ROUGHLY EDITED FILE
TECHNOLOGY AND DEAF EDUCATION
JUNE 23, 2010
11:00 AM ET
USING DISTANCE LEARNING TOOLS TO CONNECT STUDENTS, PARENTS
PRESENTERS: SHELLEY ARDIS & RICHARD FLORES
ON-SITE CART PROVIDED BY ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION SERVICES
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This is being provided in a rough-draft format. Communication
Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to
facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally
verbatim record of the proceedings
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>> Good morning. I believe that we're going to begin this
enlightening presentation. I would like to introduce
Shelley and Richard who will be presenting to you about the use
of distant learning tools to connect with parents, students,
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Thank you very much. We are from the
Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, which is a public
boarding program that covers the entire State of Florida.
We're going to talk about three different areas, three
different audiences that we're serving with our distant
learning project. We have a grant. We're in the 3rd year of
hopefully a pretty long-term grant to develop more distant
learning technologies so that parents, students, professionals
statewide, and the public have more access to what we do at the
school. And to enhance how things work.
For parents, they work and live far from campus. We're in
the northeast corner of Florida. It's an eight-hour drive
across the panhandle, and an eight-hour drive down to the Keys.
And we have students from the entire state. So families cannot
participate in all of the school events and activities that we
hoped that they would be able to participate in. They also
miss opportunities to see their child perform. It's hard to
attend meetings, especially informal ones that pop up.
Students also, we have a very high-tech campus. A lot of
technology in all of the classrooms. We're engaging the
students, and also to make sure that they are prepared for the
future, whether it's postsecondary programs or just for their
And then professionals. Not only does the school itself have
an outreach mission, but we have two state agencies that are
housed at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, which
serves school-aged children statewide and professionals, and
part of the work that we're doing is to benefit those agencies
as well. A little about the school. It's a public boarding
program, 70 acres, beautiful campus, and right now we serve
about 650 students deaf and blind.
For parents, they were the biggest, most successful starting
place for us because they had a very personal desire to be
involved. They want to know what's going on with their little
child, how they're being taken care of, and they want to
communicate with us back at the school. So it was a very
natural place to start if we wanted to get the most bang for
our buck. So the first thing that we started doing is live
broadcasting on the Internet, performances, guest speakers,
athletic events, anything that we could broadcast live we put
out there live. Our ratings -- or not ratings, but number of
viewers have skyrocketed. We'll talk about that, how many
viewers we've had, either at our live stream or looking at
things that we've posted on the Internet.
The other thing that was very successful from day 1 is meeting
rooms for parents to be able to log in from their home, or from
their workplace, and still have a communication with teachers
and staff. We have done some IP meetings virtually, remotely,
but we've also had very informal meetings. One of the things
that's made this successful is having teachers trained as
facilitators so that the staff and the families don't have to
worry about the technology. They worry about the content.
They worry about materials. They worry about the human pieces
and parts. And then we have another teacher that comes in to
worry about the wires, the connections, the call-in
information, all of the technical ends.
It's very easy in the long run. I think that the staff will
gain confidence, and then be able to get things up and running
without that facilitator, but there is no way that we could
have gotten this off the ground without tech support at each
building level. And then a new project we started this spring
is online ASL classes. We're going to go into the detail of
the technologies that we're using. As we go for some topics,
and in-depth at the end for some of these because they used a
lot of technology.
And Richard is going to talk very detailed about the
Student projects, as I mentioned, we really want our students
to be prepared for being independent learners, life-long
learners. We though they can't apply for a job at Walmart
without using a computer because when you walk into a place
like that to apply for a job, you use a kiosk computer. The
students have to have technology skills. They have to be able
to read those forms. They have to be able to navigate in that
virtual world. And we know without having online programs as
part of the classroom, the parents and the teachers would not
be ready. So we're jumping in with two feet and running.
In our high school program we're using a free course
management system called Edmodo. It has social networking
features so that kids can post their status, teachers can post
announcements, kids turn in their work there. The teachers can
then monitor who is chatting with who, what they're saying,
what they're uploading, they can't lose their homework anymore.
They don't have to worry about if they're being sent off to
mom's house, dad's house, as long as there is a computer. If
there isn't a computer that's a problem. Some of the dorms
don't have the dorm supervisors that were confident enough with
the technology to help. But students are starting to take off.
