On June 26, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) announced the winners of the first phase of Sign On For Literacy, a global competition to source technology-based innovations that increase access to local sign languages and advance language and literacy outcomes among deaf children. Five phase one winners were chosen by a panel of experts from among more than 100 applicants from 39 countries. Each winner will receive $25,000 in seed funding to allow them to pilot their innovations during the next phase of the competition.
The goal of the program is to develop technology-based solutions that can improve literacy and learning outcomes for the 32 million children around the world who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind. The phase one winners are as follows:
“A Sign Language Option for KitKit School.” Developed by Enuma in partnership with the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness, this innovation will add sign language functionality to KitKit School, a tablet-based early learning program.
“Seňas de Sentido” (“Signs of Meaning”). This three-pronged innovation, developed by Manos Unidas and the National Deaf Association of Nicaragua, will create a collection of Nicaraguan Sign Language materials, including videos and Spanish translations, a language-learning mobile app with downloadable lessons, and a literacy outreach program to train parents of deaf children.
“World Around You.” Developed by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in partnership with the Philippine Federation of the Deaf and De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, this initiative will document and collect local sign languages and create an open-content digital library of folktales offered in an interactive bilingual format integrating local signed and written languages.
“Studio KSL.” This project, to be implemented in Kenya by nonprofit eKitabu, will establish a local studio to document Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) through a visual glossary and produce KSL videos for integration into accessible books to be distributed across Kenya.
“SignShare.” This open-source digital platform, developed by Gallaudet University’s VL2 Center, will advance sign language literacy development by allowing users to create and share signed stories and resources to read, interact and learn.
These five phase one winners will undergo two more phases of review and prototype refinement with the potential to win an additional $225,000. Additional information on each innovation can be found here on ACR GCD’s website. The Sign On For Literacy competition is led by ACR GCD in collaboration with the World Federation of the Deaf, the Nyle DiMarco Foundation and Deaf Child Worldwide.