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29 August 2013

On Wednesday 28 August, Werribee Open Range Zoo marked Hearing Awareness Week with free entry, for deaf and hard of hearing students from around Victoria sponsored by the Victorian Deaf Education Institute.

Primary and secondary students from Sunshine Secondary College, Furlong Park School for Deaf Children, Mt View Primary School, Charles Latrobe P-12 College and the Victorian College for the Deaf were able to learn about the animals at the zoo, using the OpenMi-Excursions App built specifically for the Zoo.

This smartphone application enriches the zoo experience by providing Auslan sign language, text captions and quizzes for students with hearing loss. 

During the day students enjoyed special keeper talks with servals and the gorillas, saw mixed herds of rhino, giraffe and zebra on a Safari Tour and explored the Pula walking trail, spotting cheetah, lions and hippos. One lucky student from Charles Latrobe P-12 College even got to meet an Eastern Barred Bandicoot!

OpenMi also has a broader application beyond school groups with general visitors able to download the free public OpenMi Tours App to access video content with captions, audio and Australian Sign Language while onsite.

OpenMi Excursions was developed by the Australian Communication Exchange in partnership with the Victorian Deaf Education Institute (part of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development) and Werribee Open Range Zoo to create accessible learning for deaf and hard of hearing students.

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