Australia’s First Model Classroom For Deaf Pupils

Australia has introduced its first mainstream “Model Classroom” for deaf students at LaSalle Catholic College in Bankstown. Classrooms are planned to maximise learning in mainstream schools with interactive whiteboards, captioned resources, visual computer content and sound-field systems.

The pilot project was designed by Media Access Australia in collaboration with the Catholic Education Office and LaSalle College.

During an Italian lesson at the launch, teachers showed how to display audio-visual content with captions. The teachers also use microphones to transmit sound directly to students’ hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Mary Connon, a teacher at the school, believes the students are already benefiting. She says of one student “This year he has been much more engaged. In his Italian classes this year he participates much more, while in another class without the system, he doesn’t participate as much.”

It is hoped Media Access Australia will offer this facility in more schools. An Accessible Education Database of captioned education resources is being devised for teachers working with deaf pupils in model classrooms.

Could this be the classroom of the future? In the US, similar pilot projects are being rolled out in schools in North Carolina, in collaboration with theUniversity of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Projects like this are essential for identifying and sharing information on what IT tools work for deaf pupils in inclusive classrooms, while documenting how students benefit from appropriate literacy and communication supports.

(compiled by Miriam Walsh)

Further Reading

Australia’s Accessible Education Database

Practical Inclusion Tips From A Pretoria School

Inclusive Education Is ‘All-Encompassing Learning’

Posted in IDK | Leave a comment

Australia’s First Model Classroom For Deaf Pupils

Australia has introduced its first mainstream “Model Classroom” for deaf students at LaSalle Catholic College in Bankstown. Classrooms are planned to maximise learning in mainstream schools with interactive whiteboards, captioned resources, visual computer content and sound-field systems.

The pilot project was designed by Media Access Australia in collaboration with the Catholic Education Office and LaSalle College.

During an Italian lesson at the launch, teachers showed how to display audio-visual content with captions. The teachers also use microphones to transmit sound directly to students’ hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Mary Connon, a teacher at the school, believes the students are already benefiting. She says of one student “This year he has been much more engaged. In his Italian classes this year he participates much more, while in another class without the system, he doesn’t participate as much.”

It is hoped Media Access Australia will offer this facility in more schools. An Accessible Education Database of captioned education resources is being devised for teachers working with deaf pupils in model classrooms.

Could this be the classroom of the future? In the US, similar pilot projects are being rolled out in schools in North Carolina, in collaboration with theUniversity of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Projects like this are essential for identifying and sharing information on what IT tools work for deaf pupils in inclusive classrooms, while documenting how students benefit from appropriate literacy and communication supports.

(compiled by Miriam Walsh)

Further Reading

Australia’s Accessible Education Database

Practical Inclusion Tips From A Pretoria School

Inclusive Education Is ‘All-Encompassing Learning’

Posted in IDK | Leave a comment

Language And The Seven Forms Of Intelligence

Many people are unaware that seven different forms of intelligence are known of. Few people excel in all areas so it helps to identify where you fit.

Recent studies show that deaf people can have a head-start in the area of language, when consistent teaching is received from an early age. Someone who does not speak a foreign language is not necessarily less-able.

In fact, sign language is a visual language in its own right. It may not be a spoken language, but does this really matter? The human brain is designed to produce language, be it spoken or physical.

In one study, Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto of the University of Toronto notes that there is nothing special about speech. Language can take the form of speech but it does not have to; language can just as easily take the form of visual signs. She frames the historic misunderstanding of language: “the human brain does not discriminate between the hands and the tongue… people do”.

The recent popularity of “baby signing” results from the discovery that cognitive, social and psychological development can benefit when the brain’s capacity for language is stimulated through visual/gestural communication.

While influencing a child’s language intelligence, infant signing also benefits the development of visual / spatial intelligence. Some people are excellent at visualising different scenarios, shapes or places and have a high sense of spatial intelligence. They will be observant of their surroundings, have a good sense of direction and be very good at crafts and creating projects.

Below are the five other forms of intelligence:

  • Kinesthetic intelligence: if your child enjoys dancing or working with their hands, they have body-kinesthetic intelligence (signing ability)
  • Musical ability: if your child spends their time singing and playing music. They quickly pick up tunes, rhythms & different accents.
  • Interpersonal individuals are good listeners and participants in group activities. People with high inter-personality intelligence make great teachers, nurses, salesperson and politicians.
  • Intra-personal ability is similar to the above, however the individuals understand themselves more than others. These people do not rush decisions, but consider the options carefully. They enjoy solitary hobbies and games and often keep a journal.
  • Logical/mathematical intelligence.Some kids may excel in science, maths, logic and puzzles. This is perhaps the closest form to what is seen as the traditional definition of intelligence.

