IN THE CLASSROOM
workshop summarizes some forms of technology used in science and
mathematics classrooms with deaf learners. Resources and additional
readings are provided. Research with deaf learners is also included.
the Workshop Coordinator
Download a skeleton copy of the Technology
in Class Workshop power point
presentation to help with handouts or overheads.
- Become familiar
with various forms of instructional technology that facilitates
teaching math and science to deaf students
- Become aware
of specific assistive technologies that can increase access to
information for deaf learners in science and math
what we know from research with deaf learners involving instructional
in the Classroom: The Computer
is a concerted effort by the government to place computers in all
classrooms throughout the nation. Unfortunately, the necessary research
proving the worth of computer technology has been slow in coming,
especially with deaf learners. While there is recognition that computer
literacy is of paramount importance for all students, scant empirical
data are available to support the belief that computers actually
enhance science literacy among deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
We do know that computers can be integrated in meaningful ways in
the math and science classroom, such as in conducting statistical
analyses of data at the high school level. Studies with on-line
science and mathematics education are showing promise with deaf
& Steely, submitted). Yet, the dependence on text-based
materials and the issues of reading ability of deaf learners remain
problematic and more research is needed to identify best practices
with computer technologies.
Based Laboratories have been used at third grade level and up (Suppes,
Fletcher, & Zanotti, 1976; Castle, 1982) with success and
surveys of students indicate that use of computers in particular
science instruction, such as physics, is enjoyable and promotes
cooperative learning (Bell,
One of the primary reasons for using computers in science and math
classrooms is to prepare students for employment in technical and
non-technical fields. Walk into any physics or biotechnology lab,
or follow any medical research and you will find that computers
are a significant part of doing science. Use of computers in classrooms
from K through 12th grade will certainly enhance the preparation
of students for future work at a college level as well.
can be very effective during hands-on experiments in promoting the
interpretation of data and in understanding the mathematical relationships
of variables involved in the experiments, especially by providing
graphing of the data. The capability of immediate graphing of data
may facilitate concept development, as compared to having to wait
a much longer time to manually develop a graph. Research has shown
increased understanding and improved test scores in students who
have access to a computer to immediately graph acquired variables
from a science experiment
and Shaw (1987), however, reviewed 287 references related to
computer applications with deaf learners and found that the degree
of success with computer-assisted instruction was inversely related
to methodological rigor. They report that the well-designed studies
indicate that "CAI is no better than alternative forms of instruction"
(p. 189). The fact that a majority of authors report positive outcomes
with deaf learners indicates that additional research on the efficacy
of CAI is warranted.
in the Science Classroom
Microcomputer Based Labs
to Technology Tools for Science and Mathematics Learning
in the Classroom: The Calculator
THE USE OF
CALCULATORS IN MATH AND SCIENCE CLASSROOMS:
It is recognized
that calculators can and should play a significant role in math
and science classrooms, especially at the secondary level. According
to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), calculators
are important and necessary for educators and students to use in
learning mathematics, and for the analysis and solution of complex
word problems which in the past would have taken up significant
are generally not intended for use in developing basic skills in
math during the elementary school years. Proper application
and use of calculators can however increase student interest in
mathematics, development and retention of skills, and provide a
means of saving time in learning essentials both in math and science
Support Classroom with Technology
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
in the Classroom: Graphing
THE K-12 CLASSROOM:
a vital and important tool for mathematical modeling. Since using
graphs in mathematics coincides with the teaching of trigonometry
and algebra, usually the earliest use of graphs and graphing calculators
is in junior high school with advanced mathematics classrooms.
use of graphing has also been demonstrated as a more tangible way
for younger students to demonstrate certain concepts in both math
and science. The production of a graph, when given sets of numbers
or statistics can be taught at the elementary level. At this point,
as with calculations, the teacher should rely upon teaching basic
skills in graphing including the concept of an axis, mathematical
modeling of everyday situations (such as airplane flights and traffic
patterns on highways), and in the solving of puzzles, games, and
codes. Graphing calculators should not be introduced until basic
concepts are thoroughly learned, and students have had the opportunity
to draw a graph by hand.
