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BSL webinar – Visualising how plants and microbes function in sign language
24th September 2020 at 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm BST
During Plant Health Week 2020, we had the pleasure of welcoming a team from the Scottish Sensory Centre to present a webinar to BSPP members discussing how plants and microbes function in sign language.
The Scottish Sensory Centre (SSC) promotes and supports the education of children and young people with sensory impairments and is recognised across the UK and Europe for its pioneering work in this area. Over the past 13 years the SSC have developed an online British Sign Language glossary of over 1500 technical STEM signs and definitions for use in education and STEM employment.
For each scientific term the SSC create, there is a video showing the BSL sign, which is supported with a video or diagram explaining the definition in BSL.
There are currently around 480 signs relating to biology, with perhaps 200 that would relate directly to plant biology and plant pathology.
Check out the glossary here: http://www.ssc.education.ed.ac.uk/bsl/
During the 45-minute webinar, Audrey Cameron, Rachel O’Neill and Gary Quinn, alongside BSL/English interpreters Marion Fletcher and David Summersgill, describe the sign development process that the BSL team follow to create new signs for science terminology, whilst adhering to the principles of BSL linguistics.
As part of this webinar an animated, BSL signed video was also created describing the pathogen system Banana Fusarium Wilt. Signed by Gary Quinn, voiceover by BSL/English interpreter Marion Fletcher and edited by Lauren Chappell at the University of Oxford. This video highlights the importance of sign language for communicating science, and the current lack of specialised plant pathology signs for describing more complex scientific concepts and definitions.
Whilst the SSC have created a good foundation of biology BSL signs, many of these relate to the national curriculum for primary and early secondary education, and there is a need to create further signs to support deaf students studying GCSE, A-level and further education qualifications.
Many of the plant pathology terms frequently used at outreach events do not yet have BSL signs. The BSPP are continuing to support this collaboration with the SSC by funding the creation of plant pathology specific BSL signs.
To accompany the new signs, the BSPP are also funding a series of animated videos that will feature a range of plant-pathogen systems that will be used for both deaf and hearing science communication events and available for all BSPP members to use in outreach projects.
Dr Audrey Cameron is a Teaching Fellow in Science Education and STEM BSL glossary coordinator based at the University of Edinburgh.
Rachel O’Neill is a Senior Lecturer in deaf education at the University of Edinburgh.
Gary Quinn is an Assistant Professor of BSL linguistics and works as a lecturer and researcher at Heriot-Watt University. He is also studying part-time for a PhD.
Interpreters: David Summersgill and Marion Fletcher.