So we're going to look into that issue next year.
This is a hybrid classroom design. The students are coming
and sitting in the high school classroom face to face with the
teacher, but they're interacting in the Edmodo classroom for
the uploading of assignments, posting of assignments, they have
a calendar, they have all of the management tools and the
online piece of the classroom. So it's bridging the kids from
face to face dependent on the teacher, dependent on paper to
Some other curriculum programs that we're using, one is
called VoiceThread, and I will pop this one up so that you can
take a look at it, and BrainPop. Voicethread allows you to
take a piece of media and put it into the middle of the screen.
I won't be logged in on this one. We might have to browse for
an example. And then peers can comment on the piece of media
in the middle of the screen. This has been dedicated --
>> What is a VoiceThread? It's a tool for having
conversation around media, whether it's images, videos,
documents, presentations, or any combination of them. A
VoiceThread can securely capture and hold an entire group
discussion on one simple page.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: So for example, on this example, they have
an image here in the middle. All the pictures on the outside
are participants who can annotate on that picture and comment.
They can sign. It can be a video comment. You can write along
that to leave text, like little text comment, so it's very
powerful. And just using video is engaging to the students.
Any time we use pictures and allow them to peer comment they're
BrainPop is a program that has animated cartoons. For many
years we pushed them to have captions because the materials are
beautiful, but they were not accessible for our kids. They now
have all of their content captioned for BrainPop and BrainPop
Junior. It's phenomenal content. They take a hard concept or
interesting concept, the free one of the week yesterday was,
"What is a booger?"
And they explain with animation what they're explaining.
They have it across the curriculum, science, social studies,
English, math, arts and music, health, and tech -- technology.
Most have a free version or trial version, and then you can
subscribe. So now I am streaming for those who aren't seeing
the web, the far away people that aren't seeing the web.
>> There was a lot of fighting in that play. Wow!
>> SHELLY ARDIS: It's an animated cartoon with cartoon
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Go ahead and pause. Let's go back to our
presentation. The animation is clear, crisp, engaging, and it
really breaks down a piece of content as a little two-minute
clip, and the kids understand because it's so visually engaging
you have the text so that the kids are getting the vocabulary
that they need with that visual presentation of the concept.
It's beautiful. Much more higher-tech curriculum program is a
system called Safari Montage. This program is a video-on-
demand system, like net flicks, but for the school. It's a
full suite actually of curricular materials, cross-curricular.
We decided to purchase safari montage a few years ago when we
got this grant fund. It's a little bit expensive. But it
allowed us to stream internally within the school's campus
instead of pulling video down from the web.
So this isn't like You Tube. You don't look for the video on
the web and then pull it down taking up your bandwidth. It
stays on a server on our school campus so we're moving that
media across our network which isn't as intrusive on the
bandwidth as something that was off-campus. We can also upload
our own content which we wanted to do. You can make play
lists. So when we have signing stories or announcements or
students that produce their own TV programs, anything that they
were producing in video or images, collections, we can upload
into the system and then advertise the link campus-wide. They
do have a home version. It should be available soon if it's
not already. We have not researched yet. It's something that
we're interested in. Not only for our parents at home and for
students to do homework, but also because of our statewide
We hope to be able to take our content that we've created and
provide it to anyone in the state. So through that home
service, they can log in as if they are one of our students or
parents and see our content.
We're trying out now as of the end of this year the discovery
education streaming which is a competitor. The way that
discovery works, you would pull it off of the Internet, so for
best use the teachers can download videos on to their computers
for a temporary period of time. We don't have a lot of folks
using it yet, but both systems cover pretty much all of the
educational publishers that exist.
Did you want to step in here? Do you want me to keep going?
>> RICHARD FLORES: No, I will take care of the technology
side of this. I will jump in on the second half.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Some of these projects are where Richard
took the lead. I wanted to give him the opportunity and give
him the recognition.
