Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith joined Education Minister Martin Dixon today to announce the launch of a new mobile app which will enable Victorian deaf and hearing impaired children to enjoy and learn about the animals at Werribee Open Range Zoo.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is pleased to have invested $40,000 in this world-first technology through the Victorian Deaf Education Institute,” Mr Smith said.
“The OpenMi Excursions App will display audio tours to students with captions as well as Australian sign language, or Auslan, videos.
“The new app will mean these children can experience all the wonders of the Zoo alongside their classmates.”
Mr Smith said that together Werribee Open Range Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Melbourne Zoo welcomed more than 150,000 students each year to engage in learning.
“This makes Zoos Victoria one of the biggest educators of our children outside of the school system,” Mr Smith said.
“So it’s really important that this education is inclusive and available for all students and that’s at we’re working towards. Also, OpenMi can be used for any visitor to the zoo as well as students and their teachers.”
“I encourage all Victorian families to get out and experience one of our three exciting zoos and take advantage of the free entry on offer for all children under 16 during weekends and school holidays,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Dixon said the launch marked the first time that Australian deaf and hearing impaired children would have the opportunity to experience excursions in Auslan.
“It is really important for these students to be able to follow context, background and storytelling associated with unique experiences during excursions,” Mr Dixon said.
The technology has been installed at eight exhibits around the Zoo and provides students with extensive information on each of the animals.
It will also help students to learn on the Safari Tour bus trip which is included with admission to Werribee Open Range Zoo.
Media contact: Emily Broadbent 0400 390 008