Astronomy Education, Deaf Education, American Sign Language, Planetarium
Accommodating the planetarium experience to members of the deaf or hard-of-hearing community has often created situations that are either disruptive to the rest of the audience or provide an insufficient accommodation. To address this issue, we examined the use of head-mounted displays to deliver an American Sign Language sound track to learners in the planetarium Here we present results from a feasibility study to see if an ASL sound track delivered through a head-mount display can be understood by deaf junior to senior high aged students who are fluent in ASL. We examined the adoption of ASL classifiers that were used as part of the sound track for a full dome planetarium show. We found that about 90% of all students in our sample adopted at least one classifier from the show. In addition, those who viewed the sound track in a head-mounted display did at least as well as those who saw the sound track projected directly on the dome. These results suggest that ASL transmitted through head-mounted displays is a promising method to help improve learning for those whose primary language is ASL and merits further investigation.