Principal Investigator: Judy Vesel

Funder: National Science Foundation


TERC and Vcom3D are producing a unique set of learning tools that will increase access of high school students who are deaf or hard of hearing to educational content in life and physical science. During this four-year project, the partners will use the SigningAvatar® assistive technology to research and develop two illustrated interactive 3D dictionaries for grades 9-12: a Signing Life Science Dictionary (SLSD) and a Signing Physical Science Dictionary (SPSD). The partners will evaluate the extent to which use of the SLSD and SPSD increases understanding of standards-based content in the life and physical sciences, promotes command of the languages of life and physical science, and furthers the ability to study these content areas independently. The project will build a robust avatar lexicon of signed life and physical science terms that developers, educators, and professionals can use when generating signed life and physical science materials. The SLSD and SPSD will be disseminated on CD-ROM and through Web-based versions. This project builds on research that led to the development of the Signing Science Dictionary (SSD)—a dictionary of ~1,300 science terms and definitions for grades 4-8—and the Signing Earth Science Dictionary for grades 9-12. The SSD was funded in part by grants from NEC Foundation of America, the National Science Foundation (HRD-0533057), and the U.S. Department of Education (H327A060026). The Signing Earth Science Dictionary was funded in part by a grant for the National Science Foundation (GEO-0913675).


Video versions are now available compatible with Mac, Chromebook, and a wide variety of platforms and web browsers and with iPads all at no cost. Available at: