University sign language project awarded top prize

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A SIGN language project has been awarded a top prize at the British Council’s eTwinning Awards Ceremony.

Named as project of the year, the University of Dundee’s project was honoured after using Makaton signs and music to bring children together throughout lockdown.

Children and teachers from more than 30 countries have taken part in the Hands of the World project.

Hands of the World has brought together learners of all ages and student teachers in schools from across the globe.

Classes of pupils sing along to popular songs while using Makaton hand signals, with the resulting video clips edited together and shared on YouTube.

The videos have amassed thousands of views, with pupils from countries such as Canada, China, Israel, Lebanon and the United States.

Sharon Tonner-Saunders , a lecturer in the University’s School of Education and Social Work, came up with Hands of the World project.

Sharon Tonner-Saunders, from The University of Dundee - Research News Scotland
Sharon Tonner-Saunders a lecturer in the University’s School of Education and Social Work and creator of the project

Ms Tonner-Saunders said:“The popularity of Hands of the World has been incredible,”  “When it started I never thought that it would travel as far as it has.

“This year has emphasised just how important a sense of community is. Everyone involved in this project has overcome many challenges and barriers to create something that is inclusive and yet celebrates the differences in identities and cultures.

“To be recognised by the British Council is a tremendous honour and a fantastic achievement for all involved.”

Karen Cleland from the British Council, said, “Hands of the World has motivated connection and community spirit across multiple countries throughout lockdown.

“The project is truly innovative, inclusive and exemplifies the collaboration which the British Council schools ambassador network supports to drive education forward on a global scale.”