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Measuring Effectiveness of Mobile Application in Learning Basic Mathematical Concepts Using Pakistan Sign Language

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Technology plays an important role in our society, especially in the field of education. It is quite regrettable that people, particularly the deaf, still face a lot of challenges in acquiring an education. Their learning methods are different as compared to hearing people. They use Sign Language (SL) rather than natural language to communicate and learn. They are required to put a lot of effort into learning different concepts using conventional pedagogies. Therefore, there is a dire need for some assistive technology to improve their learn-ability and understandability. In the present study, 192 deaf participants aged 5–10 years were sampled from two special child institutes. The objective of the present study was to determine the effectiveness of a mobile interface through a developed mobile application for learning basic mathematical concepts using Pakistan Sign Language (PSL). The present study bridges the gap between the technology-based method and conventional teaching methods, which are used for teaching mathematical concepts using PSL. The participants were divided into two groups, that is, one group learned through conventional methods (flash cards and board) and the other group through the developed mobile application. The difference in the performance of both the groups was evaluated by conducting quizzes. The quiz results were analyzed by the Z-test and ANOVA. The findings revealed that the Experimental Group (EG) participants, who were instructed by our mobile application showed higher proficiency in the quizzes as compared to the Control Group (CG). EG participants performed better than CG by 12% in the quizzes. A gender based difference was also observed for the quiz scores. Male participants in category C (word problem learning) performed 2.7% better than females in the EG and 2.5% better in the CG. Moreover, a significant difference was also observed in the time taken by participants in both groups to complete the quizzes. CG participants took 20 min longer than EG participants to complete the quizzes. The results of the ANOVA showed that the quiz scores were directly affected by the mode of teaching used for participants in both groups.
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sustainability
Article
Measuring Effectiveness of Mobile Application in
Learning Basic Mathematical Concepts Using Sign
Language
Komal Parvez 1, Muzafar Khan 2, Javed Iqbal 1, Muhammad Tahir 3, Ahmed Alghamdi 3,
Mohammed Alqarni 3, Amer Awad Alzaidi 3and Nadeem Javaid 1,*
1Department of Computer Science, COMSATS University Islamabad, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan;
komal.parvez1@gmail.com (K.P.); javediqbal@comsats.edu.pk (J.I.)
2Department of Engineering, National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan;
muzafarkhan@numl.edu.pk
3College of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Jeddah, Jeddah 23890, Saudi Arabia;
mtyousaf@uj.edu.sa (M.T.); ahmedg@uj.edu.sa (A.A.); maaalqarni8@uj.edu.sa (M.A.);
aalzaidi@uj.edu.sa (A.A.A.)
*Correspondence: nadeemjavaidqau@gmail.com; Tel.: +92-300-5792728
Received: 31 March 2019; Accepted: 16 May 2019; Published: 30 May 2019

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Abstract:
Technology plays an important role in our society, especially in the field of education.
It is quite regrettable that people, particularly the deaf, still face a lot of challenges in acquiring
an education. Their learning methods are different as compared to hearing people. They use Sign
Language (SL) rather than natural language to communicate and learn. They are required to put
a lot of effort into learning different concepts using conventional pedagogies. Therefore, there
is a dire need for some assistive technology to improve their learn-ability and understandability.
In the present study, 192 deaf participants aged 5–10 years were sampled from two special child
institutes. The objective of the present study was to determine the effectiveness of a mobile interface
through a developed mobile application for learning basic mathematical concepts using Pakistan
Sign Language (PSL). The present study bridges the gap between the technology-based method
and conventional teaching methods, which are used for teaching mathematical concepts using PSL.
The participants were divided into two groups, that is, one group learned through conventional
methods (flash cards and board) and the other group through the developed mobile application. The
difference in the performance of both the groups was evaluated by conducting quizzes. The quiz
results were analyzed by the Z-test and ANOVA. The findings revealed that the Experimental Group
(EG) participants, who were instructed by our mobile application showed higher proficiency in the
quizzes as compared to the Control Group (CG). EG participants performed better than CG by 12%
in the quizzes. A gender based difference was also observed for the quiz scores. Male participants in
category C (word problem learning) performed 2.7% better than females in the EG and 2.5% better
in the CG. Moreover, a significant difference was also observed in the time taken by participants in
both groups to complete the quizzes. CG participants took 20 min longer than EG participants to
complete the quizzes. The results of the ANOVA showed that the quiz scores were directly affected
by the mode of teaching used for participants in both groups.
