The U.S. Department of Education has awarded two grants totaling $1.1 million to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), internationally known for its leadership in educating deaf people, to test and evaluate new features of its C-Print® speech-to-text support service. C-Print provides real-time text display of spoken English, and then saves the text for study.
Designed to greatly enhance deaf and hard-of-hearing students' ability to participate in class discussion, the features are part of NTID's new C-Print Pro software, allowing for communication between captionist and student computers, and enabling students to highlight the real-time display of text and to take notes.
"Some deaf and hard-of-hearing people prefer printed text over other support services like sign language interpreting or manual notetaking," said Pamela Francis, coordinator of C-Print Training and Development at NTID. "C-Print Pro is a dramatic improvement over the previous version of C-Print we developed 15 years ago."
C-Print Pro is especially designed for rapid real-time communication of text between computers on a network specifically for providing support services with automatic speech recognition and/or a typing–based computerized word-abbreviation system.
"One grant for $400,000 will be used to examine how beneficial the system is to middle and high school students," said Dr. Michael Stinson, NTID professor, and principal investigator of the project. "It will also help us prepare to move toward a more widespread implementation of the C-Print system nationally."
The new features of C-Print will be field tested over the next two years in St. Louis, Missouri, San Diego, Calif., and Rochester, N.Y. In addition, this project will determine how C-Print service providers, teachers, and parents can best teach middle and high school students to effectively participate in class and to actively learn from the text display when using C-Print.
"Although pre-college and college students use the same C-Print Pro software, research has shown that the ways these two groups of students use the software are quite different, along with the strategies for teaching them to use it," explained Stinson. "Thus, a second grant will support testing the software among undergraduate students at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and at Louisiana State University, as well as produce a Web-based guide for using C-Print, and new training materials."
The projects will yield knowledge as to the best ways to facilitate effective use of C-Print, as well as to produce products geared to the specific educational levels, such as guides for using C-Print, that will be critical for a subsequent widespread implementation.
The first and largest technological college in the world for students who are deaf and hard of hearing, NTID offers educational programs and access and support services to 1,100 students from around the world who study, live, and socialize with 14,400 hearing students on the RIT campus. Web address: www.rit.edu/NTID.
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