Sunday, February 24, 2013

Project #10

Searching For A New Technology

searching for answers

When beginning this project, I had no idea where to even start. There have been so many things that I have learned through this class alone which I never knew existed beforehand. My first thought was that I want to teach the deaf, so there is a undoubtedly TON of information and technology that I don’t know about and will have to learn at some point. It was just a matter of how was I going to find these discoveries? Naturally I turned to Google first. I simply googled “technology to use in a deaf classroom.” Instantaneously there were more than four million pages of things I never would have known how to find otherwise. (Technology and the internet still amaze me!)

The first page took me to a really interesting article Accessibility - Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART). CART is a tool which can “caption” anything being said for a deaf or hard of hearing person to read in real time. The captioning can be displayed onto little screens, for personal or small group use. It also can be shown on larger screens for an entire room to see, on a giant screen for big events, on the internet, or even broadcasted via satellite. CART was provided for the author of this article at a conference so that although she was deaf, she could be an active participant in the workshops.

The way that CART works, is as the words are being said, they are also being typed into a stenotype machine using shorthand the machine can decipher. The software translates the shorthand into words and the “captions” appear on the screen almost instantly. The author writes, “The process is so fast that there is hardly any lag time between what is said and what the deaf person is able to read.” Wireless CART services are provided through equipment called a StenoCast X7. The CART reporter’s computer is attached directly to the X7 device. Then there are small receivers which are plugged into the laptops or computers of the students. The students can now sit anywhere up to 300 feet away from the reporter and still receive the “captions.”

CART services are not difficult to get hold of. Some companies offer services locally and nationally. It is also possible to become a CART Services provider. Many of the reporters begin by developing court reporting skills, because the skills used for CART are very similar. This sounds absolutely amazing! This type of technology would work great in a classroom with one or a few deaf students. The problem with CART for a classroom setting is the teacher would also have to have a reporter to type what is being said. Although I’m not entirely sure how this would work in a classroom, I am very interested in learning more about CART and also think it would be really neat to become a reporter for one.

Finding Other Cool Things Along the Way

But I couldn’t stop there ; I wanted to go to all of those other Google pages too! So I continued on. The next page I found was a blog “Educational Technology for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”. A teacher who has taught deaf education for 15 years was sharing her experiences and advice! How wonderful. After exploring her blog a little I found Technology: Where Do I Begin? (Part 1) where the author talks about almost everything a teacher needs to do and know about technology. Highly recommended to read! The first thing she talks about is developing a PLN and how to do it (gee, where have I heard this before?). She suggests many hashtags and names to follow on Twitter, one of which was #deafed. So I went over to my TweetDeck and set up a new column following #deafed. After exploring some of those tweets, I discovered yet another blog. Visualizing Ideas is a blog written by a teacher who teaches English as a FOREIGN language to deaf and hard of hearing students in Israel. Not only does she teach the deaf, she is teaching them a new language! I just think that is amazing. In one of her posts, Books Teachers Recommend to Other Teachers, she gives a list of books that all teachers should read. This list has already been added to my Pinterest board of books I want to read!

All of this to say, I still get amazed at how easy it is to find all sorts of information. Through one Google search, I have found a cool new piece of technology that I would love to learn to use, two new amazing blogs to follow, a new hashtag to follow on twitter, a list of books I will read to help me be a better teacher and expanded my PLN.

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