A good idea
Talk Town started out as a class assignment in the Master of Audiology degree at the University of Canterbury - where it received full marks and will be used for future teaching. Talk Town was supported by the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship, and won their business Bootcamp competition. Presentations on Talk Town were delivered at NZ Tech Week events, and Talk Town featured in UC print and media campaigns. Talk Town then went on to win first prize in the 2017 Entre $85k Start-Up competition.
Talk Town is collaborating with van Asch Deaf Education Center, and has run workshops to gain the input of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students. They have given us great feedback on our demo, and are keen to see the final version. We also took our prototype to the Deaf Children NZ Camp and gained great feedback from deaf kids and their siblings.
Making it happen
We've received funding from the National Foundation of the Deaf to illustrate our prototype. Talk Town won the inaugural Social Enterprise category at the Webstock BNZ Start-Up Alley. We recently received funding from the Christchurch City Council to release our first full version of the game. Talk Town is now available for tablets and computers on Google Play and the App Store. We continue to keep deaf students' needs at the heart of everything we do. It's all go!
We want to make Talk Town available to as many deaf kids as possible. This means expanding to other countries, and exploring ways to make it cheaper for users to access. We also need to explore ways to make the content more accessible, and look forward to making a NZSL version in the near future. We aim to make a two-player version to support empathy and theory of mind development in deaf users and their hearing peers.