An innovative online learning resource will help teach Kiwis New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL).
Learn NZSL, developed by Victoria University’s Deaf Studies Research Unit, will be launched on April 6 2017, the 11th anniversary of NZSL becoming an official language of New Zealand. Sara Pivac Alexander, Learn NZSL project manager, says the e-learning resource is the first of its kind to provide a large-scale, free, interactive and sequential learning experience for NZSL.
“Since NZSL became an official language in 2006, demand for sign language learning has increased. However, there is a small pool of NZSL teachers nationwide and the number of classes are limited, which means NZSL learning opportunities have not been easily accessible. Learn NZSL aims to change that, allowing New Zealanders to learn from anywhere 24/7,” she says.
“Approximately 95 percent of Deaf children are born to hearing parents. It can be difficult for hearing parents to access local NZSL classes, so this resource will help them increase their understanding and ability to communicate with their child and the Deaf community.” The course will cover everyday vocabulary, phrases and conversations and is split into nine topics, supported by interactive tasks and 660 videos.