Vector Calculator: An Interactive Java Applet
'round Our School
in the Classroom: Captions
advent of closed-captioning, television and videos were essentially
inaccessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Some captioning
research has been shown to assist deaf students in science in comprehending
course materials. However, the reading level of the materials should
be on a level commensurate with the students' reading abilities
Stinson, & Keiffer, 1989). Jelinek Lewis (1999) found that
when hearing and deaf students are at equivalent reading levels,
the hearing students still perform significantly better on a comprehension
test. She concludes that "deaf students lag behind hearing
students in their ability to generalize this skill or use prior
knowledge to answer the questions correctly." Nevertheless,
deaf students appear to enhance their literacy through captioning
and more research is needed to optimize the learning that takes
Not only are
television shows and videos captioned, but computer software is
also being captioned. For example, when educational software has
a streaming video and audio, there may be a means for pulling down
captions so that deaf and hard-of-hearing students can have access
to what is being said. An example of this is Encarta by Microsoft,
which has a video of Martin Luther King giving his "I have
a dream" speech in Washington, D.C. Clicking on a button can
pull down the entire speech. Hopefully, the future of educational
software and web sites will include more such access. If the software
or site is funded by Federal monies, those receiving federal funding
are required to provide accessibility. Many corporations such as
Microsoft and other makers of educational software came into compliance
before this law was passed.
and mathematics videos are currently closed captioned. NOVA, Scientific
America, and educational shows like Bill Nye the Science Guy have
long included captioning. Science and math teachers, who plan on
utilizing videos and software in their classrooms, should make a
concerted effort to get media that has been captioned.
captions" can be seen by everyone. "Closed captions"
require a special decoder to display the captions. A good example
of open captioning in video streaming for public use of the Internet
is at the Final
Report by The National Commission on Mathematics and Science
for the 21st Century, given by John Glenn.
can also be done live by using captionists (who operate much like
courtroom stenographers). This is how CNN and other news-sites provide
captioning for their programs. As more deaf and hard-of-hearing
people participate in science activities at state and national levels,
this type of captioning will be seen more often at science conventions.
who are using software such as Microsoft Office and who want to
make their software more accessible for their deaf students can
go to the Microsoft
Accessibility Technology for Everyone site. Microsoft provides
guidance and step-by-step tutorials which teachers can follow to
upgrade their software and provide captioning to videos or audio
site, from Public Television, is called Making Educational Software
Accessible. This site listed below gives recommended design suggestions
and provides information about captioning and the benefits of making
software accessible for everyone.
Activity #1: Real-Time Captioning
- One computer is required for each pair of participants.
grouped together in pairs. Set up the pairs into two roles - one
is the captionist while the other is the speaker. Provide the reader
with a paragraph to read. Explain that they must read at a normal
pace and that they are not allowed to slow down or repeat anything
they say. The captionist is to record verbatim what the speaker
pair is finished, discuss any difficulties that arose while captioning
(How many spelling errors? How many misunderstood words: hair/hare?
How grammatically correct was the typing? How did the skill of the
captionist influence the results? Compare results from the different
groups.) Discuss the implications of advantages and disadvantages
this has on the issue of access for a deaf learner.
Reporters: The Internet Captioning Company
(Source for captioning software and web sites)
M. S., (1999, March). Television captioning: A vehicle for accessibility
and literacy. Paper presented at the annual conference, Technology
and Persons with Disabilities, Los Angeles, CA.
Television Guidelines for Accessibility
Science Through Captioning - This handbook is for teachers
who are interested in bringing student-created captioned video projects
into their curriculum. Captioning incorporates many different approaches
to learning into one task such as observing, writing, reading, and
Access - information on how all videos should be captioned
in the Classroom: Virtual Dissection
teachers have turned to virtual dissection software to cut costs
or reduce problems associated with student discomfort due to religious
beliefs, concern about animal rights, or just general "queasiness."
