Auslan Children (Computer)

Auslan Children was my PhD research which investigated using multimedia technology to teach Australian Sign Language to hearing children so that they could communicate with deaf signing children that were at the same school. There were a number of factors that I wanted to investigate with the project these included: preference for characters; perceived clarity of signs; preference for activities; the number of signs to present in one session; if there were learning differences between genders; if the age of the children made a difference to the outcomes.

The three characters that were used in the software were a female presenter, a super hero and a puppet. Each was selected for particular characteristics. The female presenter was a normal person that would be familiar to the children, the super hero was to provide a positive role model and perception of signing and the puppet was for entertainment and caring.

A drill and practice demonstration of the signs were given to the children by the various characters. The children could see the name of the sign written; a close up of the hand shape; a side view and details of the movement. A list of the targeted signs was on the right of the screen. The system played each sign three times and then moved to the next sign or it could be manually progressed by selecting the next word arrow of selecting the next word in the list.

Three types of activities were investigated during the research. a story, song and game.



  • Professor Katherine Blashki, Monash University
  • Dr Marian Quigley, Monash University


Small Education Grant. Tools for inclusive play: teaching Auslan sign language to children using Multimedia. Ellis, K,. (2004) CASS Foundation Limited.


Breaking the sound barrier



Ellis, K.A. 2008, Tools for inclusive play: multimedia for children learning Australian Sign Language, Monash University


Ellis, K.A., 2007, Multimedia to assist kindergarten children to learn Australian sign language, Journal of Australian Research in Early Childhood Education, vol 14, issue 2, Monash University, Melbourne Vic Australia, pp. 11-22.

Ellis, K.A., Blashki, K.M., 2007, The digital playground: Kindergarten children learning sign language through multimedia, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, vol 15, issue 3, AACE, Chesapeake VA USA, pp. 225-253.

Conference Papers

Ellis, K.A., 2009, Multimedia for primary school children learning sign language, Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference of the Australian Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group OZCHI 2009, 23 November 2009 to 27 November 2009, CHISIG, Melbourne Vic Australia, pp. 97-104.

Ellis, K.A., 2005, Tools for inclusive play: developing "Auslan for Kinder", Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Information Technology and Applications, 04 July 2005 to 07 July 2005, IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos USA, pp. 147-152.

Ellis, K.A., Blashki, K.M., 2004, Children, Australian sign language and the Web; the possibilities, AusWeb X: The Challenge of Integration as the Web Moves into its Second Decade: Proceedings of The Tenth Australian World Wide Web Conference, 03 July 2004 to 07 July 2004, Southern Cross University, Lismore NSW Australia, pp. 281-287.

Ellis, K.A., Blashki, K.M., Quigley, M., 2004, Children, sign language and multimedia: an ideal match,Innovations Through Information Technology: Proceedings of the 2004 Information Resources Management Association International Conference, 23 May 2004 to 26 May 2004, Idea Group Publishing, Hershey USA, pp. 391-393.