>> RICHARD FLORES: Just to add what she is saying, what she
said in terms of the facilitators, one reason the facilitators
can't be in 8 or 10 places at a time. I tried, but it didn't
work. But we follow the motto of where technology generally
goes out to everyone, and they put it on the desk, they show
you one little class and say, bye, go work, and they think
that it's going to magically work. We got away from that
having our backgrounds being in a classroom ourselves, and we
did the I do, we do, and you do, and we kept with the
facilitators to take on and watch afterwards if they needed
more support. That seems to have taken off real well. And
they know when we go in the classroom they give you some kind
of proposal that you won't be left alone, and for the most part
until you can function on your own, we're not going anywhere.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: And then we had to have a person in each
building that the teachers could call on to act as a tech
support person. And also the benefit of having a teacher in
the school is instead of thinking that they've got a call the
department call technology, we're the they's, they did this to
us, they're blocking this, we wanted to let go of some of that
they and have us involved. So we wanted teachers to be able to
call in other teachers knowing that we could get more buy-in if
some people were bragging, look what I am doing in my classroom
this is so cool.
If we keep trying to give them stuff, it doesn't benefit
>> RICHARD FLORES: And we're also trying not to be
intrusive. We look at what they're doing, and we try to
contour whatever technology that we have around what they're
trying to do, not have them adjust themselves to the technology
when it's not what they're actually trying to get accomplished
in the classroom.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: It makes more sense.
School-to-school activities. In addition to bringing
innovative content to the campus, we also want to take the
expertise of the school for the deaf and share that with
mainstream schools, public schools, other schools around the
state, the nation, and in Colombia. We have a teacher here
with us today, Teresa Smith, wave, Teresa!
Her class, she runs the computer lab in the Deaf high school
computer classes, they're meeting using Skype with students in
a public school in Florida over near Tampa, about 400 miles
away. The hearing ASL class is chatting with Teresa's deaf
high school class to practice their ASL, and it gives our kids
an opportunity to take the lead, to also develop their language
because now they have to negotiate between their peers and the
hearing peers in Tampa. It's been a very successful project.
We also had contact by a school being established in
Colombia. They are setting up a deaf program there. They had
computers, but not yet tables. So once they got tables they
could setup the computers, they got an internet connection, and
Richard has been working with them to troubleshoot what
technology will work with the bandwidth that they have. And
they, again, have been using Skype and very cheap webcams so
that our ESOL kids can chat with the program in Colombia.
>> RICHARD FLORES: It's a sister city, actually, to our St.
You a Gus teen city -- Augustine city in Colombia. We try to
establish a connection, and they're getting to know each other
a little bit and start asking questions about where they are,
where they are, from their backgrounds, and we're nearing the
end of the year, so we're cabling it and trying to put
something in the coming year where it's around some content
material that they're doing in the classroom and coordinate
that between the teachers.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: The other thing in the classroom that we're
trying to do this year is more internal streaming. In this
case we had a NASA engineer, space shuttle, all of that. One
of the engineers came to speak to a classroom with blind
students, and we knew that the deaf program and other
classrooms would be interested in seeing this presenter, but we
couldn't fit our whole campus into the auditorium, the campus.
It just wouldn't work. So Richard used a system to internally
stream so that video can still be used campus-wide and any
class can see that presentation from their own classroom.
>> RICHARD FLORES: This is the part where I have to jump in.
Windows media has windows media encoder. It's still in beta
mode where you can capture a desktop or another video source
and send it internally to a stream where you are going across
for those technical terms gigabyte lines internally rather than
the small lines coming inside. I can take one connection from
the inside or outside and send it internally. We had a major
event a couple of months prior where I did the same thing, sent
it out to the web for everybody to see, our teachers try to get
on, and so much trouble for our teachers to get in because it
was too much bandwidth coming in from the outside on top of the
normal everyday traffic. So I stop people from going outside
to get the signal, I took in one line, and I split it across
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Mega deaf is another project that we
participated in. Kentucky School for the Deaf participated in
this activity. A day-long video conferencing virtual
conference you can call it. Those of us who have some high-end
video conferencing equipment last year met. We were able to
converse with each other or groups of us could. Richard this
year felt that part of our mission is to distribute content not
only to those of us who have high-end system, but we wanted
public school classes throughout the state to be able to see
what the other schools that were participating from Canada,
last year from the UK and from the U.S., from all over the
nation, what they're doing when they're chatting with each
other. So, once again, we took the one stream that showed all
of the windows of all of the participants that were video
conferencing, and shared that out on to the web so that all of
the public schools that wanted to see the discussions went to
Off of our campus out to the public -- it was a streaming
service that we described to.
