Worldwide Network Underway for Educating Deaf




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Two high technology multimedia laboratories for deaf students were dedicated recently in Japan and China through the Postsecondary Education Network International (PEN-International), a program of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Facilities were officially opened at Tsukuba College of Technology in Japan and at Tianjin University of Technology in China. Dr. Robert Davila, CEO of NTID, and Dr. James DeCaro, director of PEN-International, attended both ceremonies. The universities and PEN-International constructed the labs as part of a multinational effort to create a network of colleges and universities that educate people who are deaf around the world. PEN-International uses innovative educational and information technologies as well as faculty training and development strategies to help improve educational opportunities for students who are deaf. The program is funded in large part by a grant to NTID from The Nippon Foundation of Japan.

The dedication ceremony in Japan was conducted via teleconferencing between Tsukuba College and NTID. A highlight of the ceremony was a haiku competition between students from both colleges, who performed poems for audiences in both the United States and Japan. Proceedings were also "streamed" on the World Wide Web so that colleagues in China could view the ceremonies as well.

During the dedication in China, Tianjin University faculty members demonstrated the 19-station laboratory using Internet-based instructional strategies they had developed for teaching deaf students. W. Yang, vice chair of the China National Federation for the Disabled, pledged continued support for such innovative uses of technology to educate students who are deaf.

PEN-International is a multilateral international effort to network colleges and universities that educate people who are deaf. Over the next four years, PEN-International expects to work in at least 10 different countries around the world.

The first and largest technological college in the world for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, NTID offers educational programs, access, and support services to the 1,100 deaf and hard-of-hearing students on the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Rochester, N.Y. campus. For further information, visit NTID’s homepage at http://www.rit.edu/NTID.