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New Classroom Technology Helps Deaf Students

VIDEO [CC] - Deaf News: RIT on TV - New classroom technology helps Deaf and Hard of Hearing RIT students.

ROCHESTER, NY -- WHEC-TV: New technology is being used at Rochester Institute of Technology to help students learn and communicate in and out of the classroom.

The new technologies include voice recognition apps, video remote-interpreting and captioning services, just to name a few. This is technology that students say is changing the way they're communicating both in an out of class.

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The ability to fully hear is something some of these RIT students do not have, but the ability to communicate is something they do, and it just got a whole lot easier.

“The world is becoming more accessible to Deaf people,” says Rico Petersen, Assistant Dean and Director of the Department of Access Services. “Typically they might not know sign language, or they might prefer English instead of sign language, so we have a provider that is trained in specialized software. They go into class and type live what is being said.”

It starts with captioning services for entire classrooms - lectures scrolling on a screen in front of the students in real time. The technology can even be brought out of the classrooms and into the lives of the students at home, or with friends thanks to the Ava app, making group face-to-face conversations that much easier. People looking to download the AVA app can email and ask how to sign up or get more info.

Even for those one-on-one studying sessions, new video remote interpreting, or VRIS used.

“It's much easier and more clear using your expression and so forth rather than writing back and forth,” says Bryan ward, RIT gradute.

With 130 interpreters on staff and more than 4,000 hours of interpreting done a week at RIT, this new technology is needed. “It really is having an impact on the Deaf world because it makes access easier to come by,” says Peterson.

The entire Deaf community has access to this new technology. Professors say there are still some situations where interpreters work best, but the new technology is simply a way to make every-day actions easier. Source
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