Keywords: deaf; assistive technology; mathematical concepts; learning; Pakistan Sign Language
1. Introduction
Deafness means the inability of a person to completely hear any type of sound [
1
]. According to
the World Health Organization (WHO) report on childhood hearing loss, there are different degrees of
Sustainability 2019,11, 3064; doi:10.3390/su11113064 www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability
Sustainability 2019,11, 3064 2 of 20
hearing loss [
2
]. In case of mild loss, a person face difficulties in hearing soft and distant sounds. If the
loss is profound, a person is unable to hear any sound. Genetics, diseases, ear infection, exposure to
loud noise, and use of some medicine are the major causes of deafness [
3
]. In Pakistan, about 0.48%
of the total population is comprised of disabled people, of which 7.43% are deaf [
4
,
5
]. In daily life,
people interact with each other via language, which serves as a medium of communication. Usually,
communication falls into two categories, namely verbal and non-verbal. Verbal communication has a
well-defined vocabulary and grammatical structure for hearing persons. Non-verbal communication
mainly consists of visual/hand gestures typically used by deaf people. The concept of non-verbal
communication is strongly related to Sign Language (SL). SL is a well-known means of communication
for the deaf and people with hearing difficulty. SL is expressed with hand gestures, facial expressions,
body movements and signs [
6
]. It is worth noting that there is no universal SL and every country has
its own SL. SL varies from one region to another. Until now, about 138 SLs are known [
7
]. Different
countries have developed SLs, for example, American Sign Language (ASL), Malaysian Sign Language
(MSL), and British Sign Language (BSL). Similarly, Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) was developed for
deaf people living in Pakistan [
8
]. The combination of SL with spoken language results in different
signs. For example, English spoken language combines with BSL to form English signs. Similarly,
when Urdu language combines with PSL it forms Urdu signs. Initially, the development of PSL started
at an individual level and was then further extended by various organizations. The first PSL dictionary
provides 750 different words related to different topics [
8
]. Like any other language, PSL has its own
syntax. Figure 1represents some Urdu and English letters in PSL, which are presented differently
as compared to other SLs. Using PSL, deaf people combine their hand gestures, arms and body
movements to express their thoughts and feelings [9].
Figure 1. Few Letters of English and Urdu in Pakistan Sign Language [10].
Students with hearing ability learn by listening to their instructors, verbally giving feedback
and asking questions. The same learning process is different for deaf students [
11
]. They use SL for
learning and performing their day to day activities. Sometimes, they feel it is difficult to express
what they actually want to ask using SL. Over the last forty years, deaf students, as compared to their
hearing peers, have shown poor performance in literacy skills, reading comprehension and academic
achievements in general [
12
]. English literacy of deaf students has a positive correlation with their SL
skills [
13
]. A deaf student has to develop different linguistic mechanisms to become a successful reader
and writer. However, the relationship between poor English literacy and deafness depends upon
various other factors that include language competency, family background (educated or uneducated),
and academic achievements [14].
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1.1. Motivation
Technology plays an important role in our society, especially in the field of education. Therefore,
assistive technologies are widely used to teach deaf. As the use of mobile devices is rapidly growing in
our society, the benefits of their usage for supporting the individual and collaborative learning of deaf
students is also notable [
15
] . One of the main benefit of using assistive technology is that it helps to
provide educational opportunities to the individuals who are struggling with conventional education
methods, especially people with a hearing disability.
1.2. Research Challenges and Contribution
Deaf students confront many challenges in shaping up their linguistics, academics and social life.
A study reports that the performance of deaf students in mathematics lags behind hearing students [
16
].
In learning an arithmetic Word Problem (WP), deaf students take more time than hearing students [
17
].
With increasing complexity of concepts, it becomes difficult for them to grasp the idea accurately
using the conventional methods of teaching. Students with a hearing disability need different learning
methods as compared to hearing students. In general, deaf students use (English and Urdu) SL to
learn and communicate with their teachers and parents. It is easy for them to learn the signs of these
languages at an early age using conventional methods. On the other hand, numbers are not commonly
used in conversation. Moreover, in the context of Pakistan, there is limited work done to teach different
subjects to deaf people particularly mathematics while using PSL. Thus, the support of any tool may
help them to learn basic mathematical concepts and to practice them repeatedly.
The present study addresses the following research question:
“Can technology-based solutions facilitate deaf participants in learning basic
mathematical concepts?”
The contributions of the present study are as follows:
1. To develop a cost effective mobile application for learning mathematical concepts.
2.
To evaluate the effectiveness of a mobile interface in learning basic mathematical concepts
using PSL.
3.
To fill the gap between the technology-based solution and conventional teaching methods that
are used for teaching mathematics based on PSL.
4.
To assist deaf participants to learn the mathematical concepts in an interactive and enjoyable way.
The rest of the paper proceeds with related work discussed in Section 2. Section 3explains the
research methodology of the study. The evaluation of the developed solution and results are presented
in Section 4. Results are discussed in Section 5. Finally, the limitations and future work are discussed
in Section 6.
2. Related Work
Assistive technologies help to provide educational opportunities to deaf individuals who generally
struggle with conventional education methods. The use of mobile devices has considerably grown in
society and is contributing to the individual, as well as collaborative, learning of deaf students [
15
].
Some of the applications that were developed for teaching SL to deaf students are discussed in this
section.
Deaf students are slow learners so there is a need to continuously repeat the concepts that they
learn at school. An MSL-based mobile application was developed to assist the deaf respondent
with learning the basic English alphabet in MSL at both school and home [
18
]. This application
provided the signs, picture and video clips for learning. Sixty-six percent of respondents were satisfied
with the visual content of the application. The memorization and learn-ability of deaf students can
be enhanced by incorporating a feedback process into SL learning applications. Another mobile
application was developed to learn and practice BSL by incorporating a feedback process [
19
]. In this
Sustainability 2019,11, 3064 4 of 20
application, different learning exercises were provided in which Hearing Impaired (HI) learners
physically reproduced the signs and got the feedback of their gestures. Ten participants were selected,
of which 60% had no knowledge of BSL and 40% had limited knowledge. Time to produce the gesture
was also recorded. In the alphabet task, participants took an average of 7.8 seconds. In the number
task they took 4.67 seconds. Another language learning IOS based application, “the Baobab,” was
developed for early deaf and hard of hearing readers to enhance their reading skills in ASL. A focused
group session was arranged in which students watch videos, who tell stories in ASL. After this session,
students had to retold the story and explained the main idea in ASL [20].