The lack of need for cleanup and disposal of carcasses is another
benefit for schools, and the programs can teach basic anatomical
skills and understanding of bodily functions almost as well as does
hands-on dissection of actual animals. Also, on-line dissections
can be accessed again and again, without having to worry about spoilage.
not the programs are useful depends upon the graphics and organization
of the information in the software or Web site. The same basic rules
apply for this type of Web site as for other educational sites.
How "busy" is the background? Are the pictures clear and
concise? Are the pictures too detailed for use in high school programs?
problem with virtual dissection is that it does not give students
preparation for postsecondary education courses that may require
dissection. For students planning on going into biological sciences
or medical programs (including physical therapy and even dentistry),
the ability to perform dissections is critical.
Below are a
few Web sites to give the reader an idea of possible virtual dissection
alternatives. We will be looking for software that has proven particularly
successful with deaf learners and will report on them in this section
Activity: Virtual Dissection
Split group into two or three people each with access to a computer.
Using the site,
NetFrog, have the participants first click on "begin dissection".
Explain that participants are only going to work through one section
of the site. Have participants click on the option for "organs"
at the top right corner. Have participants read through the page,
listen to the narration, watch the video, and click on the guess
what. Have participants create a list of the benefits and disadvantages
of using such a site. When reading the "guess what" section,
have participants identify those words that are part of the secondary
vocabulary (words that may not have been directly taught to students).
What steps would teachers have to take to ensure their deaf students
gained full understanding from using such a website? Have teachers
draft a short (5 question) guided response that students would have
to answer after working on this page. What types of questions did
the participants ask of their students?
Virtual Pig Dissection
Dissection (by Mining Company)
(This site has several different dissections of animals including
cats, mice, rats, and crayfish)
in the Classroom: Virtual Reality
have shown that students who are deaf tend to be more rigid in their
way of thinking (Saraev
& Koslov, 1993). Other research has demonstrated that the
emphasizing of strategies for creative thinking has a positive effect
on abstract thinking, imagination, and functioning in problem-solving
situations for students who are deaf (Laughton,
1988). Rigidity in learning not only impacts the ability of these
students in thinking creatively in such areas as art, but may also
have an effect on their ability to find solutions in science and
students do possess the same cognitive abilities as hearing students,
there is often a delay with regard to particular cognitive and metacognitive
skills. There is a current effort to improve these thinking skills
in deaf students using virtual reality technologies. Research will
help us determine whether virtual reality, or any other technologies,
may be used effectively as tools for developing such skills through
and Eden (2000) has shown that virtual reality has shown some
promise in involving the deaf student in their learning. With hearing
students, VR has been shown to help bridge abstract concepts to
concrete studies. This feature may prove vital in teaching science
concepts that are abstract, such as atomic theory and hard-to-see
biological processes such as viral infection.
can also utilize nonverbal techniques and is capable of allowing
students to view objects from a variety of angles. This capacity
can impact the students' thinking, and some research has demonstrated
that virtual reality can significantly increase the flexible thinking
of deaf students. This is an area of potential multimedia use, which
requires intense future research. Vcom3D, Inc., for example, is
currently developing a 3-dimensional sign language avatar. For those
who are not familiar with an avatar is an icon or a representation
of the user in a shared virtual reality environment. Though in its
early stages, the sign language avatar may prove useful in allowing
deaf learners to manipulate their educational environment. Since
interactivity and control over the environment has proven to be
very attractive to children and adolescents in both game theory
and home educational products, it is surmised and expected that
the ability of students with hearing loss to control their learning
environments will promote more learning, increased long-term memory,
and increased flexibility in thinking across a wide spectrum of
subject matters (Talkmitt, 1996). This in turn will lead to higher
scores on standardized testing.
