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    Deafverse from NDC: An Interactive Game for Students Who are Deaf

    By: Margaret Alexandra
    Deafverse: Choose your future
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    The National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC) recently launched Deafverse, an interactive game for members of the student community who are Deaf or hard of hearing. With this game, the NDC offers a valuable and engaging tool to help students develop self-advocacy and self-determination skills while experiencing real-life scenarios, with a focus on accessibility rights. The game is currently available in English and American Sign Language (ASL). It can be played at home, in school, in transition programs, or in vocational rehabilitation settings.

    How it works

    Deafverse is a free, interactive online game available for computers and mobile devices. The game takes place in an imaginary universe, where robots employing Artificial Intelligence (AI) are available to help people with disabilities. In the current “World,” a high-school student who is Deaf finds a [friendly? – sorry, but no spoilers!] robot, in need of help. The student is then faced with several challenges and conflicts. These require him to use his empathy, self-awareness, intelligence and critical thinking skills to be able to “save the world” and improve the accessibility tools available for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

    Deafverse scenario question
    Deafverse Game Scenario: Ms. Hayashi sighs, “We found a way to open portals to other worlds where we can find deaf people in need of support. We build robots to travel through these gates and supply these people with resources. However, advocating for yourself and helping others are key abilities in the Deafverse and you’ve gotten very good at them! We would love to have your help if you are interested.” Answer choices: 1) Yes, you will help the scientists, 2) No, you just want to go home. Source: https://www.nationaldeafcenter.org/game

    Why all students should play it

    Life in and after high school can be challenging for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing. Will there be the accessibility tools I need in order to be a successful adult, fully integrated into our society?  This game provides students who are Deaf a unique “virtual” social experiment by allowing them to engage in the type of situations found in real life, and assess how they can respond to each challenge. It also helps them find the right accessibility tools for each situation, whether in college, school, the workplace, or public places. Knowing how to address an accessibility issue, for example, during an emergency, and how and who to ask for help, are some of the situations the player is faced with. This virtual environment is perfect for testing critical thinking skills and engaging in behaviors that promote empathy, respect and self-determination.

    How AST can help you address your accessibility needs

    At AST, we want to help you address your accessibility needs. We can provide closed captioning, audio description and live captioning for your content. If you are in charge of the accessibility policies at your school, college or organization, contact us (email us at info@automaticsync.com) and we will help you make your content accessible. We want to ensure all learners have a chance to “save the world!”

    Resources:

    • NDC’s Deafverse game (According to the NDC site, more virtual worlds are coming soon for Deafverse. We look forward to reviewing them!)