Internet and the Art of Discussion

Key words: Instructional Strategies/Language/K-12

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Date: Sat, 18 May 1996 22:26:21 EDT

Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

From: Cathy Brandt

Subject: Re: request for help

To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

In-Reply-To: Message of Fri, 10 May 1996 21:22:10 +1000 from

On Fri, 10 May 1996 21:22:10 +1000 David Gregory Randall said:

>Hi all subscribers to Edudeaf. I am seeking assistance with possible resources and research on use of email/internet with deaf students.

I have been using the Internet and email in my classroom of students who are deaf for the past four years. If you have specific questions I'd be happy to answer them.

>I am currently formulating a minor research proposal in this area and in coming into this area relatively inexperienced, finding building a literature search somewhat difficult. I am hoping someone out there in the field may have come across articles/references found to be particularly useful and is able to let me know.

I know others have tried to do searches and there is a small amount of published material on this. Harvard Educator's Letter: Guide to the Internet does contain information about what one of my classes a few years back did.

I also started the list Deafkids which is on the Net. It doesn't have much activity. I'm waiting for some kind soul from this list to help me and see if we can't develop a project which would teach the art of discussion in classrooms and then use Deafkids as a place to practice what is learned in the classroom. The discussions could range from teen stars to current issues around the world.

I've come to the conclusion based on the activity of Deafkids that kids of this age who subscribe to the list aren't aware of how to use a listserv for the sake of DISCUSSION. I wish I had the time to develop and implement such a project.

Any of you folks out there want to tackle this?

Mardi Loeterman has done research for a book she is writing about the uses of technology in deaf education. You might check with her. She's on this list.

To be quite honest - I'm rather ignorant of info that is in print on children who are deaf using the Internet at school.

Cathy

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Date: Sun, 19 May 1996 10:33:37 EDT

Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

From: Cathy Brandt

Subject: Re: request for help/thanks

To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

In-Reply-To: Message of Sun, 19 May 1996 21:16:05 +1000 from

Hi David and all,

I am posting this note to David to the entire list because I believe it has bearing on all of us and would be of interest to many.

Judith Harkins and Cindy King have also done a considerable amount of work in this area. I must have been brain dead when I posted to not put them first. They both have done some wonderful studies. Telecommunications for All is a project which is currently underway. Project ALIVE is another fantastic program which Dr. King and others on this list are conducting.

Now the extent to which either of these use the Internet would be best interested by those involved. There is work out there occuring in the area of technology and deaf education. And it's great that someone is out there digging around as Mardi did and as others are doing.

We need to know effective means of integration of technology so that we are not wasting dollars, time and children's learning on flare and pizzazz.

Other people are also doing some things with the WWW. You should check out resources there as well. I'm not on my system with all of my bookmarks. So, I can't give you specific URL's to check.

But, folks here have posted many. Lisa Sommers, my EXCELLENT, wonderful, terrific, resourceful cyber student teacher probably has a list of URL's relative to deaf education.

She will be sharing lots of info and good news with the list soon. She has worked very hard this semester to put together some outstanding information and resources. I will give her the honor of sharing her work with you. It will be forthcoming shortly. It should be encouraging in the sense that no one needs to reinvent the wheel. There's a topic out there that needs study and research. Not enough has been done on the effectiveness of the Internet in classrooms of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Go to it!! Go find out who is using it, how, what students are accomplishing, how it affects their learning and the potential impact it can have on their education and life.

Won't be much on which to keep an eye. Not a lot happens on Deafkids. I'm not sure why. My guess is that we as teachers who have allowed our kids to subscribe have not done a good job of teaching them HOW to use this new medium. We expect it to just take off and fly like EDUDEAF. But, what is forgotten is that we as adults already know how to discuss subjects, offer opinions, comment on others' ideas, question others' statements, elaborate on given material etc. I say too many children who are deaf do NOT use these skills enough in face to face communication to be able to do it effectively through this medium.

This is needed as a part of our language arts programs. Hmmmmmmm, are we doing an adequate job of teaching this or creating an environment which fosters the development of this interactive use of language?

Good question for another subject heading.

