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AV Technology in Special-education Environments

May 7, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes

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AV technology at Texas School for the Deaf

AV in the classroom can be a powerful teaching tool for educators in any grade. Sights and sounds can bring new life to a history lesson or bring clarity to a science lecture. But what happens when the students being served by AV technology have special needs? At the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) in Austin, teachers at the state’s oldest continuously operating publicly funded school have found the answer.

Since its founding in 1857, TSD has seen more than 10,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing students pass through the school. TSD’s focus is on creating a rich learning environment for their students and serving as a resource center on deafness for parents and professionals. The weekday residential program for students age 0-22 is part of a 67-acre campus facility near downtown Austin.

“Five years ago, we began a laptop initiative designed to give each high school student a laptop. Each of our 200 high-school students has an Apple laptop 24/7 and they can take it with them when they return home on the weekends,” says Mari Liles, TSD’s director of technology. Liles works with TSD teachers and students with technology and technology training. “During the first year of our initiative, we were recommended the Promethean Activboards by our Apple sales rep.”

TSD received its first 10 Promethean Activboards and deployed them to the high-school and middle-school teachers. “During the first year of use, we put the boards on wheels instead of mounting them on the wall. Very quickly, we found that once the teachers integrated the Activboards into their lessons, they could not share with other teachers,” Liles says. "Once you have a Promethean Activboard, it does change the way teachers teach and kids learn."

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