Irish Deaf Kids held a technology and education event in Dublin on October 10th, 2011. The event proved to be invaluable for all attendees, and was put together to give parents, educators and other stakeholders in-depth insights to how deaf and hard-of-hearing (hoh) children can use digital tools to better communicate and learn in a mainstream classroom.
New Digital Tools
Five key speakers presented at this event. IDK founder, Caroline Carswell, opened with a summary of her personal and professional background with first-hand experiences of hearing issues. Caroline also outlined how digital tools can improve inclusion for deaf and hoh children in mainstream schools.
The Case For Technology
Communication technologies that benefit deaf or hard-of-hearing students, also suit the hearing public by enabling communication with both groups.
The Baby Hearing-Aid
The second speaker was Geoffrey Cooling from Widex Ireland, with a very informative overview of Widex’s baby hearing aid, the ‘WIDEX BABY 440‘. This is the only hearing aid in the world for babies, and its use from such an early age gives it a major role in language acquisition. While this device is not readily available in Ireland, Widex is working on distribution channels.
Subtitling In Schools
Next up, was Miriam Walsh from Digitoc Media, who presented on digital teaching in schools, plus tools for teachers to caption web-videos for use in classrooms. With YouTube’s new teachers’ channel, the timing is opportune.
Brian Greene from qued.tv continued the subtitling theme by showing how digital tools can make MP3, radio, Vimeo and YouTube files more accessible.
Andrew Taylor from Classroom Communications concluded by advising on soundfields in classrooms, and on linking hearing-devices to a soundfield. To his credit, he made a potentially technical topic very accessible to attendees.
(compiled by Nicola Fox)