So, can you see where you fit in now? What skills you possess and what form of intelligence you have? Everyone is different and has varying skills and abilities to offer and make the world an infinitely more interesting place.

(compiled by Miriam Walsh)

Further Reading:

Bauman – reframing the the future of deaf education

Including Deaf Children At Preschool: Part One

IBM’s KidSmart PC Supports Language Teaching

Posted in IDK | Leave a comment

Language And The Seven Forms Of Intelligence

Many people are unaware that seven different forms of intelligence are known of. Few people excel in all areas so it helps to identify where you fit.

Recent studies show that deaf people can have a head-start in the area of language, when consistent teaching is received from an early age. Someone who does not speak a foreign language is not necessarily less-able.

In fact, sign language is a visual language in its own right. It may not be a spoken language, but does this really matter? The human brain is designed to produce language, be it spoken or physical.

In one study, Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto of the University of Toronto notes that there is nothing special about speech. Language can take the form of speech but it does not have to; language can just as easily take the form of visual signs. She frames the historic misunderstanding of language: “the human brain does not discriminate between the hands and the tongue… people do”.

The recent popularity of “baby signing” results from the discovery that cognitive, social and psychological development can benefit when the brain’s capacity for language is stimulated through visual/gestural communication.

While influencing a child’s language intelligence, infant signing also benefits the development of visual / spatial intelligence. Some people are excellent at visualising different scenarios, shapes or places and have a high sense of spatial intelligence. They will be observant of their surroundings, have a good sense of direction and be very good at crafts and creating projects.

Below are the five other forms of intelligence:

  • Kinesthetic intelligence: if your child enjoys dancing or working with their hands, they have body-kinesthetic intelligence (signing ability)
  • Musical ability: if your child spends their time singing and playing music. They quickly pick up tunes, rhythms & different accents.
  • Interpersonal individuals are good listeners and participants in group activities. People with high inter-personality intelligence make great teachers, nurses, salesperson and politicians.
  • Intra-personal ability is similar to the above, however the individuals understand themselves more than others. These people do not rush decisions, but consider the options carefully. They enjoy solitary hobbies and games and often keep a journal.
  • Logical/mathematical intelligence.Some kids may excel in science, maths, logic and puzzles. This is perhaps the closest form to what is seen as the traditional definition of intelligence.

So, can you see where you fit in now? What skills you possess and what form of intelligence you have? Everyone is different and has varying skills and abilities to offer and make the world an infinitely more interesting place.

(compiled by Miriam Walsh)

Further Reading:

Bauman – reframing the the future of deaf education

Including Deaf Children At Preschool: Part One

IBM’s KidSmart PC Supports Language Teaching

Posted in IDK | Leave a comment

SMS Texting Supports Inclusive Education In Africa

In Ireland deaf children have the chance to communicate by text, sign or voice. This is not always the case in developing countries, where children can be isolated from society due to the lack of access to communication.

The world’s first project in which deaf  & hearing classmates use SMS to chat face-to-face for inclusion, is being piloted by The Child Africa International School in Kabale, Uganda, with the UK-based Cambridge in Africa NGO.

Essentially, SMS is used to integrate deaf and hearing children at the school, and is sometimes supplemented by sign language. The phones also link deaf students at the school with their parents, who may be living in remote areas.

Co-ordinators immediately noted the advanced sign language skills used by the hearing students with the deaf children, the linking of deaf and non-deaf teachers at the school, and improved writing skills among the deaf children.

In the project’s first phase, twelve children (six deaf, six hearing) were taught to use a mobile phone with SMS texts. The messages pass via a central server in Kabale for educators to see how the children communicate among themselves and merge this learning into the school’s curriculum.

One child in this project is Docus Ayebazibwe who at just 10 years old had no chance to communicate with the people around her. Having a mobile phone has given her access to the life that any 10 year old should have.

She says, “All my village mates used to laugh at me because I could not hear what they would say and also I did not have any way to speak to them. “I thank God who brought Child Africa institute leaders to my local village. Can you imagine an orphan like me using a mobile phone SMS facility at the age of 10 to communicate to educated people like you? God is great.”

Caroline Kembabazi, 12 also looks forward to a future with SMS. “I can now visualize a bright future because I am far better than what I was when I was still shabby in the village four years ago. I am now in Primary Four and feel that education, especially science, is good for sign language people.”