Cathy

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Date: Sun, 19 May 1996 12:30:23 -0600

Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

From: jmsimes@STTHOMAS.EDU

Subject: Internet and the Art of Discussion

To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF I agree that maybe some kids don't know the art of discussion though I also know it is something teachers in my program work on a lot. However, I think an even bigger reason things might not be taking off is limited access to Internet--(limited access to computers and sufficient time to work with the kids in general may be more like it.........). As far as I know, I'm the only teacher in my building that has much knowledge of Internet. I've worked at promoting it around the school, but there have been no takers to my offers of free training. I've also talked it up at the Metro area networking group I am a representative for my school too and no one is really interested. Main reason? Lack of time and access to computers.

I started out with good intentions this year to get the kids I work with on line, but it's been hard to maintain anything. My school has one modem and line to connect with the outside world. It's located in the media center in a fairly busy place on a computer that is used for a lot of other things too. Basically it's set up for one person to use with space for maybe one or two others to share. I've been trying to get it moved to another place, but have been told that's the only place it can be because of the way it has to be connected to other things.

Guess my point is that there may be a lot of reasons DeafKids hasn't taken off in addition to not being skilled in the art of discussion. When I look at all the needs my students have, I find it hard to give teaching them how to use Internet or participate in discussion on Deafkids much priority at this point in time given the conditions at my school. I just have a certain amount of energy and really have to pick and choose which "battles" are worth pursuing at the time.

> This is needed as a part of our language arts programs. Hmmmmmmm, are we doing an adequate job of teaching this or creating an environment which fosters the development of this interactive use of language?

Exactly.... that's what teachers in Minneapolis asked ourselves when we revamped our language curriculum more than ten years ago. What good is language if you don't know how to interact? Interaction skill is now 1 of the 5 key components we systematically track in all students, and it has really payed off big time!

Just my $.02.......now back to lurking until I get the final draft of my dissertation written.........

Jolinda
jmsimes@stthomas.edu

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Date: Sun, 19 May 1996 15:37:50 -0400

Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

From: ljsemesky

Subject: Re: Internet and the Art of Discussion

To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

Cruising the net involves alot of typing which is a skill most younger kids do not have, and older kids may not have unless they use tty alot. In the hearing world, few kids, until they reach highschool, have enough typing skills to really be able to converse well using email. So, even if you have a deaf population familiar w/ tty, then they only have each other to converse with assuming they're connected. In reality, not that many schools are participating in the net. Even where they are connected, there is such ignorance on the part of most teachers that there is no one there to support the children's efforts. I believe that if kids could sign and/or talk on the net without having to type, you would see alot more participation...assuming they were connected.

In addition, kids like instant gratification...With email, there are often relatively long waits for responses, so the rewards are not so great from a child's perspective. Online chat groups, where everyone is heard simultaneously, is a lot better medium, because you then have multiple threads running with more than two people keeping up a conversation and stimulating it with new ideas. I believe that you will find such a coordinated session to generate alot more excitement and response in your kids. You should investigate getting together with two to three other schools interested in web correspondence and see about setting up chat sessions designated for a specific time. It's a little more costly, but there are chat rooms on the web that you can rent out for nominal fees.

My 2 cents...worth what you paid for it!

Linda Semesky 8-)

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Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 01:20:05 EDT

Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

From: Cathy Brandt

Subject: Re: Internet and the Art of Discussion

Comments: To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

In-Reply-To: Message of Sun, 19 May 1996 12:30:23 -0600 from I agree 100%. As a state technology trainer I see this occuring all over our state and we are #1 in amount of dollars spent on technology in the schools. The Internet may be the "buzz word" right now in a lot of settings. But, it has DEFINITELY not found its way into a majority of classrooms. I am one of the few blessed ones. (I give the credit to my principal)

>work with the kids in general may be more like it.........). As far as I

Time is definitely #2 to Access when it comes to obstacles teachers face with using technology.

>know, I'm the only teacher in my building that has much knowledge of Internet. I've worked at promoting it around the school, but there have been no takers to my offers of free training. I've also talked it up at

Training, Courage to take training, understanding the need to take the training are all major barriers we face as we attempt to share what we have found as beneficial with others.

>the Metro area networking group I am a representative for my school too and no one is really interested. Main reason? Lack of time and access to computers.

Same across the nation.

>Guess my point is that there may be a lot of reasons DeafKids hasn't taken off in addition to not being skilled in the art of discussion. When I look

I understand and accept all of your points, Jolinda. But, I was speaking more directly of the kids who ARE ALREADY SUBSCRIBED to Deafkids. They obviously have some sort of access. Some adult has probably helped them locate and subscribe. But, when topics have been posted in the past (only a few have been) the kids don't discuss as we do here. When they talked about CI's all they could do was say they hated them or that they had them. No one TALKED ABOUT CI's. They simply stated an opinion or fact. Very little was done to support that, inquire about the other's positions or attempt to understand the other's point of view.

