorter battery life. Other options provided by theaters include wireless audio descriptions (descriptive narration), open captions (on-screen captions like on your home TV), and hearing loops (link the theater sound system to hearing aids).

Universal Design for Learning Implications

When considering technology for the deaf and hard of hearing, both in and out of the classroom, it is important to consider how these strategies and devices might benefit others. Thinking about the differences between closed captioning and open captioning is a great way to consider these implications. In a movie theater, closed captioning is only available to those with a handheld device. Open captioning is provided for all. For instance, captioning effectively supports the comprehension process of English Language Learners and improves retention. 

Innovative Technologies to Support the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

In addition to technology to support the viewing of movies, innovations are arising to support actors (or players) who are deaf or hard of hearing. Recently, Gallaudet University and AT&T partnered to create a football helmet that allows coaches to communicate with deaf and hard-of-hearing players on the field. The coach can send a play to the player’s helmet, displayed in Augmented Reality

Innovative Technologies to Support the Learning of ASL

Are you interested in learning ASL? In a previous research to practice brief, CIDDL’s Dr. Ling Zhang interviewed Dr. Lorna Quandt, who shared how AR and VR provide innovative solutions for learning sign language. Several available tools use AR, VR, and/or AI to support the learning of ASL. These include the ASL app, CREST, American Sign Language Assistance GPT, and SLAIT.

Share in Our Community

How do you teach your pre-service teachers about technologies available to support deaf and hard-of-hearing students? What are your favorite resources? Share them with us in our community.