The Child Africa International School in Kabale, Uganda, hosted a ground breaking text messaging project to encourage the integration of deaf and non deaf children enrolled at the school. The project was initiated by Cambridge to Africa
, in recognition of the pioneering work that the school is carrying out integrating deaf children into the school curriculum.
The founder of Cambridge to Africa, Dr Sacha DeVelle, and trustee Jenny Grewcock travelled to Uganda in March 2010 to implement Phase 1,
which involved supplying equipment and training in Kabale. The pilot project currently involved 12 (6 deaf and 6 hearing) students who learnt how to operate a mobile phone, send a message, and reply to incoming messages.
The project uses Frontline SMS
software designed by Ken Banks
from Kiwanja. net
that captures text data generated by students. All messages are routed to a central computer in Kabale that forwards them to a designated email address. The messages are then picked up in Cambridge and analysed for linguistic content and communication strategies.
This first phase highlighted a number of valuable pedagogical insights that included the advanced sign language skills used by the hearing students when helping the deaf children, the provision of a project that unites deaf and non deaf teachers, and the need for a focus on writing skills for the deaf children.Phase 2
was implemented in May 2010 and the results presented at the African Studies Association UK (ASAUK) Biennial Conference at Oxford University on 17 September 2010.
We have also received funding to write and publish an article describing outcomes of the project, as part of a Global Community Link Grant
funded by UKaid from the Department for International Development (DFID).
In March 2011, Sacha DeVelle spoke about the project during a panel discussion entitled: 'Mobile Technologies for Education: The experience of the developing world'. The discussion was co-hosted by the Humanitarian Centre
and the Centre for Commonwealth Education
, and sponsored by Cambridge Education Services.
We aim to launch Phase 3
in Kampala in 2012. This phase of the project will be implemented in collaboration with the Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD).
The outcomes of this project will provide insights into the psycholinguistic writing strategies used by deaf and non deaf children, and provide pedagogical evidence for classroom curriculum design. The use of text messaging will also play a role in communication between deaf children enrolled at the school and their parents who often live in remote areas.