The finger spelling and number signing system of Sinhala Sign Language (SSL) was implemented
using a 3D avatar [
21
]. This system converted the Unicode Sinhala text into phonetic English and saved
it in an animation system. These animations helped deaf people to practice and learn SSL. The system
was tested by real users to recognized the sign shown in the sequence. Recognition rate of 85% was
achieved for finger spelling number. A game-based E-learning application, “Sign My World," was
created to helped deaf students to learn Auslan [
22
]. This application focused on the used of video
game principles, context awareness and system personalisation to promoted the learning. During
the game session, participants used laptops to play the game with developer and Auslan interpreter.
Participants’ comments and reactions to different activities were recorded. All the participants enjoyed
the bright color and cartoon like aspects on the interface.
Another game-based gesture recognition application was developed for children to learn in
Lingua Gestual Portuguesa (LGP). The game presented the story to motivate and promote the learning
of LGP. The story consisted of seven keywords, which were highlighted with different colors. The users
had to interpreted the keywords to reach the end of the story. The application was evaluated by
the users in different configurations; standing and sitting. The results indicted better recognition
of keywords with the user in a sitting position [
23
]. Copycat, a video game-based ASL learning
application was developed to make the character performed the actions [
24
]. In this video game, the
children had to collect the items to solve the given problem. The children produced the sign to recuse
the main character in the game. Pre and post-test analysis were performed to evaluated the application.
The result of post-test analysis shown that the application was useful for improving learning ability.
In general, e-learning courseware provides an effective way of teaching. A courseware interface
for HI children was designed [
25
]. Data was collected from teachers and children for designing a new
interactive interface. Different exercises were provided for learning English, Jawi and numbers in
SL. In Saudi Arabia, deaf students faced many challenges in learning Islamic principles and beliefs.
An iOS based application was developed to assist deaf students for learning the basics of Islam in
Arabic SL [
26
]. By using this application, deaf students learned about the rules of ablution and prayers.
A desktop application was developed for HI children to learn PSL [
27
]. This application provided an
opportunity to learn English and Urdu in PSL. It consisted of two learning modes; learning through
an articulator and through SL. It provided the learning of the alphabet, words and sentences in
PSL. Videos based on PSL and lip reading were provided in this application. In Reference [
28
], an
architectural framework based on PSL was proposed using information technology. In this framework,
all the standard gestures and grammatical rules of PSL were presented to convert English/Urdu text
into PSL. This framework helped to identify the important components to develop an application for
the deaf community of Pakistan. It also helped to fill the communication gap between hearing and
deaf people. In Reference [
29
], a historical background was presented for the development of PSL.
The contribution of different organizations to the development of PSL was also discussed in it.
WP in mathematics is an important activity to develop logical thinking in students. A descriptive
study based on structured interviews and observation was conducted to elicit the WP solving
method from students [
30
]. The study identified that counting strategies were used more than
fact-based strategies for solving WPs. The phonological skills related to arithmetic were identified [
31
].
It became evident that deaf students relied more on language processes for solving multiplication-based
questions. In Reference [
32
], a 3D virtual environment was provided to deaf students for learning
Sustainability 2019,11, 3064 5 of 20
basic mathematical concepts. Students put-on LCD active stereoscopic glasses. Students learned the
counting from 1–20 and the basic four arithmetic operation concepts. A GeePerS Math game based
mobile application was developed for deaf students to learn basic mathematics. From interviews, it
was concluded that game-based applications were more helpful and appealing for deaf students to
learn basic arithmetic operations [33].
Balanced Mathematics Instruction (BMI) is one of the notable approaches for deaf students
learning in the classroom without using a mobile application. BMI is based upon the principle that
considers mathematical knowledge as a whole and allows the study of it in various problem cases.
It establishes a balance between the teaching of mathematical skills and the use of mathematics in real
life [
34
]. In study [
35
], the origami technique was used by deaf students to learn different mathematical
concepts in a classroom. Math origami activities involved both mental and physical skills in the
learning process. Deaf students got involved and took more interest in the curriculum by using
origami. Origami activities allow deaf students to develop their own experiential base for different
mathematical skills and to identify geometrics while solving different problems.
A user study [
36
] was conducted to measure the usability of a game based mobile application for
HI children. The developed application was evaluated based on different parameters that include ease
of use, learn-ability, efficiency and user enjoyment. Usability study approaches such as observation,
interview, and applied questionnaires were used based on acceptance test elements. The results
showed that this application was useful and easy for HI children to learn jawi concepts. Another
study [
37
] was performed to find out the usability of User Interface of mobile application for the deaf.
A model was developed based on the usability evaluation model of a mobile application. This model
consisted of six dimensions criteria and metrics to identify the usability issues in a mobile application.
The results of this study showed that the developed model was suitable for evaluating the usability of
mobile applications used by deaf people. Various usability evaluation methods were developed to
improve the interface of mobile devices and applications. However, some of the classical methods did
not perform better when used in the mobile application field. In Reference [
38
], some methodological
variations of classical methods were presented that were used to performed the usability testing of
mobile applications. The study argued for combining the traditional laboratory testing and evaluation
methods to perform the usability testing of mobile devices and applications. A comparison of some
developed applications is represented in Table 1.
In References [
18
,
19
], the learning of alphabet signs was provided in MSL and BSL.
In References [
25
,
27
], applications were developed to assist deaf students to learn alphabets and
numbers. Reference [
21
] only focused on helping deaf students to learn numbers. References [
20
,
22
,
23
]
provided the assistance for improving reading skills and for learning the signs of objects of daily use.