S. (1995). Increasing research and development of VR in education
and special education. VR in the Schools 1 (3), p. 5-8.
M. (1995). Virtual reality and education: Where imagination and
experience meet. VR in the Schools 1 (2), P. 1-3.
Pantelidis, V. (1995). Reasons to use VR in education. VR in the
Schools 1 (1), p. 9.
(1996). VESAMOTEX: Virtual education science and math of Texas.
VR in the Schools 1 (4), p. 5-7.
Sign Language Dictionary - This website includes some science
signs in a list developed for Business aviation. Avatars are used
to produce the signs
Demonstration is only accessible on PC's.
in the Classroom: Assistive Technology
1998, President Clinton signed into law the Assistive Technology
Act (ATA), publicly recognizing that assistive technology has the
potential to improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities.
A device used for assistive technology functions is defined by t
he ATA as "any item, piece of equipment, or product system,
whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is
used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities
of individuals with disabilities." The ATA is a continuation
of legal precedents that encourage the states to invest in technology-related
programs and assistance to those in need of such technology in their
current technologies have the potential to increase educational
success and make previously inaccessible information available to
all students. However, deaf students, like students with other disabilities,
frequently have problems accessing the same information, software,
and programs available to others students. There are still too many
that are not creating truly accessible multimedia curriculum
materials in science, math, and technology. In the past, the vague
definition of "accessibility," as used in certain legal
documents, has allowed products to be placed in the market and touted
as being accessible, when in actuality they are not. "Accessibility"
for many of these products has merely meant that they can be used
with assistive technologies that are not provided by the company
making the product. They do not ensure that the schools that are
using the product actually have that assistive technology. This
skirting of this particular issue is currently being played out
can be either a boon for people with differences, or it can continue
to multiply the inequity that currently exists. In a letter to the
President in 1998 the National Council on Disability (NCD) said,
"On the other hand, technological developments can present
serious and sometimes insurmountable obstacles when principles of
universal design are not practiced in their deployment. A distance
learning course broadcast over the Internet, for example, is inaccessible
to a deaf person if a text transcript is not also available."
the way the ATA is funded has left a problematic situation. Funding
has been given out to the states through a variety of programming
which can be seen if a researcher looks up assistive technology
in education on the computer. Several of the states have already
established programs through universities or rehabilitation services.
Without any clear mandated legal guidelines indicating what constitutes
accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the science
and math classroom, the technology in each state and even in different
school districts (depending upon tax revenues, and often access
to universities with technology and the manpower availability) will
tend to vary greatly.
Technology Training Online
Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of America
(This nonprofit organization has been deeply involved in technical
issues since 1978. They have a separate special interest group involved
in special education issues.)
Council on Disabilities: Letter of Transmittal (March 13,
in the Classroom: Use of the World Wide Web
The Web is
a powerful resource for learning. However, we must teach our students
to be able to identify quality information, learn how to validate
information, and use thinking skills while using this resource.
For example, in the field of Deaf education, you will find on the
Web such erroneous statements as "Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet
invented sign language for the deaf" or that the poet Lucretius
wrote that it is impossible to instruct the deaf. Neither statement
is true. In science, errors can be found on the Web as in many textbooks
currently used in the classroom [for example, see "Study
finds errors rife in science textbooks"]. Thus, teachers
need to be wary of the issue of quality control in terms of information
and data found on the Web. Jamie McKenzie's article " Grazing
the Net: Raising a Generation of Free Range Students"
is of value in terms of helping students to think, explore and make
meaning for themselves.
Science/Math Education for Deaf Students
Many papers have been presented on Web-based math and science education
efforts with deaf learners. For example, the NTID
Symposium "Instructional Technology and Education of the Deaf"
website includes abstracts and papers (in pdf format). We suggest
that you surf this website if you are interested in on-line education
and the applications of technologies in science/math classrooms.
