Government research institute promoting sign language in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
- Indian Sign Language Enabled Virtual Laboratory (ISLEVL)
- Country of Implementation
- Start Year
- First published
“ CSIR – IMTECH has also established an ISL-enabled astronomy lab for deaf students.”
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, a renowned Indian research and development organization established by the government, has developed the Indian Sign Language Enabled Virtual Laboratory platform to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning accessibility for the deaf community. The platform features a variety of engaging materials, including comics, games, infographics, simulations, and videos, accommodating different educational levels. In 2022 alone the platform added approximately 250 content videos and over 100 vocabulary videos.
There is an enormous lack of accessible resources related to STEM education for the deaf community in India.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The Indian Sign Language Enabled Virtual Laboratory (ISLEVL) platform was established by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) through its Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), a government-funded research entity. This innovative platform is being developed and implemented by a team of deaf content creators, signers, and multimedia editors under the guidance of hearing scientists, special educators, and interpreters. ISLEVL provides open access to a wide array of high-quality STEM content translated into Indian Sign Language (ISL), including comics, games, infographics, simulations, and videos – all tailored to suit various learning levels. To address the challenge of representing complex scientific terms in sign language, a special project called the STEM vocabulary was initiated. Additionally, the platform regularly disseminates scientific news in sign language through a service named STEM News. In a collaborative effort with the Haryana Welfare Society for Persons with Speech and Hearing Impairment, CSIR – IMTECH has also established an ISL-enabled astronomy lab for deaf students in Karnal, Haryana. Named AstroLabVM, this virtual astronomy lab provides access to over 90 videos, hands-on demonstrations, and fun facts. It presents a range of simple to complex concepts of space and science, all explained in ISL.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
As part of public research institutions, programmes are funded through government research budgets. (Awardee 2024)