Technology In Deaf Education


Genius Hour Project 1

Deaf education is something that holds very dear to my heart. I have taken all 3 levels of American Sign Language. This is very relevant to me because my best friend has two deaf sisters in which I have not been able to communicate with previously. Deaf children struggle at a very young age to get the resources they need for a high education within public schools. While deaf schools are available, many times the parents want to keep their children integrated with hearing students. This is something that is very interesting to me, and I am curious to how deaf students adapt in hearing schools, and which type of technologies are available in order to help them receive an equal education.

This is very relevant in a k12 education because deaf children can be present in a school at anytime. While cochlear implants are an option, many times families cannot afford this or choose not to use this method for hearing. I believe there has to be technology other than a cochlear implant that would allow a deaf student to be placed in a hearing classroom with out a translator present. This is something I intend to research, and is important for all teachers to understand because this event is very while possible.

I believe technology is advanced enough today that deaf children can be placed in hearing schools with out any difficulty adjusting. Presentation is a key aspect of UDL and I believe a form of technology can allow the students to easily adapt. Based on my best friends testimonies, deaf children find it hard to adapt to the culture of hearing students. This language barrier is a major setback to full integration with the hearing and deaf culture. Technology can resolve this issue and I intend to research issues to find out ways to resolve it!

Genius Hour Project 2

Doing the Genius Hour projects is extremely interesting and I have learned a lot! I found that a classmate, Sheila Donovan and I have similar projects. Sheila is doing how technology transcending conventional teaching methods. This sounds awesome. It is crazy how much technology can enhance a students education whether disabilities are involved or not. I am so thankful that technology can help the children who have disabilities. Cochlear implants have been created allowing deaf children to hear. This allows the deaf children to integrate themselves into abnormal environment if that is what he or she would like to do.

Macey Kessler from our class also had a similar project to mine! Macey’s topic is technology for the visually impaired or blind students. This very closely relates to my genius hour project. It is awesome to know other students are interested in similar topics. I had considered doing this topic before I found that deaf education was more relatable to my life. I am excited to see her findings for the project!

One major thing I noticed on twitter when education was involved is a minuscule, but very influential quality. Positivity. ALL educators I have followed on twitter, no matter the subject, have been positive and attempting to reach a common goal which is positively influencing children. This is such a great thing to see!

The online chat was very exciting! I was able to interact with other educators about the topic, “What is a reasonable plan for determining the PD each educator should be required to take?” This was a very intestine discussion. Most people agreed that teachers should base their PD styles off of their own individual styles and then base it off of those. One man mentioned that students should have their own PD style and teachers should guide them. I thought this was also a great idea! I look forward to engaging in more chats. I was able to really get a lot of different perspectives although it was a little hard to keep up on such a large chat. #edchat

Genius Hour Project 3

Thinking about how students with disabilities are effected in the classroom really came to light when I become close with my now best friend, Karly. She has two deaf sisters who both have cochlear implants, as well as read lips to communicate. The first thought that came to my mine was, “That has got to be a daily challenge!” This is what persuaded me to learn more about the deaf culture where I have no completed three levels of American Sign Language at UGA. After researching, I cam to find there are a variety of technological assistance to help deaf students participate in a hearing classroom.

According to an article by Stacie Heckendorf, the different forms of technology deaf people have access to can be divided into three groups being hearing technology, alerting devices, and communication support. She describes these different technologies as a way for a deaf student to have accessibility in the classroom as equally as hearing children. Like all students, each deaf students needs differ which allows for an array of different forms of technologies needed to each deaf child. This is something I had not yet thought about. Some students may be deaf in just one ear or may not be completely deaf allowing them to participate more or less depending on the severity of their disability. Heckendorf goes on to describe how most classrooms allow technology such as computers and live television which is specifically positive for deaf students along with all other students.

Technology for deaf students is being revised and new technologies are appearing each day. In an article be Leanne Seaver, a new form of technology is being brought to schools called Computer Assisted Note taking or CAN. This is a real time captioning system allowing deaf or herd of hearing students to sit anywhere in the classroom and be fully aware of each word the teacher says. CAN is a system that reads what the teacher is saying and produces it in front of a screen for the child to read. While I believe this may have some negative consequences such as always looking down at a screen, this could be a great feature for deaf students particularly in large lecture halls. It is great to see new technologies improving and being created.

Genius Hour Project 4

For the fourth project I decided to interview my best friends sister whom is deaf. Her name is Katie and she is also a graduate from UGA! Katie currently is working at at deaf education school in Atlanta, GA where she uses American Sign Language as her primary and only for of communication. Although many students attending the school are only hard of hearing meaning they can partially hear, Katie still is not able to speak with the students. Katie has been deaf since she was born. She is one of four children and of them her and the youngest are both deaf while the two middle children are hearing. This was very shocking to me! At age five, Katie’s parents and her decided it would be best for her to have a cochlear implant allowing her to partially hear sound. Katie was able to attend a normal high school and college where she used many techniques she learned through her speech therapist to keep up. While Katie and I communicated we would speak and sign depending on the level of conversation.

The first question I asked Katie was, “What types of technology has helped you in your life to help you hear as well as has there been any advancements in technology in the span of your life?”

Katie began by explaining her cochlear implant is the most beneficial technological advancement she has seen for the deaf culture. This sends a message to the brain allowing deaf people to hear. She believes this was extremely helpful to allowing her to live the most normal life possible. Katie group up not knowing any sign language to communicate. It was not until college that she learned sign language. She used her cochlear implant and lip reading skills as her sole form of communication up until college! This was also very interesting to me. Another major technological advancement Katie uses is a bed frame that shakes in order for her to wake up. This was something I would have never thought of. Hearing people use an alarm to wake up, but what if you can’t hear it? She says this has helped her a lot, but it is not the best option for her. She says this often times breaks, or she gets used to the shaking and does not wake up. I explained to her this would be very cool to think of how to better this option!