Stay tuned to this COMETS webpage for more. A summary of research
on on-line science education (Lang & Steely, in press) will
be published in a special issue of the journal Instructional Science.
When it is available, we will include it as a reference in this
in the Classroom: Software
educational software specifically geared towards students with deafness
has been mainly in the subject areas of increasing language and
learning skills, and in social studies.
is a database of available software
and reviews of that software by the Laurent Clerc National Deaf
Education Center at Gallaudet University.
site is set up to take evaluations from parents, students, and educators
concerning available software. They have set up criteria guideline
for those interested in critiquing software. These guidelines are
very thorough and complex, and need to be read through carefully.
These guidelines provide appropriate questions for the evaluation
of any software used for educational purposes, but they are specifically
geared towards use for education of students with deafness and hard-of-hearing
nice thing about this resource is that it provides information about
how well particular software works within a classroom, whether a
teacher's manual is provided, which age group this software is appropriate
for, and whether the software is worth obtaining as well as the
cost. What is disappointing is that only 16 software titles are
currently reviewed that involves science, math, technology, and
logic. There seem to be no software titles available for math.
site also provides a list of software with sound that is closed
captioned. The parent or educator can click on the titles, and information
is provided concerning computer requirements.
states that all of their currently available software (DVD-videos)
are closed-captioned. To view the available software go directly
in the Classroom: The Internet and Telecommunications
glut of available information that exists on the Internet comes
with its own set of problems. Many of these problems are being currently
researched and examined in educational situations. While it is recognized
that all students need to become technologically savvy, educators
should also understand that computers and technology of any kind
are a tool. As many tools in a lab or a workshop, these tools need
to be handled with care, and with an awareness of the type of damage
they can do.
order to understand what types of problems overuse of computer systems
can lead to, educators need to know some basics about computer learning
environments. Hypertext is the word coined by Ted Nelson in 1965
& Ragan 1965), for written text that is nonlinear, and in
the process of branching out provides the 'reader' with choices
of paths to take. This is in comparison to textbooks that are for
the most part strictly linear. In using software or on-line educational
sites, which provide nonsequential learning sites, the problem arises
that encouraging this type of learning development may cause students
(both hearing and otherwise) to become 'hyperreaders' (Burbules,1996).
problem with letting students have unlimited and uncontrolled access
to educational sites on-line, is the very real possibility of creating
readers who develop a 'browsing mentality'. Not only can this be
a fundamental problem in Internet use, but also it can crossover
into all types of reading, if the individual student has not developed
good reading skills prior to introduction to the Internet.
Visualizer (Document Camera) or Overhead Projector
camera is able to display by projecting onto the wall any papers,
objects, slides, or overhead transparencies placed under it. It
is convenient for showing individual student's work, objects like
a TTY, pager, or other small item for the whole class to see. The
visualizer has a zoom function so that small text can be enlarged
allowing for the display of specific text (some cameras allow for
a freezing of an image so that the document can be removed while
the image remains on the screen). However, the visualizer can provide
poor resolution for text and reflects glare, which can become barriers
to communication in the classroom.
the visualizer, the overhead projector is able to display work on
a transparency. Benefits include:
- being able
to keep a copy of the notes (they do not need to be erased to
make room for more)
colors can be used to highlight information
- any text
or picture can be made into an transparency with most of today's
Things to keep
- size of
the text can make it difficult to see clearly (try to use font
size 14 for clearest view)
markers can smear causing distracting items
- the fan
for the overheads tend to be loud
space for displaying items
- opaque items
will only be shown as an outline
either the document camera or overhead projector:
aware of where you are standing when you signing additional
information. Make sure you are not standing in the light.
Also, be aware of where the projector is located in relation
to you - is it blocking any of your student's view of what
you are signing?
possible, make copies of your overheads before class to hand out
to students as they enter. This will ease a students need for
split attention. Students will know that they already have a copy
of the material and can therefore focus on what the teacher is
presenting. Also, it is much easier for students to add just a
few notes during a lecture than to try to record everything.
