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CSDVRS and Join Together Project VRS Competition Winners

   The nation-wide VRS Competition was held November 2006. The competition focus was sharing how the use of VRS can enhance teaching and learning. The two categories were:

  • Creative, innovative ideas or ways to use VRS as an educational tool.
  • Short story detailing how actual use of VRS improved thinking and learning.
Actual Use Competition

First Place
Margaret Collier, Mississippi School for the Deaf
Pizza Party Fractions
"When teaching a unit on fractions, I used VRS to culminate the unit. After teaching the students how to add and subtract fractions, I allowed them to have a pizza party, but they had to plan and pay for it themselves. They figured how many students were in the class, then estimated how much pizza they would need to order, which was a perfect way to apply the knowledge they had acquired. It also encouraged cooperative learning and responsibility. Then I chose the most oral student and had him call Dominos to place the order. Because his ASL skills were the weakest, it was an opportunity for him to use and receive signs without depending on his speech. He had to order the correct amount and type of pizza, describe where to deliver the pizza, and report the amount owed back to the class. They collected the money, figured in the tip, and paid for the pizzas themselves. The party was great fun besides being a positive reinforcement and practical application of the fractions lesson they learned. "

Creative Idea Competition

Second Place
Kester Marsh, Kansas State School for the Deaf
Video Pal Program
   Since there is increasing interest in American Sign language and Deaf Culture by hearing people, and, conversely, Deaf and Hard of Hearing people must learn to live and communicate with hearing people on a daily basis, I believe that a "video pal" program would be beneficial to both sets of people.
   With video pals, live communication can occur so that language and culture is not presented in a suspended form. Using VRS would allow spoken-language users to interface with sign-language users. As it is live, both sets of users could see real people demonstrating real cultural situations and authentic/contextual language use. Most hearing people use four language skills--speaking, listening, reading, and writing/typing.
Most Deaf/hard of Hearing people use more than twice the language skills, including the previous four plus signing, visual listening, viewing, finger spelling, finger reading, and lip reading. VRS could be used not only as a tool to practice the common language skills, such as signing and visual listening. All of these language abilities could be creatively used to communicate when ASL is not understood and speaking and lip-reading break down.
   With the use of VRS in the classroom, D/HH students could converse with hearing students in their own region to teach cultural values as well as ASL. The D/HH students would benefit by experiencing increased awareness and sensitivity to their culture and language locally while out in public.
   With the use of VRS in the classroom, hearing ASL students could learn ASL and about Deaf Culture more quickly and authentically. They could also earn more money in future jobs by knowing a second language (marketable skill).
With today's technology of VRS, we can bridge the gap of misunderstanding and under-communication by both the hearing and Deaf worlds by offering live communication in the classroom without spending the precious educational dollars it requires to travel. [Submission edited, to shorten, by Join Together Project for use on this webpage.]

Third Place
Iris Stuart, Mississippi School for the Deaf
"Meet new people and practice etiquette. Improve communication skills through the use of the D-Link. Collaborate on a research project with another class across the nation. "

Updated: 5/1/07
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