During my journey through sign language this week, I decided to learn more about hearing impairments and look into such inclusion as an extension of my learning project. Being a future teacher, my first topic of investigation was to understand characteristics that students with hearing impairments may portray and how I can provide for them to be successful in my classroom.
After reading many websites and blogs, I have gained a much deeper understanding for the needs of students with hearing impairments, but most importantly the gained awareness of the importance and access of communication between teachers-students and their peers. Through suggestions and articles it was evident that as a teacher I am responsible for ensuring all of my instructions are either provided in written form, or that I must always be directly facing my students when speaking. If you are a pre-service or future teacher, you are probably aware that that can be difficult at times; either lecturing while writing a mathematics example on the board, or even reading from a text and unintentionally covering your face with the book.
The blog linked above suggested using an FM broadcasting technology, where students and teachers wear this device around their necks, allowing the voice of the teacher to be amplified. Not only does it transmit our voices from 50-80 feet, it bring our voices right to their hearing device to avoid miscommunication when we are not directly facing them. A huge pro to this technology is the opportunity for our students with hearing impairments to maintain engaged and build confidence in both their academic and social environments of everyday life.
However, I know not all schools or families are supplied with the FM technology, so I decided to start looking into apps for iPads/tablets or cellphones. The first one I came across was incredible, it is called Dragon Dictation. This app allows any audio to be picked up and transferred into text form. To test it out, I was out for coffee with a friend and I hit record during one of our conversations. After a few minutes I looked down, hit “stop recording” and our conversation instantly appeared in written text. I couldn’t believe it! This app will allow teachers to continue with explanations and instructions, as they would naturally, but can have the peace of mind knowing our students with hearing impairments are able to capture any aural information provided during class.
The app also allows you to type with a keyboard if there any extra content the user may want to add into the dialogue, and allows you send emails, text messages, Facebook messages, and send tweets directly from the message it creates.