- Also make
copies of any additional papers or examples of student work that
come up during the lesson. Again, this eases the problem of having
to split attention between a presenter and presentation.
Activity: Material Evaluation
Either as a
large group or within smaller groups, have the participants analyze
various examples of overheads. Have the participants discuss issues
of eye strain, text size, placement of information, and interference
caused by to much text or not enough. Have the group(s) pick out
the worst overhead and the best. Have them explain reasons for the
Power Point Presentation
presentations are not just for the business world anymore. Teachers
will find that creating a power point presentation can be a useful
way to create and reduce the number of overhead transparencies necessary
for a particular class.
of the power point presentations include:
- quick control
of font size and format
to print in a variety of formats allowing teachers to emphasize
specific slides or the overall presentation
of hot links that connect directly to the web
of pictures or videos
a high-tech look that is easily photocopied for handouts
are easily modified and saved for later use
- easy to
post on the web or send as an e-mail attachment
can create their own presentations
Some of the
drawbacks to the power point presentation is that teachers may come
to "overuse" the presentation and animations. The tendency
to put too much text may cause students to become lost. Creating
a power point presentation also requires more preparation time.
Also, selection of color scheme is important to make sure that text
is visible and communication is not hindered.
A special projection
system is needed, such as an LCD projector. When using a power point
presentation with students who are deaf remember to allow time for
them to be able to focus on the presentation slides and the presenter
alternately. Often times, a screen will be displayed while the presenter
talks about it and then the presenter quickly changes the screen.
The students are left with having either missed the discussion or
Activity: Issue of Split Attention
Before the workshop, collect a variety of items from around the
room (a pen, a pencil, a hat, a notebook, a water bottle, keys,
etc.). Keep them out of sight from the participants before the activity.
Explain to participants that you want them to take notes both on
the overhead/power point presentation you are about to provide and
also to record the various items that you will hold up during the
presentation. Make sure you keep the items hidden from view both
before and after displaying.
Do not speak
during the presentation (participants are to rely on their eyes
only). Play the power point presentation (or have an assistant flip
through the overheads) fairly quickly so that participants do not
have time to process both the slides and the items being held up.
At times, move so that you are blocking the presentation behind
you or the item you display is possibly blocked from some of the
At the end
of the presentation, ask participants to sit in small groups and
discuss their experience. Was it possible for them to take notes
both both on the power point presentation and the objects at the
same time? Which did they end up focusing on? Why? How is this experience
possibly similar to what deaf students might go through? What can
we as teachers do to arrange the setup of this type of presentation
to facilitate deaf students' learning process?
The SMART Board
interactive whiteboard turns your computer and projector into a
powerful tool for teaching, collaborating and presenting. With a
computer image projected onto the board, you can simply press on
its large, touch-sensitive surface to access and control any application
from your computer screen. It's like having a touch monitor large
enough for the entire class to see.
working with a SMART board:
on your computer screen is displayed for the whole class (worksheets,
websites, applications, etc.)
- With SMART
notebook, notes can be colorized and saved daily. Allowing for
easy printing for any student (or teacher) who would like a copy.
students through a computer exercise is simple and effective.
- SMART board
has a pen tray allowing for the use of highlighting or changing
text color. If you just remove the pen color of choice, you can
even just use your finger tip to write.
- With Network
assistant, student computer screens can be displayed on the SMART
board to share information with the whole class.
Some of the
things to be aware of when working with the SMART board,
- Make sure
not to stand directly in the projection as this can hinder communication
- Only one
person at a time can touch the board (it is not possible to have
two or three students writing at the same time)
- Space on
the board is limited making it difficult at times to display all
the information large enough for all to see everything at once.
WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF USES ITS TECHNOLOGY
by Wayne Kelly - Math/Science Teacher at WPSD.
you have suggestions for information to be included in this page,
or questions about science/mathematics signing, please contact
the Project Director, Harry