This summer, thousands of Gallaudet University students and faculty received a special welcome set. Inside, they found some important Bison equipment – the school’s mascot – including a sweater, stickers and a notebook. There were also some powerful learning tools that would be crucial to the external fall semester. All students and teachers were equipped with a new iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio.
With iPad Pro, Gallaudet marks the next chapter in its mission to offer students knowledge and practical skills that are critical to achieving personal and professional success. It is also a core component of Connected Gallaudet, an initiative that consists of three imperatives in the university’s strategic plan: equity and affiliation, bilingual mission and innovation.
“We are grateful to Apple for entering into this exciting partnership with us, and for its support in so many other ways,” said Roberta J. Cordano, President of Gallaudet University. “While Connected Gallaudet was in the works even before the new coronavirus pandemic, it has become transformative for us as we moved completely online in the fall semester.”
Gallaudet University has always been a center for advanced learning and teaching methods. From its founding in 1864 with 8 deaf students, to the thriving university community with over two thousand students and teachers today, Gallaudet has become the leading institution of higher education for the deaf and hard of hearing. As many schools around the world face the challenges of distance learning with electronic classes, Gallaudet stands as an example of what teachers and students can do with the creativity driven by personal technology.
SaraBeth Sullivan, fourth year Ph.D. student in the university’s pedagogical neuroscience program, thinks the flexibility of the iPad Pro is very useful. With iCloud, she can sync files across her devices, and she takes full advantage of Sidecar by using an extra screen during online class presentations. These features help external learning experiences stay personal.
“In my advanced statistics class that used R to analyze data, I struggled with a piece of code that gave me repeated errors,” says Sullivan. “I was able to share my screen with my professor over Zoom and leave the controls to her. She was able to work on my iPad, work on my code, solve the problem! Without my iPad, this would have been more difficult. ”
iPad Pro is also designed with built-in accessibility features, including the Live List for fine-tuning AirPods and hearing aids, as well as subtitles for reading dialogue and viewing music and sound effects while watching movies and TV shows. The App Store on iPad and iPhone also has bilingual apps.
“I can connect my hearing aid to my iPad using Bluetooth,” says Sullivan. “And for students, I recommend VL2 Storybook apps that support learning in both American Sign Language and English.”
Gallaud’s use of technology is an important part of all academic programs and services. Almost all courses at Gallaudet have an online component, and students take at least one course with an online learning system. This level of technological integration is higher than the average for universities nationwide, with courses at Gallaudet that largely use visual applications and video. Gallaudet students and the faculty were well prepared for today’s challenges, and utilized the latest features and capabilities in their work.
Dr. Julie A. Hochgesang, Ph.D. and associate professor at the Department of Linguistics, teaches field methods and phonology in signed languages, and researches language documentation and corpus linguistics. This means that she constantly observes, evaluates and researches how people use language. Dr. Hochgesang finds technology important, often using Markup to create raw data notes, AirDrop to share files, AirPlay for presentations and Sidecar. When COVID-19 hit, many deaf people around the world talked about the crisis. They also figured out how to talk about it.
“These were words and signs we used for concepts most of us had never seen before,” says Dr. Hochgesang. “I saw a lot of videos and written posts online, and saw the different characters people used. I was able to record or take a screenshot of these examples and immediately select them and paste them into the Notes app or upload them to the iMovie app to compile them. ”
The iPad Pro is also useful for ensuring that Dr. Hochgesang engages well with his linguistics students in external classes by maximizing the sizes of their individual online on-screen monitors. Visual contact is essential.
“With the iPad Pro, I can connect to the computer and run the split screen,” says Dr. Hochgesang. “I use Keynote for all my presentations, so I can see the presentation on the iPad Pro, and make all the embedded screens even bigger, so I can see all my students.”
Apple also gives students opportunities in technology after graduating from Gallaudet. Apple Carnegie Library, in Washington, DC, has several recruitment efforts with Gallaudet, and currently has more than 30 team members in the deaf and hard of hearing. Many are Gallaudet alumni.
Jasmin Leon, a People Operations Planner at the Apple Carnegie Library, and a 2019 Gallaudet alum, supports hiring work and has seen the innovation Gallaudet alumni have inspired across the team.
“We have established a freedom of prejudice and a willingness to try different approaches that best suit our customers,” says Leon. “With the trust and the strong working relationship between us, we were able to create the best experience for all of us. It may use the iPad to communicate with a deaf customer. It may launch the Big app on the iPhone, but it’s definitely collaborating with teammates who are deaf. We are constantly finding new ways to communicate with the deaf community. ”
When asked about her experience and preparations during her time at Gallaudet, Leon again mentions the university’s tradition of pushing the learning experiences forward.
“When I attended my social work classes, we wanted to focus on the importance of technology and how it affects our young people, especially their early childhood education,” says Leon. “We analyzed and discovered the results of early exposure to coding, reading and how graphic design unleashed their creativity and curiosity about learning. If
I must describe Gallaudet University in one sentence, there must be innovation in technology. ”
This autumn, Apple and Gallaudet have also collaborated on the inauguration of scholarships for students with colors with disabilities who work with degrees and courses in information technology, informatics and other science, technology and mathematics fields. The new scholarships will also give students the opportunity to participate in Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
“It’s an honor to work with such an innovative institution as Gallaudet,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s Vice President of Markets, Apps and Services. “It’s great to see that technology has this kind of impact on an entire university, while coding is combined with American sign language and creativity. It’s so exciting that Gallaudet students will participate in WWDC next year. ”
MacDailyNews Take: Congratulations, Gallaudet students and faculty!