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Flagler receives duPont Foundation grant for new sign language lab

Mar 19, 2015
by (Photo) Jared Mauldin

Flagler College’s Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program celebrated a banner year of support in 2014. The program opened its new American Sign Language (ASL)? lab in September, and then in December received a $26,400 gift from the Alfred I. duPont Foundation.

These funds, together with an additional $2,000 gift from the Higgs Foundation, were used to purchase a newly-developed software package that enhances the study and practice of ASL.

“This new software — which is the first of its kind — opens doors for more efficient and focused ASL teaching and learning,” said Professor Margaret Finnegan, coordinator of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. “We’re very excited to have it, not just for our Deaf Education majors, but for all the students in general education ASL classes who will also benefit from it.”

The software, developed by Finnish technology company Sanako, was designed to provide split-screen visual references for students to easily compare their abilities in ASL with those of an instructor or another student.

Sign language is taught like oral languages, with a focus on imitating models and engaging in pair and group discussions. The Sanako software enables these activities and provides the added benefit of recording capabilities for later reference and study.

The duPont Foundation’s history with Flagler dates back to 1998, when the college received its first gift of $30,000 to establish the Alfred I. duPont Endowed Library Fund. Since that time, the foundation has supported the Proctor Library endowment and Flagler’s first language lab. In the last 17 years, the foundation has given more than $280,000 to Flagler College.

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