Phase 2 of this project will be implemented this month and it is hoped the project will be accessible to 50 students by the end of this year.

(compiled by Miriam Walsh)

Further Reading

Deafness Led To The Phone, Internet and SMS Texts

Real-Time Captioning At School Via Mobile Phone

The Value of SMS Texting To Deaf Youngsters

Educational Revolution With SmartPhone Devices

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Infant Literacy Skills – Newborn To Three Years

Children need to develop literacy skills before their first day of school and research consistently shows children learn literacy skills even before talking.

Emergent literacy theorists believe that children start learning about literacy (reading and writing) from birth. Infants can learn about the letters of the alphabet and concepts of print long before they are able to read.

Think about your child for a minute. If you hand them a book, do they hold it right side up? Can they point to the title? Turn the pages in the right order? Although they can’t read, they learn that print on pages has meaning.

If you take time to introduce young kids to letters and pictures, the benefits last. Early learning is the responsibility of parents and not a school-teacher.

While bringing literacy benefits. early learning helps a child’s concentration, communication skills, speech, language and general attention span.

Just a few points to remember:

  1. Always pick a time that suits you. Don’t try reading while dinner is on, or you’re heading out the door to work
  2. Take time to be with your child. Do not rush through a book, give the child time to look at pictures and tun the pages
  3. Make reading fun. You don’t want kids to get bored of learning at such a young age. Put some drama into the reading & use hand movements

A few items to help you along the way:

  1. Try to get picture cards for your child. They can play with these when you’re not around and it familiarises them with new pictures and colors
  2. Never underestimate fridge magnets. It is easy to find alphabet or number-shaped magnets and children have a lot of fun moving these about on a fridge door while learning the shapes of different letters
  3. When choosing books it can be difficult to know what to pick. Books with lots of repetition are good. They may seem boring to you but children learn best when they repeatedly see the words and pictures

The bottom line is, the more stories you share with your child, the more words they will learn – and the better prepared for school they will be.

(compiled by Miriam Walsh)

Further Reading

Deaf Children – Early Language Teaching At Home

Communication Development – Linking Items To Words

Early Reading Skills For Lifelong Literacy

Introducing Babies & Toddlers To Books And Reading

Visual Learning In The Preschool & Primary Years (pdf file)

Including Deaf Children At Preschool – Part One (plus links)

IBM’s KidSmart PC Supports Language Learning (plus brochure)

Posted in IDK | Leave a comment

Infant Literacy Skills – Newborn To Three Years

Children need to develop literacy skills before their first day of school and research consistently shows children learn literacy skills even before talking.

Emergent literacy theorists believe that children start learning about literacy (reading and writing) from birth. Infants can learn about the letters of the alphabet and concepts of print long before they are able to read.

Think about your child for a minute. If you hand them a book, do they hold it right side up? Can they point to the title? Turn the pages in the right order? Although they can’t read, they learn that print on pages has meaning.

If you take time to introduce young kids to letters and pictures, the benefits last. Early learning is the responsibility of parents and not a school-teacher.

While bringing literacy benefits. early learning helps a child’s concentration, communication skills, speech, language and general attention span.

Just a few points to remember:

  1. Always pick a time that suits you. Don’t try reading while dinner is on, or you’re heading out the door to work
  2. Take time to be with your child. Do not rush through a book, give the child time to look at pictures and tun the pages
  3. Make reading fun. You don’t want kids to get bored of learning at such a young age. Put some drama into the reading & use hand movements

A few items to help you along the way:

  1. Try to get picture cards for your child. They can play with these when you’re not around and it familiarises them with new pictures and colors
  2. Never underestimate fridge magnets. It is easy to find alphabet or number-shaped magnets and children have a lot of fun moving these about on a fridge door while learning the shapes of different letters
  3. When choosing books it can be difficult to know what to pick. Books with lots of repetition are good. They may seem boring to you but children learn best when they repeatedly see the words and pictures

The bottom line is, the more stories you share with your child, the more words they will learn – and the better prepared for school they will be.

(compiled by Miriam Walsh)

Further Reading

Deaf Children – Early Language Teaching At Home

Communication Development – Linking Items To Words

Early Reading Skills For Lifelong Literacy

Introducing Babies & Toddlers To Books And Reading

Visual Learning In The Preschool & Primary Years (pdf file)

Including Deaf Children At Preschool – Part One (plus links)

IBM’s KidSmart PC Supports Language Learning (plus brochure)

Posted in IDK | Leave a comment