Educational Excellence Through Collaboration & Innovation
Submitted by:
Harold A. Johnson
Kent State University
2/1/97

The Spencer Foundation
900 North Michigan Avenue - Suite 2800
Chicago, IL 60611-1542

A. Project Community

There are over 60,000 deaf/hard-of-hearing students (d/hh) being educated in U.S. K-12 schools. While the students education is directly guided by their parents and teachers, faculty and preservice teachers (i.e., individuals who are in preparation to become teachers) at 72 Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Programs serve to further enrich and support the d/hh students educational experiences. This community of individuals (i.e., parents, teachers, faculty and preservice teachers) share a common goal, i.e., to do their best to enhance the linguistic, social and academic achievement of their students. The community also share two common frustrations: 1) they experience a great deal of professional and informational isolation within their work; and 2) they lack adequate resources to accomplish their goal.
This isolation and lack of resources, combined with the inherent complexities of education, have resulted in a consistent failure of Deaf Education to effectively educate its students. This project addresses this failure through a collaborative effort of the Deaf Education community in which effective instructional strategies and curriculum materials are researched, described and shared via the innovative application of preservice teachers' field experiences and Internet technologies/resources.

B. Project Purpose

The purpose of this project is to establish an Internet based, collaborative network of the parents, teachers, faculty and preservice teachers who work within the field of Deaf Education. The primary focus of this network is the identification, description and sharing of instructional strategies and curriculum materials found to be effective with d/hh students. A secondary focus of the network is to encourage collaborative activities to expand learning opportunities for d/hh students, their parents, teachers, faculty and preservice teachers. Finally, of equal importance, will be the integration of Internet technologies and resources into the education of d/hh students and the initial/ongoing professional development and support of the students parents, teachers, faculty and preservice teachers. Project activities have been designed to strengthen and expand the community of individuals who research and share information concerning the effective education of d/hh students.

C. Project Goals

This project has been designed to accomplish three basic goals:
  1. Identify U.S. Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Programs (TPP) willing to establish a collaborative network and willing to assume responsibility for network activities within their region of the country.
  2. Provide on-site training, at the identified TPP , to parents, teachers, faculty and preservice teachers concerning how Internet based technologies (i.e., e-mail, listserv, Web sites, Web search engines, chat rooms and HTML editors) and resources (e.g., the Council on the Education of the Deaf Web site [http://www.educ.kent.edu/deafed]) can be utilized to reduce interpersonal and informational isolation, while systematically increasing instructional effectiveness.
  3. Establish collaborative plans through which each participating TPP agrees to:
    • use the practicum and student teaching experiences of preservice teachers to research:
      • instructional strategies and curriculum materials used by their mentoring teachers (i.e., those teachers with whom they are placed for practicum and student teaching experiences), parents of d/hh students and their college professors;
      • professional information that their mentoring teachers, the parents of d/hh students and their college professors would like to know or share;
      • collaborative opportunities that their mentoring teachers, the parents of d/hh students and college professors would like to establish or participate;
    • use preservice teachers, employed at minimum wage, to share the resulting information, gathered as stated above, with the field of Deaf Education through the development (i.e., HTML editing to produce Web pages) and use of Web technologies (e.g., e-mail, listserv, chat rooms and Web sites);
    • use parents, teachers and faculty to share the resulting information at meetings, conferences (e.g., Association of College Educators of Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing) and publications.
  4. Implement the TPP collaborative plans and monitor the subsequent type, amount and diversity of information and collaborative opportunities that are both generated and utilized as a result of the project activities.

D. Project Design

1. Network Building
This project uses the collaborative technologies of the Internet, the research expertise of faculty, the instructional experiences of teachers and the knowledge of parents, all linked by the practicum and student teaching experiences of preservice teachers, to research, describe and share the use of effective instructional strategies, curricular materials and learning opportunities for d/hh students. The resulting data base of effective instructional strategies, curricular materials and collaborative opportunities will serve to not only enhance the education of d/hh students, but also the initial and ongoing professional development of their teachers and the support of their parents.

2. Participants & Responsibilities
Ten Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Programs, their faculty, preservice students, K-12 practicum and student teaching mentoring teachers and parents comprise the project's immediate community. Dr. Harold Johnson, Kent State University, will serve as Project Director. Dr. Johnson is responsible for the following activities:
Project Supervision will be carried out by the Director of the Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Program at each participating TPP. Those Directors and Preparation Programs are as follows:
Each Project Supervisor is responsible for the following activities:

3. Participant Communication & Interactions

Communication between project participants occurs at five levels. First, 2.5 days of on-site training will be provided for each participating TPP. This on-site work will be used to establish the necessary Internet skills and collaborative agreements. Second, a project listserv will be used to collect and share the information and activities of all project participants. Third, phone contacts will be used by the Project Director and Supervisors to identify and resolve project problems. Fourth, the Project Director and Supervisors will meet at the annual conference of the Association of College Educators of Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing to share their resulting information and insights with each other and our colleagues. Finally, all of the information generated by the project will be shared via the Council on the Education Deaf Education Web Site (i.e., http://www.educ.kent.edu/deafed) and submitted for publication in professional journals.