Signing Math & Science Dictionary Apps for Inclusion of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Visitors in Science Museum Exhibit Activities

Judy Vesel
Museum Education and Accessibility: Bridging the Gaps Proceedings, 46th Annual ICOM-CECA Conference 2015


This paper discusses implementation research conducted by TERC, Inc., at the Museum of Science (MoS) in Boston. Purposes of the research were to examine how visitors ages 5 through adult, who are deaf or hard of hearing and communicate in sign language, integrate mobile versions of a Signing Science Dictionary (SSD), Signing Science Picture Dictionary (SSP), and Signing Math Dictionary (SMD) into their museum experience during family visits, and to study the impact of the dictionaries’ use. Developed by TERC and Vcom3D, each dictionary includes approximately 700 terms and is intended to enable increased access to information through individualized use. While the results of this research reflect the experiences of a limited number of families in a single informal setting, the data strongly support the assertion that the dictionaries are valuable assistive tools when used during science museum visits.