>> RICHARD FLORES: So basically the regular video
conferencing piece of equipment, polycom that you would
normally send to the monitor, I didn't send it to the monitor,
but I sent it to a little device that takes it out to stream to
the service that pulls in our web stream site so everybody can
see. We had double the amount that normally were watching
while people participated through the video conferencing
equipment if they had it and then additional 60 or 80 more
participated the viewing of the web. So they had about a total
of 120-150 people watching between both streams and the video
conferencing equipment that they had on the bridge that he had
had. It saved headaches trying to have so many people because
the bridge can handle only so much.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: What we've done to resolve the problem, we
want to share a lot of the activities that are happening on
campus with the whole world. But we can't have the whole world
connecting to our campus so it would take down our network.
We're sending our signal up to a company called streaming video
hosting. Whatever we want to broadcast we send that one signal
there. It's in California. And everybody in the world that
wants to see what we're doing they connect to that web address.
They don't know they're going off of our campus. Because we
have a window, Richard is getting ready to bring up on our own
school's website, where the video lives inside our browser, our
web page. So they think that they are on our site, but the
video is actually coming from streaming media hosting.
>> RICHARD FLORES: What we would normally see when I do a
stream is in that link area is wherever the video would
actually exist. And for all intents and purposes they think
that we're streaming from our site which we can't facilitate,
but we send that bandwidth out and they send it here. We have
a big tournament, up to 800 people across our tournament over a
two or three-day period of time watching all over the country
and Canada and a couple of other countries as well.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: We had a parent from Brazil attending every
live broadcast. It's a parent after student who is blind. So
every time there is an event that involves the blind department
she logs in. One of the new projects that we're just testing
now is if for some reason a student who would be living on our
campus can't come to the campus, whether they have an illness,
something going on at home, we're testing meeting spaces and
video conferencing options to figure out what would be best for
kids that are stuck at their home or in their hometown instead
of attending school on our campus. We're testing a lot of them
because the State of Florida also has some very rural areas,
and we know that they might have to go to a public library they
might have to go to another person's house, or they might be at
So we're trying to figure out through phone conferencing and
video conferencing what options are we comfortable with. So
whatever they might have at their end, we can accommodate.
We're not forcing families to make extra accommodations. And
the biggest down fall to this has been getting a child up out
of bed. Not the technology. Making sure the child wakes up.
>> RICHARD FLORES: The teachers were actually pretty
accommodating and try to be as unintrusive as possible.
Whether it was Skype, Google, Adobe connect, a BP next to all
of this at the same time, it was trying to setup a contraption
that can carry or just setup so I could place different pieces
of equipment and arrangements. I was trying to figure out what
was best for the teachers and the students.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: We're also trying to test how much
interaction the teachers expected the child to have. Was the
child viewing in to catch a lecture, but what if it wasn't a
class that had a lecture, how much participation was the
student going to be required to have from their home?
Depending on what was going on. And then Richard has talked a
little bit about our internal streaming. Did you want to show
any of the technology?
>> RICHARD FLORES: We have a few minutes left to go over it.
But one of the things that we used, we had streaming media.
You can get a Adobe live media encoder. It's a program that
you get from Adobe. It's free. That basically can take a
signal from a tuner, whether it be in a PC in a card that you
plug into or laptop that's portable which is great because you
can take it around. If you are having trouble with video
quality of how do you get a tuner device? I talked to a few
audiovisual specialist, and if you are connecting through fire
wire and USB the quality goes down after 15-20 minutes. With
this tuner card in between it does the processing in the middle
so that it keeps the quality at perfectly signing quality that
you can read and understand and capture everything very good.
So the little buffer, less than $100, can save you a lot of
headaches in the long run. Just to comment on what's here,
Slingbox is used to capture something from our educational
network access dish, or DirecTV from some of the educational
program, or a local cable station, I can actually show that on
my station and use the meeting encoder I mentioned before and
send it out through campus for educational events or
professional development training. And similarly, safari
montage has an encoder that's embedded into their player.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: As I mentioned before, we do also serve the
professional community, and we're trying now to provide more
information to the public. We know our students are going to
have to live out in the real world some day. We want the
public to know what they are capable of, not only what
challenges they are going to face in communicating or whatever.
