Improving Deaf Education

Article excerpt

Sometimes, the things we take for granted are hurdles for handicapped children to overcome. For instance, children with hearing problems can have a tough time learning how to take turns in conversations or how to make eye contact.

The way Vivian Smith, an elementary school teacher at the Mississippi School for the Deaf, overcomes this problem is videoconferencing. Smith uses cameras to connect with high school students on the other end of campus. The high school class shows her students the correct way to keep and maintain eye contact or appropriately take turns during conversation. Then her students play the role of famous deaf people while the high schoolers guess who they are.

"My students' behavior and ability to pay attention is enhanced," says Smith.

This is just one way administrators and instructors who teach hearing handicapped students are leveraging the latest visual and communications technology to address school safety, share best practices and bring the curriculum to life.

"Since our daily lives are more involved with technology, it only makes sense that it be brought into the classroom," adds Nancy Benham, director of the Association of College Educators-Deaf/Hard of Hearing. …