The Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) in Danville, KY, recently decided to use TANDBERG video communications equipment to unite its students with the deaf community nationwide. KSD’s 150 elementary, middle and high school students make up a deaf population of only three percent compared to the national average of 10 percent, so the students rarely have opportunities to interact with the deaf community outside of the school.
Clyde Mohan, a teacher at KSD, worked with the school’s Director of Technology Deby Trueblood to decide which equipment to buy for Videoconferencing. Mohan is deaf, but Trueblood is not, so they were able to collaborate on choosing the equipment—a key factor was that it had to meet the needs of both the deaf and hearing.
TANDBERG built unique equipment for the school—two large screens side by side, one for the interpreter and the other for the presenter. With the new equipment, KSD has connected its students with other deaf schools, going on virtual field trips and providing professional development. For the first videoconference, they connected first and second grade classes with a first and second grade class in New Mexico. Students from both areas shared facts and stories about their states.
Trueblood explains that the goals of introducing videoconferencing was to provide “collaboration opportunities between deaf schools, expanding the community with which our kids communicate, increasing both English and American Sign Language skills…and establishing the first annual MegaDEAFConference.” She adds that the system will allow them to share resources such as AP teachers, and notes that a big benefit of using TANDBERG is that the company makes sure KSD can connect with schools that have different equipment.