My question really was aimed at "do these kids have discussion skills." Perhaps they do have and I as moderator have not done a good job of bringing that out or modeling for them what a listserv is or how it is to be used. Perhaps they have those skills and just aren't using them on Deafkids.

The question is more about those kids who are already there not those that aren't there. There are several sub-topics or mini-threads within this thread.
One is - Why are teachers not using technology more in the classroom? (Access, Time, Training)
Two is - How can we continue to build discussion skills in children?
Three is - How can we utilize the current technology of a listserv to enhance, motivate and strengthen the discussion skills of children?

>at all the needs my students have, I find it hard to give teaching them how to use Internet or participate in discussion on Deafkids much priority at this point in time given the conditions at my school. I just have a

I certainly understand and respect this. You are the best person to know which tools are most effective for teaching your students the skills they need. The Internet is not the "end all be all" that will solve all of our problems. If we think it will we are BIG TIME mistaken.

I guess my question is given THIS ONE TOOL (and we all have many) is there a way to effectively INTEGRATE it into our curriculum (for some this won't be possible due to the Access issue) to encourage, increase and improve the language skills of our students.

In other words - For those who DO have access is there a way that we as teachers can use the Internet and listservs to create, stimulate and foster the art of discussion? If it IS a tool in our box is it an effective one to use in conjunction with other tools to give children new and meaningful opportunities to interact with a wider variety of communication partners?

I have no concrete answers. I am asking questions of those of you/us who have been teaching language for umpteen years. Can we look at old things in new ways?

>Exactly.... that's what teachers in Minneapolis asked ourselves when we revamped our language curriculum more than ten years ago. What good is language if you don't know how to interact? Interaction skill is now 1 of the 5 key components we systematically track in all students, and it has really payed off big time!

You all hit the nail on the head in my opinion. I think this is the critical key to what we are all doing. And my question now ten years later is, Can we use the Internet (a new tool) to help promote, implement and build that same skill that is still IMHO a critical component to language development and deaf education?

>Just my $.02.......now back to lurking until I get the final draft of my dissertation written.........

I'd put a whole lot more value than $.02 on your comments, Jolinda. :)

Cathy

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Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 23:29:06 PST

Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

From: cwilliams@BBS.SD68.NANAIMO.BC.CA

Subject: Re: Internet and the Art of Discussion

To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

I have to agree with Jolinda that lack of computers is a reason DeafKids is not more popular. We must also remember that 78% (last figure I read) of our students are mainstreamed. I wonder what percentage are served by an itinerant teacher? I am not able to be with my students all day. I tried to get one of my girls on DeafKids but she had LIMITED access to a computer with a modem and by the time I showed up our time together would have been over before we were linked up.

At home, only 6 of my 43 deaf or hard of hearing students have computers with internet access (and none of those are Deaf). We have a long way to go before the world is truly "at our fingertips". But we'll get there :)

Cindy
cwilliams@bbs.sd68.nanaimo.bc.ca

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Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 19:58:09 +1000

Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

From: Novak

Subject: Re: Internet and the Art of Discussion

To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

Jolinda,

I too am in a similar position to you. We have only one modem and one outlet for the Internet. It too has been put in the library - main reason being that we regard it more as a research tool to supplement the library resources - at least it will be once we get up and running more fully.

One of the best ways I have found to enthuse others is to work with one teacher at a time. Once one teacher "gets into it" others will become inspired. Having another expert on staff also lessens the load on that one person to teach all others. I am hoping that people I work with will teach others.

Having reasons to use Internet is really important. It's the same with all things in life, if you don't have a reason to do something then you will never do it. I guess what I am driving at is that it is us who need to demonstrate a value in using the Internet to both students and staff.

Potentially the Internet has much to offer our students - defineitely a way of linking them to the wider world. The difficulty I find is how to translate a predominantly text based medium into something attractive to Deaf students who find reading English a major obstacle. Trying to inspire them into wading through all the words, teaching them to skim for keywords and teaching them how to use the Internet are issues I am really grappling with at the moment.

Bev Novak
novak@netoptions.com.au
Melbourne, Australia.

Uploaded by: Melissa Close/Kent State University/Deaf Education Major