Technology Helps Deaf Students at Gallaudet University
Gallaudet University in Washington is the world's only university with programs designed for deaf students and those who are hard-of-hearing. But hearing disorders do not keep students from learning because of the university's heavy use of technology. Students use interactive technologies in and out of the classroom, technologies such as webcam interactions on Skype. More than 90 percent of Gallaudet's classes use some form of online communication. Professor Gene Mirus says technology is important in the learning process. "So there are, you know, televisions and webcams and things like that. Students are able to record themselves doing projects in sign language, and do that at home. We use a lot of computer technologies, and webcams and things like that." Sonam Jain, a student from Sri Lanka, says his years at Gallaudet have offered experiences different from his childhood. "Sri Lanka has states. And they don't have one standardized sign language. So, in the United States, for example, there are signs for almost everything that you would ever want to talk about. In Sri Lanka, there isn't. And so there are many things you find it very difficult to talk about in Sri Lanka." Another student says Gallaudet has helped him with his communication skills, especially with ASL -- American Sign Language. "When I grew up, I was signing in a way that was more English-like. Here at Gallaudet, I sign more like I sign in ASL -- more visual and the communication is much easier, and the social life is wonderful here." That increased ability to communicate helps many students. "A lot of networking and reaching out to people and I've learned from - I've had role models that I've learned from here. They provide workshops, there are a lot of sporting activities, intramural events that I've been involved with." "Most students increase their self-confidence, and improve their communication abilities and they leave Gallaudet ready to face the world." I'm Jeri Watson.