Pratibha Srinivasan om hörselskadade och Scratchprogrammering

Pratibha Srinivasan
Pratibha Srinivasan

”The digitization of society has the potential of transforming the lives of children with hearing loss.”

Pratibha Srinivasan lär hörselskadade barn att tala med hjälp av Scratch. Här berättar Pratibha Srinivasan om sina erfarenheter (texten är på engelska).

<h3>Pratibha Srinivasan about Scratch for spoken language learning</h3>

I’ve always been interested in programming, and love what technology can do. When I learned about scratch (in its first iteration with sound recording), I began to record small sentences for the children to listen to and then choose sprites and make them move to match the sentence they listened to. I found that it was so motivating, and the kids wanted the sprite cat to say so many other things, we started recording the kids, who loved to see the scratch cat move back and forth talking in their voice! This was the beginning, and I found that the correspondence between the scratch blocks and the spoken language and concepts I wanted the kids to learn was so great, that I began to use Scratch for spoken language learning.

The most wonderful thing about Scratch and the way I use it is that language learning becomes a process of discovery. For example, conditional sentences in English are often difficult for children with hearing loss to acquire without significant repetition, and experience. With Scratch, playing with the hat blocks as well as the control blocks makes the meaning of ’when green flag clicked’ and if ……….; repeat ……. blocks clear immediately. The kids can see the effect of the language. It is a simple matter to have them ’read’ their blocks in proper English and they can easily transfer the ’when …….’ and ’if………’ language into their daily lives. The power of seeing the effect of changes to blocks on the screen immediately, is invaluable.

Of course, in order for Scratch to be effective in this way, it takes some thinking through, and careful preparation of lessons —– and it is not something you can just sit down with a computer and do — even if it is going to be open ended from the kids point of view. Another thing is that sometimes I have to integrate it into my work in a little convoluted way, in order to match the language. Now that we have Scratch Jr. the age of the kids is no longer a barrier. Of course, the prep time for effective use of Scratch in listening and spoken language is not really a big ’con’. After all, we should be thinking carefully about all our lessons and what we want kids to be exploring!!!

The digitization of society has the potential of transforming the lives of children with hearing loss. It has already done so with messaging, the ability to ’google’ and find out anything you want etc. However, it means that professionals in deaf education need to provide children with hearing loss the necessary language, and conceptual learning to be able to make use of all the digital technology available. In the US, deaf education is, in my opinion, still far behind in terms of the effective use of technology simply because as professionals, we haven’t caught up. Often, as I provide training to other professionals, I find that while the kids learn how to use an app on the iPad, the professionals are often not comfortable with using the same tools for listening and spoken language. Things are moving in the right direction though and I think we will have a sea change in the educational outcomes for deaf children as a result of our digital world.

Text: Pratibha Srinivasan, Doctor of Audiology, Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist, and Teacher of the Deaf