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April 6, 2006

High-tech Carson classroom helping hearing impaired students

From: KRNV, NV - Apr 6, 2006

Technology has helped shape education ever since the invention of the printing press, but now new technology is opening doors previously reserved for science fiction.

Some people may take for granted how easy it is to communicate when you have your hearing, but for some fortunate Carson High students, subtitles and writing are no longer necessary.

The classroom appears to be a normal classroom, but it sounds like nothing you've ever heard before.

The primary source of communication inside the class for the hearing impaired students is sign language, and for years the primary source of communication outside the classroom were TTY devices, but now technology is changing all of that.

Chelsea Owen-Self, senior, Carson High, "If you use a TTY you just sit there and type all the time. It works your hands, you forget about signing. It's a typing issue. Finally I can sign!"

Chelsea is a college bound Carson High senior. She's already using the technology to communicate with her soon to be professors at Gallaudet University in Washington DC.

But the service does more than help students with education, it also helps with communication.

An interpreter can be reached with a push of a button to make a telephone call and give instant interpretation.

Teacher, Marci Wilson, "If you want to talk to hearing people then you have to go through an operator. With this it's direct communication.

"It will improve the signing. They'll be able to see people's expression, which is a huge part of the language. It will improve your receptive communication. You'll be able to talk to the people better, find out what they are doing. Find out everything about their lives."

The best part however may be the price; the service is offered free to anyone who's hearing impaired, provided you have a TV and a high speed Internet connection.

To find out more visit Sorenson's website. They are the company that provides the hardware and installation.

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