The second question I asked Katie was “What forms of technology are used in the classroom to better deaf students education?”

Katie explained that at times this is a struggle at their school. They do not have that many technological advancements in their school to help the children. Like I stated previously, their many form of communication is sign language. She is a history teacher so she says that many times she will show images on the screen to help the children visualize what was happening during that time. While Sign Language is becoming more and more advanced, it is still hard to describe many things in extreme detail with the language. Many times when doing a project or needing to watch a video the students are given closed captioning on the screens! This is a readily available tool at the school so the students are able to watch any video necessary.

One random fact Katie told me was the deaf people are still very into music. I did not understand this but she explained that deaf students will turn up the base so that they can feel the beat to a song. This allows students to feel the rhythm to the song and dance. AWESOME!

Genius Hour Project 5

The National Association for the Deaf or NAD is an association whose main goal is to find and develop new technologies to be readily available for the deaf. This organization firmly believes that in the past the deaf culture was looked over by most, but as time goes on this is changing. Their website describes how many technologies are readily available for the deaf such as assistive listening technologies, captioning applications, relay services that provide access to phone networks, etc. While they are happy that technology has advanced for the deaf, they want more. Their goal is to find a cure for communication barriers for the deaf. I found this website to be extremely happy because it answered one of my previous questions, “Is deaf technology advancing?” It is awesome to see that there is one association who makes this their primary goal. With technology on the rise I believe there will be advancements in no time!

In TIME magazine, I found a very cool article describing a technology that is described as “could change the way deaf people live”. This automatically caught my attention. A man named Ryan Hait-Campbell is the CEO of a company called MotionSavvy. The technology he and his staff created is called Uni. This product uses motion savvy technology in order to interpret between a person who is deaf and can only sign and a person whom is not deaf and can only speak. The software of Uni detects what the signer is saying and the software interprets it for the hearing person as well as vice versa! This would be extremely beneficial to the deaf community allowing them to have a large opening of applicable jobs, in education, etc. This was also a great article to answering my question of how technology is advancing for the deaf culture.

I also found a website whose main focus was how technology is used in a deaf persons life. One major aspect the website focused on was how deaf people rely on texting and instant messaging as a sole for of communication with family and friends they are not with. This is one aspect I would have never pondered upon because I take this for granted each day. Whenever I need to get in contact with family or friends quickly I just pick up the phone and call then. Unfortunately, for the deaf culture this is impossible. While I think it is great that the deaf culture have texting and instant messaging to easily communicate with others, this can be slow many times. I also thought it was interesting because the website describes how many people of the deaf culture are not accepting of technology to help them communicate. They want to focus solely on the use of American Sign Language. While this is cool, I believe this is very hard in today society. Personally, I found texting very useful while taking American Sign Language because when I was not able to sign to my teacher, I would type it on a text and she would respond back in the same form!

Genius Hour Project 6

For the methods of presentation I would choose to do either a web page or a newsletter. I believe this would be a very simple way to lay out all of the information we have found for others to read!

For the grading rubric I found this online! I believe this would hit all of the key components to how I would want to be graded for the genius project! Each aspect has a total of 20 points adding up to 100. I do believe that creativity, organization, and presentation are the most important for this project! Here is a link to the rubric!

Genius Hour Project 7 (Final)

This project has been very influential in expanding my knowledge of how technology plays a role in deaf education. I have found that there are many forms technologies readily available for deaf students such cochlear implant and subtitles provided during movies and videos. One question I had pondered upon before researching was whether technology was advancing for deaf students or whether it was at a stand still. After my interview with Katie along with the TIME article I blogged about, I found technologies are very much advancing. The TIME article describing the motion savvy technology called UNI was amazing to me! If a program was able to translate hand signs into words and vice versa, deaf education would advance drastically! While this is still a new and advancing program, I look forward and hope it may one day be implemented into schools with deaf children. Communication is a key factor for a successful education and this would provide a easy and efficient way for this to occur! I believe it would be beneficial to share my findings about the different forms of technology and programs I researched. This would give a fellow student or teacher the ability to better understand the current educational situation for deaf students.

I believe there are many aspects I still have to learn about technology and deaf education. One aspect I did not research were the types of technologies that have been used in schools, and failed to be effective. This is important to know when advancing technology because you do not want to repeat a failed program. Also, I did not research the costs of placing these technologies in schools. I also believe this is important to know when attempting to implement these forms of technology into schools. Unfortunately with todays economy, it would be hard to place these technologies into schools with only one or two deaf children. I also believe it would of been beneficial to my research if I were to research different organizations and ways of funding to help deaf children be successful in a hearing school! Fundraisers would be a great step towards helping funds for this specific disability.

If a student was to continue my research I would recommend researching more about the costs of deaf technology, the statistics of deaf children in hearing schools, failed programs that were implemented in schools for deaf children, and even more advancements of the technologies we have today! All of these topics are important when understanding how and why technology plays a role in education at all levels. I believe these topics all connect in one way or another. Being deaf may be a set back at times, but overall there are many opportunities allowing them to have a normal education in a hearing school! Katie, the friend I interviewed, has dealt with this disability her whole life and overcame this obstacle because of the technological advancements we have today. Now, Katie continues to use technology in her very own classroom to better the education of her deaf students. It is amazing to see how the research I found is being put to use each and every day she teaches.