Except for References [
19
,
25
,
27
], no one took feedback from the deaf students. Most of the studies
mentioned in this section replicated learning in ASL, LGP, BSL,and MSL that had signs/symbols
different from that of PSL. Only Reference [
27
] worked on PSL. However, they only focussed on Urdu
and English alphabet learning. Moreover, it is also observed that the approaches and techniques
(conventional teaching methods) [
34
,
35
] that were generally used in classrooms to teach deaf students
were not very effective. Therefore, there is a need to develop an application that provides basic
mathematical concepts learning using PSL.
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Table 1. Comparison of SL Learning Mobile Applications.
Targeted Age
Group
Number of
Participants
SL
Used
Operating
System
Key Features of
Application Purpose of Study Limitation of Study
6–8 [18] 30 MSL Android Storyboarding technique SL learning
The application provides
only the signs of
English alphabets
For all age
groups [19]10 BSL Android Image recognition SL learning Application only limited to
static gestures recognition
3–8 years [20] 10 ASL IOS
Glossary section,
storytelling, Read mode
(book), watch mode (Videos)
Improved reading
skills
Application size is 850 Mb,
which is very large
5–10
years [21]10 SSL Windows Finger spelling animation,
3D Avatar based interpreter
Learning
fingerspelling and
number signs of SSLs
The application does not
provide the fingerspelling
signs of conjunct
7 years [22] 3
Auslan
Android Flash card images,
personalization, Video game
Learn noun and
verbs using SL
Game play time is very short
for the participants
6–10
years [23]7 LGP Windows
Narrated story and keyword
Learn signs of object
of daily life
Only provides static gestures
6–11
years [24]12 ASL Android Six games and SL
recognition system
Assist deaf students
to produce signs
based on
given scenario
Results are not generalizable
7–8 years [25] 6 MSL
E-learning
course-ware
Learning exercises, pictures
of SL and different objects
Learning numbers,
jawi (alif, baa)
and alphabet
Results are not generalizable
7–12
years [26]-
Arabic
SL IOS 3D animation
Learn method of
ablution
(wudu),prayers and
supplication
Application is not evaluated
14–17
years [27]20 PSL Desktop app
Short quizzes, Lip syncing,
Urdu, and English SL
learning videos
Urdu and English
alphabets SL learning
Google speech API limits
user speech to 50 requests
per day
3. Methodology
This section describes the methodology adopted for the study. It includes the study design,
application development, participants, and participants’ assessment.
3.1. Study Design
The study originated from the need to measure the effectiveness of the mobile interface of
a developed mobile application for learning basic mathematical concepts by deaf participants.
The present study was conducted over a period of four weeks. During the first week, deaf participants,
their classrooms and teaching methodology were observed. The second and third weeks encompassed
the participants sampling and their learning through the developed mobile application and via
conventional teaching method(s). During the fourth week, all the selected participants were evaluated
with specially designed quizzes. The present study was conducted during school time with five
working days per week. Both groups learned the mathematical concepts for two hours daily in their
classrooms.
When participants in Experimental Group (EG) started the application, the main homepage
appeared. The participants selected the level (category) from the homepage according to their
age group. After they selected the category, the option to learn by picture or videos popped-up.
Meanwhile, during learning they were able to assess their learn-ability with an Instant Feedback
Module (IFM). Participants responded to different questions related to the concepts learned using
the mobile application in IFM. Instructors helped the participants to use the mobile application.
They instructed the participants in SL about how to move forward, how to select the particular option,
how to start and pause the videos, and how to play the next video. All the participants actively
participated during the study. They followed the instructions of their instructors. After practicing for
one day, all participants were able to operate the mobile application themselves.
Learning Mode (LM) is the way to learn any concept. In the present study, conventional and
application-based learning modes were used for selected participants, which are described below.
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Conventional learning mode
: This learning mode was used for CG participants. The instructor
used the board and flash cards to delivered the mathematical concepts.
Application-based learning mode
: This learning mode was used for the EG participants. All the
participants were given the mobile phone having installed mobile application. The instructors assisted
the participants in using and learning from the mobile application.
In the present study, LM and Category Level (CL) were considered independent variables and the
quiz score was considered a dependent variable. Some variables were considered a control variable for
both the groups. These control variables are defined as follows:
1. Instructor: The same instructors were assigned to both the groups.
2. Learning time: The same time (four weeks) was allocated to both the groups.
3. Mobile phone resolution: The same resolution of mobile phones was used for the present study.
4.
Learning content: The same content (basic mathematical concepts) was taught to all selected
deaf participants.
3.2. Application Development
From the literature, the following requirements were identified for the application development:
1. The application should have a method to take instant feedback from the learner [19].
2.
The interface should have bright colors and cartoon-like aspects to make the application more
attractive [22].
3.
The application should provide a suitable background, font, color, and animated pictures to
motivate the deaf participants. Different practice questions must be provided to increase the
understandability of different concepts [25].
4. The application should provide high quality videos and images [26].
5.
The application should consider screen adaption (landscape and portrait) on different
mobile phones [39].
In the present study, a mobile application was developed for deaf participants by incorporating
the features identified above. The main aim of the developed mobile application was to support
deaf participants with learning basic mathematical concepts [
40
,
41
]. The developed application was
categorized into three levels (referred as category levels) based on the age of the selected participants.
The level of complexity of mathematical concepts increased while moving from level 1 to level 3.
