Along with my student teaching, I have been enrolled in an American Sign Language 2 class. Consequently, I attend ASL 2 with a different set of eyes than my classmates. As I learn more sign language and more about the Deaf Culture, I can’t help but think about how this applies to the classroom setting. While deaf and hard-of-hearing students (D/HH) make up little to no part of public schools’ populations, it has me wondering how these schools prepare for having deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
As with everything, I wanted to find out how I could integrate technology into this situation. What sort of apps or technology are out there that could enhance the learning experiences of D/HH students?
1. Video App: The basic video app on your phone or Ipad can be a great resource to use with deaf students. Teachers can, with the help of an interpreter, create videos for their lessons. These videos can include audio and sign language to include all students. The students can also create their own videos about a certain subject and then transcribe their sign language into English.
2. VSL Story Book Apps: The Gallaudet University National Science Foundation-funded Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning, or VL2, has developed a line of story book apps for the IPad. There have been a variety of story book apps developed, including The Boy Who Cried Wolf and Baobab, that not only displays the words to the story, but also audio and a video with the ASL. The story also includes eye catching animation to accompany the story. The genius of this app is that it bridges the gap between D/HH and hearing students of younger ages. Students of all types can sit down together and comprehend this story. It also encourages stronger literacy for the D/HH students by including text along with the ASL. This could also be used to help facilitate learning of ASL among hearing students.
As I researched different technology and apps for an inclusive classroom, I came to the realization that many of the apps out there are already suitable for students who are D/HH. Some apps may have some background noise, but there aren’t a lot of noises involved that are crucial for interacting with the app. What I really enjoyed, though, was looking at technologies that allowed for interactions between D/HH students and hearing students.