Swedish Sign Language Skills Training and Assessment

University essay from KTH/Skolan för datavetenskap och kommunikation (CSC)

Abstract: Sign language is used widely around the world as a first language for those that are unable to use spoken language and by groups of people that have a disability which precludes them from using spoken language (such as a hearing impairment). The importance of effective learning of sign language and its applications in modern computer science has grown widely in the modern aged society and research around sign language recognition has sprouted in many different directions, some examples using hidden markov models (HMMs) to train models to recognize different sign language patterns (Swedish sign language, American sign language, Korean sign language, German sign language and so on).  This thesis project researches the assessment and skill efficiency of using a simple video game to learn Swedish sign language for children in the ages within the range of 10 to 11 with no learning disorders, or any health disorders. During the experimental testing, 38 children are divided into two equally sized groups of 19 where each group plays a sign language video game. The context of the video game is the same for both groups, where both listened to a 3D avatar speak to them using both spoken language and sign language. The first group played the game and answered questions given to them by using sign language, whereas the other group answered questions given to them by clicking on an alternative on the video game screen. A week after the children have played the video game, the sign language skills that they have acquired from playing the video game are assessed by simple questions where they are asked to provide some of the signs that they saw during the duration of the video game. The main hypothesis of the project is that the group of children that answered by signing outperforms the other group, in both remembering the signs and executing them correctly. A statistical null hypothesis test is performed on this hypothesis, in which the main hypothesis is confirmed. Lastly, discussions for future research within sign language assessment using video games is described in the final chapter of the thesis.

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