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Alexey Prikhodko, "Mathematics in Silence"

Preparing deaf high school graduates for successful completion of the Unified State Exam (EGE) in mathematics

The area of interest for Alexey Prikhodko, a graduate student at the Faculty of Automation and Computer Engineering at Novosibirsk State Technical University, is gesture recognition using artificial intelligence. Alexey has been deaf since birth, and he communicates using Russian Sign Language. His current dream, or rather, goal, is to create an automatic online translator for Russian Sign Language to expand the communication abilities of deaf individuals. 

Alexey demonstrated mathematical abilities back in school, participating in competitions and Olympiads, always ranking at the top. Hailing from the Krasnoyarsk region, he came to study in Novosibirsk, first enrolling in a college and later at the university. While his education in college and during his bachelor's degree was facilitated through the use of sign language interpreters, there was no Sign Language interpreter available during his master's degree. Alexey had to put in much more effort to keep up with his hearing classmates.

When he learned about the Vladimir Potanin Foundation Fellowship Program in 2014, the future programmer was skeptical about whether he could compete. Alexey's native language is not Russian but Russian Sign Language. Therefore, he tried to write his thoughts in the application essay and asked his academic advisor and the Sign Language interpreter to review the text. He then submitted the application, received an invitation to the second in-person tour in Tomsk... and lost.

This loss became a significant learning experience for Alexey. For several months, he thought, analyzed his defeat, and talked to the fellows from his university. The following year, he applied again and made it to the in-person tour, where he successfully completed all the tasks in the competition. He particularly liked the "elevator pitch" game, where he had one minute to describe the essence of his project to a potential investor. Alexey said, "I am deaf, but I actually have a mobile application for speech to text and text to speech recognition. With this technology, I can help millions of deaf people in the world to be heard. If you support me, I promise you this."

Alexey never fully believed he could become a fellow. When he saw his name on the list of winners, it truly inspired him. Currently, he is searching for an investor and diligently working on a program that can provide real-time voiceovers for sign language.

At the Foundation School, Alexey won a competition for socially significant projects with his project "Mathematics in Silence." The project aimed to prepare deaf high school graduates for successful completion of the Unified State Exam (EGE) in mathematics using an interactive online course. The challenge was that students with hearing impairments had limited options for selecting specialties due to a lack of basic school knowledge. Existing online courses were not adapted for use by deaf people: video trainings, conferences, and Skype consultations were not accompanied by translations into Russian Sign Language, and text-based preparatory courses were inconvenient because written Russian is essentially a foreign language for deaf people.

The "Mathematics in Silence" project is interesting because it involved representatives from five universities, including Novosibirsk State Technical University, Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radioelectronics, Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tula State University, and Southwest State University (Kursk).

The project's implementation was challenging. Alexey played the role of the expert in Russian Sign Language. It was not easy to  translate mathematical terms into Russian Sign Language. However, as a result, a free platform was created on the TUSUR website. Alexey enthusiastically recommends the math course to anyone who needs it.

This video provides instructions on how to register for the "Mathematics in Silence" course: Link to the YouTube video.

Other practices

Svetlana Yushkova, "Path of Possibilities"
Natalia Loimoeva, "Comprehensive Center for Social Services of the Republic of Karelia"
Natalia Belyaeva, "Communication Space"