This categorization later on helped us to compare and analyze the participants in the present study. It
also helped us to find out whether the mobile application was effective for the participants of a specific
age group or otherwise appropriate for all age groups.
3.2.1. Features of Application
The application was built using the Android studio as an integrated development environment.
Mobile phones with Android 5.1.1 were used to debug the application. The application was divided
into three levels based on the age group of participants. Each level consisted of pictures of basic
concepts, IFM and learning videos. IFM provided deaf participants with the opportunity to assess
their learning. Participants answered different questions related to the concepts learned using the
application. A “
X
” represented the correct answer and “X” represented the wrong answer. Figure 2
and Figure 3represents a modal practicing question of IFM.
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Figure 2. A Practice Question of Instant Feedback Module.
Figure 3. A Practice Question of Instant Feedback Module.
Our mobile application was developed by following the user interface principles [
42
]. All the
related concepts were unified in one category to ensure a consistent and organized mobile application.
The design of the application was simple and unnecessary information was not incorporated to keep
the participants focused and quickly grasping the concepts. The interface of the mobile application
was user friendly. Participants faced only a little operational difficulty on the first day; on subsequent
days they were capable of handling the application on their own.
3.2.2. First Level (Category A)
At the first level (category A of age group 5–6 years), concepts of counting (1–100) and numbers
were delivered to the participants. In the number concept, they learnt even, odd, natural and whole
numbers using specially designed questions based on PSL, as shown in Figure 4.
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3.2.3. Second Level (Category B)
At the second level (category B of age group 7–8 years), the participants learnt the multiplication
chart [
43
] (ref. Figure 6) and arithmetic operations, that is, addition, subtraction, and multiplication.
The concepts of arithmetic operations were delivered through numbers and objects as presented in
Figure 5. The multiplication chart of three was shown in Figure 6.
Figure 4. Even and Odd Numbers Concept in PSL.
Figure 5. Learn Addition in PSL.
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Figure 6. Multiplication chart of Three in PSL.
3.2.4. Third Level (Category C)
At the third level (category C of age group 9–10 years), WP solving questions were provided along
with some tips in PSL. These tips provided the highlighted objects and numbers in the WP statement to
improve the understandability and scenario building skills of the deaf participants. The WP questions
assisted the deaf participants with understanding and grasping the concepts of the WP.
3.3. Participants
In the present study, participants with profound hearing loss aged 5–10 years were selected.
This age group was chosen based on the fact that mathematics is a fundamental part of childhood
education and the basic mathematical skills and knowledge are applicable in all domains of
education. Mathematical concepts that are learnt at an early age foster a natural curiosity for learning
mathematics [44].
All participants in the present study belonged to two special child education institutes [
45
,
46
]
located in Islamabad, Pakistan. Out of 192 participants, 106 were male and 86 were female. All the
selected participants were divided into two groups; an Experimental Group (EG) and a Control Group
(CG) by random sampling technique.
The selected age group of the participants included grades 1, 2 and 3. All the participants in
grade 1 had no prior knowledge of mathematical concepts. They were beginners with counting
numbers concepts. Grade 2 participants had the concept of counting and number. They learned the
concept of table and arithmetic operations by using the developed mobile application. On the other
hand, grade 3 participants had a basic understanding of numbers, arithmetic operations and tables.
They learned the WP concepts through our mobile application. Participants in the EG were provided
with the mobile devices with the application installed for the present study. The instructors assisted
the participants in learning the concepts using the mobile application. On the other hand, for the CG,
the instructors used the board and flash cards (conventional teaching methods) to deliver the same
concepts. At the end of the fourth week, all the participants were evaluated with valid and reliable
quizzes. The detailed demographics of participants are presented in Table 2.
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Table 2. Participants’ Demographics.
Category Level Total Participants Age Group (Years) Gender (Male and Female)
A 64 5–6 M = 37, F = 27
B 64 7–8 M = 35, F = 29
C 64 9–10 M = 34, F = 30
3.4. Participants’ Assessment
After the passage of the stipulated period (four weeks), three different quizzes based on multiple
choice questions for all three categories of both groups were designed to assess the performance
of participants in both the groups (CG and EG). The structure of these quizzes was based on the
guidelines given in Reference [
47
]. Each quiz consisted of 10 questions carrying the weight of 1 point
for each question, so each quiz had a total of 10 marks. Kuder Richardson 20 (KR20) was used to assess
the reliability and validity of the designed quizzes. The total time spent by each student on attempting
the quiz was recorded.
4. Evaluation and Results
Establishing the criteria to measure the usefulness of the developed mobile application is
important for the evaluation of its effectiveness. The developed mobile application is considered useful
and effective if the “quiz mean score” value of the EG is greater than of the CG. Evaluation criteria and
hypothesis are as follows:
Evaluation Criteria
The developed mobile application helped the EG participants to get better scores in the quiz.
The Hypothesis (H1) is formulated as follows:
-H1a: There is no significant difference in the quiz mean score between EG and CG.
-H1b: There is a significant difference in the quiz mean score between EG and CG.
To determine the interaction effect (difference in quiz mean scores for different combinations of
LM and CL), the Hypothesis (H2) is formulated as follows:
-H2a: There is no interaction between LM and CL.
-H2b: There is an interaction between LM and CL.
In the present study, a Z-test was applied to evaluate the performance of both groups (CG and
EG) and the effectiveness of the interface of the mobile application. A significance level of 5% was
considered.
