JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Students at the Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf are set to benefit from upgraded multimedia software, designed to enhance the learning process for deaf and hard of hearing students.
  • Acting President of UTech, Professor Colin Giles, said development of the software is part of the university’s thrust to offer solutions to challenges of national significance.
  • Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and Member of Parliament for St. Andrew Eastern, Hon. Fayval Williams, welcomed the new software.

Students at the Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf are set to benefit from upgraded multimedia software, designed to enhance the learning process for deaf and hard of hearing students.

The software ‘U-Touch II’ was developed by the University of Technology (UTech) and was launched during a ceremony held at the institution located in Papine, St. Andrew on September 8.  It is an update of the ‘U-Touch’ software provided to the institution in 2014.

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), in 2015, provided $7.3 million to continue the development of version two of the multimedia software.

U-Touch II uses both Jamaican sign language and Standard English to enhance reading and comprehension skills among deaf and hard of hearing students at the pre-primary to high-school levels.

Acting President of UTech, Professor Colin Giles, said development of the software is part of the university’s thrust to offer solutions to challenges of national significance.

“I understand that the elements of the new version of the software include the use of animations, text and video to introduce prepositions and a demonstration of their use in sentences,” Professor Giles said.

He said there is possibility for further expansion to include the addition of more modules as well as online and offline access and social media applications.

“I urge the teachers at the Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf to take full advantage of this wonderful tool and trust that as the research continues that our collaboration will grow from strength to strength,” Professor Giles said.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and Member of Parliament for St. Andrew Eastern, Hon. Fayval Williams, welcomed the new software.

She noted that the Papine area has the highest percentage of persons living with disabilities.

“I have a special interest in ensuring that the environment is friendly for persons with disabilities. So, I am very happy to see the use of technology and what that means for persons who are hearing impaired,” Mrs. Williams said.

The project is expected to improve the likelihood of the beneficiaries satisfactorily completing their secondary education and benefiting from higher education. It is also anticipated that it will improve the status of local sign language.

The project also has the potential to assist the entire local deaf and hard of hearing community, which is estimated at 75,000, including adult learners; develop similar content to assist students with other learning challenges; improve teachers’ pedagogical strategies for quality output; and there is potential for replication of the project throughout the Caribbean.