University expertise used to help deaf children learn

18 Jul 2012 15:05:19.567

PA 211/12

While cochlear implants have been giving deaf people the gift of hearing for over 20 years, training to help teachers, parents and carers of children with the devices has been neglected.

Now The University of Nottingham has teamed up with The Ear Foundation to promote understanding and improve learning opportunities for children living with the life-changing technology.

The JISC / HEA funded ‘Promoting Academic Resources in Society’ (PARiS) project, will increase the number of Open Educational Resources (OER) available to help children with an implant to communicate and develop spoken language.

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Worldwide Demand

With over 80,000 people fitted with cochlear implants worldwide, demand for the Ear Foundation’s education programme inevitably outstrips the available resources. But it is hoped that the new online modules will help the foundation to support more teachers and carers of deaf students, as well as the wider mainstream teaching community.

Chief Executive of the Ear Foundation, Sue Archbold, explained that the collaboration had been welcomed by teachers of the deaf, who have identified a need for resources to help train teaching assistants.

She said: “Deafness in childhood and adulthood has a devastating effect on language and communication developments. Today we have the best possible hearing technologies such as cochlear implants which have transformed the opportunities for deaf children. However, with more deaf children going to mainstream schools there is an urgent need for information as to how to maximise the benefits in teaching. These online resources will help thousands of children and their families all around the world.”

OER expertise

By providing OER and creative commons licensing expertise, the University’s collaboration with the Ear Foundation perfectly reflects its social responsibility objectives, and in particular the promotion and support of education in its many forms.

The University’s PARiS Project Manager at the University, Steve Stapleton explained: “This project hopefully marks the start of a number of collaborations with the Ear Foundation. They are a locally based charity delivering real value both nationally and internationally.

“The service that they provide improves the lives and opportunities for children and their families, and the resources that are being made available will extend this even further. We are extremely happy to be supporting the Foundation in the expansion of its educational provision and have learned a lot from working with them.”

Free for anybody to use, the resources include: an overview of cochlear implantation; the impact of deafness on communication and language; the challenges of using technology at home and school; maximising the benefit of the technology in education; monitoring progress and the family role in language learning.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United KingdomChina and Malaysia. It is also the most popular university in the UK by 2012 application numbers, and ‘the world’s greenest university’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

The Ear Foundation: The Ear Foundation brought cochlear implants for children to the UK in 1989; now the majority of profoundly deaf children can hear and develop spoken language. The Ear Foundation now bridges the gap between the clinical services and home and school where they are used but providing a family support and information programme, an education programme, and research programme.

The charity works nationally and internationally, reaching over 1,000 families and 3,000 professionals per year, and many more through its website. Recently, The Ear Foundation was presented with the Queens Award for voluntary services, the equivalent of the MBE for charities, recognising the calibre of its work. For more information, please visit the Ear Foundation website at:

Story credits

More information is available from Steven Stapleton, Open Learning Support Officer at
Harry Waddle

Harry Waddle - Students Communications Officer

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 823 2353 Location: University Park

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