Summaries Home Page

From Concept to Reality:

Internet Opportunities for Professional Development and Collaboration

Susan Brooks, Harold Johnson, & Pamela Luft, Kent State University; Karen Jensen, California State University-Fresno; Suzanne Rosenberg, Bowling Green State University; Julie Reichman, University of Arizona; Olga Welch, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The field of deaf education is in a state of transition. Whether or not this transition is moving toward a state of confusion and continued competition or toward one of collaboration and cooperation may depend upon the use of technology and telecommunications. Both technology and telecommunications have the capability of effectively reducing the sense of geographical and professional isolation felt by many teachers in the field, while enhancing curricular opportunities in both public and residential schools and initial teacher preparation programs.

Transition is a state of being. Change is a constant factor within all systems. However, frequently such change is chaotic, unplanned, and unpredictable. The field of deaf education is currently challenged with a number of national trends, technological opportunities, and historic frustrations. This segment of the presentation was used to identify an array of theoretical constructs that can be used to guide the field s movement from what was to what can be.

Computer-based technologies are becoming increasingly available in schools. Unfortunately, there is little information concerning the problems encountered and the applications sought. This segment of the presentation shared the results of a nationwide phone survey of how large deaf education programs are accessing and using internet- based resources.

Closed-captioned television programming (CCTV) has been a viable curricular option for improving literacy for the past 15 years. Its educational application within classrooms, however, has not increased significantly during this time. This segment of the presentation shared how CCTV can be used in conjunction with computer technology and the internet to support a variety of instructional strategies aimed at improving literacy rates for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

The internet currently provides a vast and confusing array of opportunities. Fortunately, three specific activities have been recently established to assist educators of the deaf in their use of this potentially invaluable resource. This segment of the presentation shared information concerning a discussion group of teachers (edudeaf), an electronic mentoring project of preservice teachers (cyber- teacher) and emerging libraries of educationally pertinent materials (CED and other internet sites).

Universities have the responsibility to share and develop information and strategies that teachers need to be effective in their education of deaf students. Historically, each university has worked in isolation to accomplish this goal. Current educational trends, economic pressures, and societal expectations challenge this operational design. The technologies described within this presentation offer the potential to dramatically alter how information is gathered, shared, and developed. This final segment of the presentation outlined how these technologies can be combined into the preparation of new teachers and the ongoing support of existing teachers.