Technology helps deaf students succeed

Katie Garland

Sixteen students who attend Kent State can’t hear a single word their teachers say, and another 48 students are hearing impaired.

These students aren’t lip readers and don’t get notes from other students in class, but new technology helps students who have hearing problems learn in different ways than a normal student.

“We have several different techniques that students can use,” Adaptive Technology Coordinator Mollie Miller said. “There are interpreters, who are trained in American Sign Language, and then there are the CART and TYPEWELL programs.”

Miller said most of the students who use the Kent State programs are studying either education or deaf education. One day they will teach other students how to use the technology they use today.

When students use interpreters, they usually come in groups of two. Signing, especially at advanced levels, takes a lot of concentration. In long lecture classes it is easier for interpreters to take turns so they don’t get burnt out or give the wrong signs, Miller said.

“When students are in math or science classes, we try to keep the same interpreter with them all semester,” Miller said. “When classes are advanced, students and interpreters work together and establish signs that both of them will recognize.”

The Communication Access Realtime Translation is another program that students can use. The system uses real-time captioning that students can read off of a laptop.

For this program, Kent State hires court stenographers who come to class with students. Students connect their laptops to the stenographer’s machine, and as the stenographer types, the words appear at the bottom of the student’s laptop.

“It would be like watching CNN with the words scrolling across the bottom of the screen,” said Miller.

TYPEWELL is the third program that is offered to students. In this program, an assistant’s computer is also connected to the student’s computer.

Instead of whole words as in the CART program, the TYPEWELL program is made up of compacted notes that are made of abbreviations. This allows the student to take their own notes along with the TYPEWELL notes. They can also keep the notes to review afterwards.

Contact student affairs reporter Katie Garland at [email protected].