Hypothesis 1 was tested, EG (M = 8.33), CG (M = 7.11), Z (192) = 1.05555
×
10
7
as presented
in Table 3. The p-value was less than
α
, which showed that the results are statistically significant.
Therefore, H1a was rejected at 5% significance level. So, it can be said that there is a significant
difference in the quiz mean score between EG and CG.
Table 3. Z-test Scores for Control and Experimental Group.
Z-Test Scores Experimental Group Control Group
N (sample size) 96 96
Mean 8.33 7.11
Z 5.31
Z-critical two tail 1.959
P(Zz) two-tail 1.05555×107
Sustainability 2019,11, 3064 12 of 20
A two-way ANOVA was applied to test Hypothesis 2 . Three different assumptions, that are,
normality, outliers, and homogeneity of variance were tested before applying ANOVA. The detailed
results of the ANOVA are presented in Tables 4and 5. All the assumptions along with their results are
tabulated in Tables 68, respectively.
The result of the ANOVA, for Hypothesis 2, F (2, 192) = 0.39, p-value = 0.67 are presented in
Table 4. The p-value is greater than
α
. Therefore, H2a is not rejected at the 5 % significance level.
So, it was concluded that there is no interaction effect between LM and CL. Moreover, in the simple
main effect analysis, p- value = 0.000000 showed that the LM had a significant effect on quiz score as
compared to CL. This showed that the quiz scores were directly affected by the LM that was used for
teaching the participants.
Table 4. ANOVA: Test of Between-Subjects Effects.
Source SS DF MS F p-value
LM 55.25 1 55.25 27.55 0.000
CL 1.21 2 0.60 0.30 0.738
LM x CL 1.57 2 0.78 0.39 0.67
Table 5. Variables and Sample Size.
Variable/Sample Variable Type / Sample Size
Independent variable Learning Mode, Category level, Gender
Dependent variable Quiz scores
Sample size 192
The assumptions were tested using different methods. Shapiro wilk test was used to test normality.
The result in Table 6indicated that the dependent variable was not normally distributed across
different combinations of independent variables. Regression was applied to test the outliers in the
data. The results showed that there were no outliers in the collected data. Moreover, homogeneity
of variance was tested using the levene’s test. In this test, the p-value showed that the population
variances were equal across both the groups (EG, CG). Amongst these three assumptions, assumption 1
(i.e., Normality) failed. In the present study, the sample size was greater than 30. According to central
limit theorem [
48
,
49
], as the size of the sample increases, the distributions of sample mean approach
to normality. Based on these findings, it was worth considering that both the samples in the present
study were normally distributed.
Table 6. Assumption 1: Test for Normality.
Test Used Shapiro-Wilk
CL LM p-Value
A Conventional, Application 0.010, 0.004
B Conventional, Application 0.017, 0.009
C Conventional ,Application 0.019, 0.008
Results CG and EG populations are not normally distributed.
Table 7. Assumption 2: Test for Outliers.
Test Used Mahalanobis Distance Critical Value Results
Regression Maximum: 2.48 0.47, 0.80, 0.47 There are no outliers in collected data.
Sustainability 2019,11, 3064 13 of 20
Table 8. Assumption 3: Homogeneity of Variance.
Test Used p-Value Results
Levene’s test 0.255 p-value > α, so population variances are equal
The average quiz mean score was calculated for all three categories of both groups (EG,CG) as
represented in Figure 7. EG participants scored significantly higher in all three categories as compared
to CG participants. This confirmed that the performance of participants was improved by learning
through the mobile application.
It is worth mentioning that the performance of participants in the EG was also evaluated in
different category levels wherein it was observed that category C participants performed better than
category A and B participants as represented by Figure 8. The average quiz mean scores for both LM
and all CLs (A, B, and C) are summarized in Table 9.
Table 9. Average Quiz Mean Score for Each Category.
Groups A B C Mean
CG 7.15 6.84 7.34 7.11
EG 8.125 8.34 8.53 8.33
Mean 7.64 7.59 7.93 7.72
Figure 7. Comparison of Average Quiz Scores for EG and CG.
Sustainability 2019,11, 3064 14 of 20
Figure 8. Comparison of Average Quiz Scores for EG participants.
The quiz results were also evaluated on the basis of gender. As the findings shown in the Table 10,
the quiz results of males and females in category A and B did not differ significantly. This might
happen because the concepts like counting, tables and arithmetic operations were taught at home as
well as in school at an early age, so that males and females both acquire these skills. On the other hand,
male participants in both groups outperformed the females in category C as shown in Figures 9and 10.
This indicated that male participants possessed greater problem solving abilities than the females.
Table 10. Gender Based Comparison of Average Quiz Score in All Categories of Both EG and CG.
Groups Gender Categories Mean Value Standard Deviation
EG
Males Category A 8.21 ±1.32
Category B 8.35 ±1.21
Category C 8.53 ±1.05
Females Category A 8.12 ±1.31
Category B 8.38 ±1.37
Category C 8.31 ±1.37
CG
Males Category A 7.11 ±1.65
Category B 7.3 ±1.41
Category C 7.8 ±1.65
Females Category A 7.06 ±0.33
Category B 7.26 ±1.43
Category C 7.64 ±1.82
Sustainability 2019,11, 3064 15 of 20
Figure 9. Gender Based Comparison in EG at Different Category Levels.
Figure 10. Gender Based Comparison in CG at Different Category Levels.
The result of KR20 (R = 0.77) showed that all the designed quizzes were reliable and valid.
