Children who are deaf or hard of hearing face many obstacles when passing through the Australian education system. As schools devote costly, specialized resources to help teachers, students still face a continual, uphill struggle to keep up with their friends in literacy and learning.
However, the results of a pilot scheme conducted across NSW and Victorian schools challenges this paradigm. Ai-Media, an established company that made its name providing closed captioning to Foxtel channels, has pioneered Ai-Live, a real time, speech-to-text platform that equalizes the classroom environment for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Across NSW and Victoria, schools trialled the Ai-Live platform and over 30 students experienced immediate benefits. “In one school, a 14 year old girl who had struggled with conventional teaching approaches went from bottom of the class to leading her class in ten weeks,” explained Tony Abrahams, CEO of Ai-Media, recounting the positive real life result of his company’s efforts. “The use of audio/visual aids in learning has been proven to improve knowledge acquisition and retention from 20% to 80% and this is evident in the subjects of the pilot test”.
The effectiveness of Ai-Live was evident to teachers as they used it first hand. “As well as providing access for the students, the transcripts were a great resource for the teachers. Ai-Live provided a mirror to their delivery allowing them to self-assess their performance, refine their style and provide improved outcomes for students,” said Mr Abrahams.
The success of the main pilot conducted over 18 months across a number of schools facilitated by the Victorian Deaf Education Institute, a part of the Victorian Government’s education department, has led to the service being expanded in Victoria, and New South Wales.
The positive outcomes that Ai-Live deliver have worldwide potential reinforced by Ai-Media’s distribution agreement secured with Microlink, UK’s largest independent supplier of assistive technology solutions for the disability sector. “This is another significant milestone for the company. Together with our $2M Commercialisation Australia grant, these results validate the company’s $13M investment in the technology to date”.
The company’s capital raising, as featured on Wholesale Investor, will fund the UK expansion ensuring Ai-Media’s unique solution can soon help students and teachers worldwide.