The RIDBC Auslan Tutor is a portable video-based teaching resource for Auslan - Australian Sign Language. It's been developed by Australia's Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children specifically for use with the iPhone and iPod touch.
This is the first Auslan based teaching program I've seen for the iPod Touch/iPhone. ATMac has looked at two previous programs which are based on ASL (American Sign Language), Sign Smith ASL and iSign, which both functioned mainly as dictionaries with animated characters. The Auslan Tutor is based on recorded video rather than animation, which means the file size is very large - the application is 812mb for the 500 signs it contains.
However, the Auslan Tutor has some interesting features that will help learners to understand proper sign use in context and learn some grammar too. From the website:
Each sign has five corresponding entries which can be viewed on demand as often as necessary. The five entries are:
- a photo of the handshape used to form the sign
- a video clip demonstrating the single sign
- a video clip of the sign used in a phrase
- a video clip of the phrase used in a sentence
- a text note about Auslan grammar that is pertinent to the sign, phrase, or sentence. These notes have been included to help the user gain a basic understanding of the grammatical structure of Auslan.
This clear and easy to follow hierarchy allows the user to build upon their previous knowledge as they move through the entries.
Of course this is not a program to teach somebody Auslan on its own - no program can replace a live teacher who can correct your hand-shape, teach you about Deaf culture and history, and explain Auslan grammar and syntax.
This program has been designed for families of young deaf children who are learning Auslan, so the 500 signs are those which will be important to teaching and interacting with small children. It may be less helpful for adult learners who are interested in a different set of signs, but hopefully now one program has been produced more will follow.
The RIDBC Auslan Tutor costs AU$49.99 from the Australian iTunes store. Their press release indicates that a "lite" version of the application which includes a selection of key Auslan signs will be available for AU$2.49, in early April 2009.
Website: RIDBC Auslan Tutor
- Ricky Buchanan