The quiz for both groups started at the same time. The completion time for each participant was
recorded. A statistically significant difference was observed in the quiz completion time by both
groups. Figure 11 represents the time taken by each participant to complete the quizzes in both
groups. In Figure 12, a swarm plot represents the average time taken by the participants of both
groups to complete the quizzes. In the CG, on average, the participants took 50 min to complete the
quizzes. On the other hand, the EG participants took an average of 30 min to complete the quizzes.
The participants of the CG took more time to attempt the quizzes because they were unable to recognize
and remember the signs learned through flash cards and board.
Sustainability 2019,11, 3064 16 of 20
Figure 11. Time to Attempt the Quiz by Each Participants.
Figure 12. Average Quiz Completion Time.
5. Discussion
The conclusion based upon the recorded observations and quiz results analysis shows that both
groups of participants really enjoyed the study. The EG participants were especially fascinated by the
features of the mobile application. They liked the background, foreground colors, font, arithmetic
operation videos and pictures of different concepts. They easily navigated from one screen to another.
They were satisfied with the visual content as signs were clear and easy to read. The participants
responded that the mobile application provided the best medium to ensure the convenient, dynamic,
and tacit learning of mathematical concepts. Moreover, the participants recommended adding more
videos to the mobile application.
The findings of the present study authenticated that the use of the mobile application supported
the learn-ability of deaf participants. They can effectively understand the concepts as validated by
the results of quiz. It was observed that mobile application motivated the participants for learning as
compared to the conventional methods. It was also observed during the present study that participants
Sustainability 2019,11, 3064 17 of 20
in the CG did not properly concentrate on the concepts delivered using the conventional methods
which is why they experienced difficulty in remembering the concepts and recognizing the signs
during quizzes.
Gender based comparison showed that male participants in both the groups possessed a higher
ability for problem solving. These results are also supported by References [
50
,
51
], which concluded
that males are more capable of problem solving and responding to numerical based questions.
An ANOVA was applied to identify the interaction effect of CL and LM on their quiz scores.
The results confirmed that the interaction of two independent variables, that is, CL and LM, had no
significant effect on the quiz scores. Quiz scores were only affected by the LM.
Classroom environment, SL pictures, body movements, teachers’ attention to the SL communication
of participants, and deaf participants’ mood were important factors for improving the learn-ability of deaf
participants [
52
]. It became evident that assistive technologies must be adopted to improve the academic
performance of deaf participants in addition to the above-mentioned factors [
53
,
54
]. The present study
also provided evidence that technology improved the learning of a particular class of participants.
6. Conclusions and Future work
The number of mobile devices and their use in educational and personal learning is growing
tremendously. The integration of technology in education brings a positive change to the teaching
and learning process. It has become quite easy for instructors to teach the deaf by using the mobile
application. Moreover, it enhances the learning skills of the deaf.
The main objective of the present study was to evaluated the effectiveness of a mobile application
interface in learning basic mathematical concepts using PSL. A user study was conducted on deaf
participants of aged (5–10) years.
The results of the present study showed better performance of participants (Experimental Group)
who used the mobile application for learning. The quiz mean score of these participants was 12%
greater than that of the other participants (Control Group) who were taught using conventional
methods. Moreover, a significant difference was observed in quiz results based on gender. In both
groups, male participants performed better in category C as compared to females. A difference in
time was also observed for both groups to complete the quizzes. CG participants took 20 min more to
complete the quiz. It may be concluded that the learning of deaf participants was improved by the use
of mobile applications.
However, there are still some measures to be considered for future purposes. In the future, we will
work on the learn-ability of higher level complex mathematical concepts. The concepts of algebra and
geometry will be undertaken by the mobile application. Moreover, the sample size will be increased to
ensure external validity and generalizability of the present study.
Author Contributions:
K.P. and M.K. designed and conducted the study. J.I. and M.T. contributed in the
methodology. A.A., M.A. and A.A.A. were responsible for data analysis and visualization. K.P. wrote the initial
draft. N.J. made great contribution in manuscript revision and editing. All the authors read and approved the
paper.
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution
(CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
... This is to show that, the instructional strategy will be of immense benefit to all learners not minding gender disparity. Besides, Parvez, et al. (2019) stated that, while studying the effectiveness of Mobile Application in Learning Basic Mathematical concepts using sign language reported a better performance in male participants above their female counterparts. ...
... The result revealed that, there was increase interest in daily studies and improves communications between learners and teachers. Furthermore, the results of the study was also in line with Parvez, et al. (2019) that, conducted a study that require technology-based intervention to enhance teaching Mathematical concepts using Pakistan Sign Language (PSL). The researchers reported that Experimental Group (EG) participants, who were instructed by our mobile application, showed higher proficiency in the quizzes as compared to the Control Group (CG). ...
... Also, Appiah (2015) reported that, there was no difference in the performance of male and female participants as a result of using gamification strategy to improve Mathematics of pupils. However, this finding varied with the observation of Parvez, et al. (2019) while using technology-based intervention to enhance teaching Mathematics concepts. It was reported that there was gender based difference in quiz scores. ...
