Accessible Classrooms for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Title

Following multimedia lectures in mainstream classrooms is challenging for deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) students, even when provided with accessibility services. Due to multiple visual sources of information (e.g. teacher, slides, interpreter), these students struggle to divide their attention among several simultaneous sources, which may result in missing important parts of the lecture; as a result, access to information is limited in comparison to their hearing peers, having a negative effect in their academic achievements.

Our Proposal

This project explores two main approaches: 1) providing tools for instructor of DHH students for better delivery of multimedia lectures and 2) use eyewear computers to reduce visual dispersion and increase access to information.

Project Details

Title: Accessible Classrooms for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Date: Jan 1, 2017

Authors: Hugo Nicolau, Alessandra Brandão, Shreya Tadas, Vicki L. Hanson

Keywords: deaf and hard of hearing, classroom, accessibility, multimedia, attention, presentation, learning


Related Publications


    • The Use of Smart Glasses for Lecture Comprehension by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
    • Miller, Ashley and Malasig, Joan and Castro, Brenda and Hanson, Vicki L. and Nicolau, Hugo and Brandão, Alessandra
    • CHI ’17 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, , 2017
    • [ABSTRACT] [PDF]
    • Deaf and hard of hearing students must constantly switch between several visual sources to gather all necessary information during a classroom lecture (e.g., instructor, slides, sign language interpreter or captioning). Using smart glasses, this research tested a potential means to reduce the effects of visual field switches, proposing that consolidating sources into a single display may improve lecture comprehension. Results showed no statistically significant comprehension improvements with the glasses, but interviews indicated that participants found it easier to follow the lecture with glasses and saw the potential for them in the classroom. Future work highlights priorities for smart glasses consideration and new research directions.


    • SlidePacer: A Presentation Delivery Tool for Instructors of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
    • Brandão, Alessandra and Nicolau, Hugo and Tadas, Shreya and Hanson, Vicki L.
    • Proceedings of the 18th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, 25–32, 2016
    • [ABSTRACT] [PDF] [LIBRARY]
    • Following multimedia lectures in mainstream classrooms is challenging for deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) students, even when provided with accessibility services. Due to multiple visual sources of information (e.g. teacher, slides, interpreter), these students struggle to divide their attention among several simultaneous sources, which may result in missing important parts of the lecture; as a result, access to information is limited in comparison to their hearing peers, having a negative effect in their academic achievements. In this paper we propose a novel approach to improve classroom accessibility, which focuses on improving the delivery of multimedia lectures. We introduce SlidePacer, a tool that promotes coordination between instructors and sign language interpreters, creating a single instructional unit and synchronizing verbal and visual information sources. We conducted a user study with 60 participants on the effects of SlidePacer in terms of learning performance and gaze behaviors. Results show that SlidePacer is effective in providing increased access to multimedia information; however, we did not find significant improvements in learning performance. We finish by discussing our results and limitations of our user study, and suggest future research avenues that build on these insights.

Social Links

My Office

Instituto Superior Técnico,
Computer Science and Engineering Department,
Room 2-N9.21 - TagusPark
Avenida Professor Cavaco Silva,
2744-016 Porto Salvo,
Portugal