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There had been consistent concern and reports on the low achievement of learners with hearing impairment in mathematics with mixed observations about the ability and influence of learning environment of learners with hearing impairment. However, there are consensus that impactful teaching effort could aid in stimulating innovative approaches in teaching and learning of mathematics of learners particularly among learners with hearing impairment. This study seeks to appraise the impact of gamification and experiential learning on achievement in mathematics among learners with hearing impairment in Lagos State, Nigeria. The study population comprised learners with hearing impairment in Lagos State. Purposive and simple random sampling were used to select sample of 24 learners. The research design used was quasi-experimental pretest posttest control group. Mathematics Knowledge Check (MKC) was used to collect data and the data collected were analyzed using mean, standard deviation, mean difference and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). The hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. The study found out that achievement in Mathematics improves as a result of exposing learners with hearing impairment to gamification and experiential methods of instruction. Besides, the study observed that the two interventions were of benefit to male and female learners with hearing impairment. The employment of gamification and experiential instructional strategy was recommended for mathematics lessons of learners with hearing impairment. Keywords: Achievement in Mathematics; Experiential Learning; Gamification; Learners with Hearing Impairment
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... We identified three studies that tested mobile apps to teach maths using sign language to learners in Pakistan, Thailand, Namibia and Kenya. Parvez et al. (2019) studied how a mobile app is using Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) to teach maths to 192 deaf participants aged 5-10 years at two special schools in Islamabad, Pakistan. Results showed better performance of participants who used the mobile apps when learning basic mathematical concepts. ...
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Por otra parte, el sitio es colaborativo ya que las personas Sordas y no Sordas pueden colaborar agregando su conocimiento sobre LSM. Con esta propuesta, se pretende generar un repositorio de contenido audiovisual que permita explotar otros aspectos de la comunicación, como la conversión de videos con señas a texto o sonido, pudiendo ser en videos grabados u en tiempo real a través de dispositivos móviles. Palabras clave-Lenguaje de Señas Mexicano, LSM, Persona Sorda, Sistema colaborativo. Abstract The Mexican Sign Language (LSM) has allowed communication between Deaf and non-Deaf people; however, the study of this language can bring some complications given its visual format. Although there are books that represent signs on paper, there is no better learning than when the sign is recorded on video and the movement and joints can be visualized in three dimensions. There are video repositories on the internet to search for signs or phrases, however, this information is disjointed, or the sites specialized in these topics have very few videos, in both cases, the search for signs and learning LSM becomes complicated. For this situation, a Collaborative Web System is proposed that allows searching for signs with text inputs and finding representative videos of the search. In this way, the research supports people to establish communication with Deaf people. Furthermore, the site is collaborative as Deaf and non-Deaf people can collaborate by adding their knowledge about LSM. With this proposal, it is intended to generate a repository of audiovisual content that allows to exploit other aspects of communication, such as the conversion of videos with signs to text or sound, which can be in recorded videos or in real time through mobile devices. 1. INTRODUCCIÓN La comunicación por medio de un lenguaje común es una característica inherente de la vida diaria del ser humano, sin embargo, existen personas que sufren de algún tipo de discapacidad que les impide comunicarse, lo cual repercute en su calidad de vida [1]. De acuerdo con la Organización Mundial de la Salud y sus estadísticas del 2020, más de 1000 millones de personas en el mundo cuentan con alguna discapacidad, esto equivale al 15% de la población e implica que estas personas tienen dificultades para sobrellevar su vida y con frecuencia necesitan apoyo. En México, de acuerdo con el Censo de Población y Vivienda 2020, hay más de 20 millones de personas que cuentan con alguna discapacidad [2]. De acuerdo a [2], una persona tiene discapacidad si tiene problemas para llevar a cabo sus actividades cotidianas, considerando capacidades físicas como: ver, oír, caminar, recordar o concentrarse, realizar su cuidado personal y comunicarse. Este proyecto de investigación se enfoca en la específicamente en la discapacidad auditiva. La discapacidad auditiva incluye a las personas que no escuchan o tienen problemas para escuchar en uno o ambos oídos. En México, existen 5,104,664 personas con dificultades para escuchar y 2,234,303 con problemas para hablar o comunicarse. En este aspecto, muchas personas coinciden con ambas discapacidades. A las personas con discapacidad auditiva se les llama Sordos o Sordas. Las personas Sordas, al carecer del sentido del oído, se comunican a través de señas, por lo que surge el lenguaje de señas. El lenguaje de señas se define como la lengua natural de expresión y configuración gesto-espacial y percepción visual, de esta manera, los sordos pueden comunicarse con su entorno social [3]. Así como muchos países cuentan con un idioma de comunicación diferente (inglés, español, portugués, francés etc.), el lenguaje de señas también varía de acuerdo a cada país. Existe el Lenguaje de Señas Americano (U.S.A), el Lenguaje de Señas Británico (Inglaterra), el Lenguaje de Señas de Pakistán, entre una variedad de lenguajes diferentes [4]. En México, existe el Lenguaje de Señas Mexicano (LSM), el cual tiene ligeras variaciones de acuerdo con la zona del país donde se emplee. El LSM es tan rico y complejo en gramática y vocabulario como cualquier lengua oral [5]. A pesar de la inclusión de la que se habla desde hace varias décadas, las personas Sordas presentan una serie de conflictos al relacionarse con la sociedad no Sorda. Una de las principales dificultades que tienen las personas Sordas es
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... getting feedback, which has given rise to many sign recognition systems [6], providing opportunities for users to learn sign language faster and easier. In [7], Parvez state that developing communication or linguistic skills can be challenged when the individual are not comfortable with conventional education method. Therefore, it is important to integrate technology into education to make learning experience better. ...
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... The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of the mobile interface through an advanced mobile application to learn basic mathematical concepts using Pakistan sign language (PSL). This study bridges the gap between technology-based and traditional teaching methods, which are used to teach mathematical concepts using PSL [13]. ...
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