So we're trying to showcase success stories, and put as much
information out there about alumni, about other people that we
know that are successful so that our students have inspiration,
and the public knows what these kids are capable of when they
leave our campus. We do have two agencies that are housed on
campus. The resource materials and technology center for the
deaf and hard-of-hearing. I said that fast, so I am waiting a
That's okay. That agency has offered Webinars twice a month.
They've had a professional presentation on deafness topics,
technology topics, curriculum topics specific to deafness so
that people from around the state can log in, see the
presentation, and then ask questions and interact with a
presenter. We're going to try to change up a little bit of the
timing next year. Hopefully more people can participate, re-
post things recorded. We're trying to figure out the best way
to get that information out.
We also are using Moodle, online course management system to
develop some professional development content to share with
folks. There are three topics listed here, reading strategies,
what is Web 2.0, and language in reading for the deaf workshop.
It's a three-day state-approved workshop that we're converting
to an online format so that more people can take that content.
We also use WiKis to try to get teachers, especially eye 10
rant teachers out in the district. They need a way to share
resources with each other, share ideas, share curriculum
because they are all alone serving kids that are all alone.
It's a real problem, and they regularly ask for more
information. They want more information about new
technologies, about curriculum, what's being used in larger
districts. So we collect that information from districts from
around the state, put it on the WiKi, and then teach them how
to access the WiKi to share their own ideas without having to
go through --
>> RICHARD FLORES: We're trying as well to setup a calendar
with a lot of the hard-of-hearing resources around the state,
like the Google calendar, where we can share with some of the
other service providers that they can host events that they'll
be streaming or video events locally in their areas so that
they can share back and forth. A lot we found that people are
doing the same thing over and over again and we're trying to
kill the redundancy that we can schedule around everybody
>> SHELLY ARDIS: And we're taking advantage of other
expertise. For example, there is a lot of curriculum
resources. We're finding in Pinellas County they have
phenomenal presentation on deaf advocacy. They have a strong
deaf community in that part of the state. So we want them to
take the lead on things that they're already doing and
broadcast it back to us, and then we can broadcast things about
reading strategies, and math curriculum back to them. And then
all of this is being made available through the streaming
statewide. So the calendar now allows all of the associations,
whether it's a professional group other a parent group to know
what other things are happening in the state. So they aren't
all working independently and isolated.
>> RICHARD FLORES: We're not trying to technology just
support ourselves. I have been going through the state trying
to get them oriented and setup and doing things that we do and
actually pay a couple of people out there to take over so that
they can do it and I continue on to the next section and
redistribute the connection to resupport them.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Building capacity in those remote locations
so that they can start instead of having Richard drive down to
Broward County, which is Ft. Lauderdale or across the state to
Tampa, he has trained some young college students there how to
press the buttons of the computer, get the right program up and
running, set the camera up, is it all good, press go, and that
way it's streaming to everyone. He doesn't have to drive and
everyone now can have the advantage of seeing each other's
>> RICHARD FLORES: Just a quick note. This has been one of
the programs that has been very successful in the State of
Florida. They're teamed up with volunteer U.S.A. to distribute
across a few other states. I just want to show you what this
organization is really about because they've done some great
work. You can quickly read what they do there.
They have monthly meetings for those support groups in South
Florida and Southwest Florida. We're in Northeast Florida.
We're basically trying to cover the whole state, and they've
been a great partner to work with over the last couple of
>> SHELLY ARDIS: We originally were broadcasting their
content, recording it, and then posting it on our server. And
then we realized that they wanted more control, and we wanted
them to have more control because we only have one Richard. So
we trained the facilitators out there, now they're posting
content on Teacher Tube. We didn't pick You Tube because it's
blocked in most of the school districts. So we've had more
than 5,500 views on the four or six videos?
>> RICHARD FLORES: Actually 9 or 10 now.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Which is from their Saturday seminars.
Lots of hits, no advertising at all really other than a little
bit of our local word of mouth.
>> RICHARD FLORES: And we have a few more minutes left, but
UStream is a commercial source. But for the most part they can
do that without even our streaming media hosting service. So
one of these, a laptop, and the UStream account and you can
basically broadcast what we're doing in a big long setup very
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Some of the conferences that I go to, very
techie conferences, you will see people with a iPhone sitting
in the front of the row streaming on to UStream from their
iPhone. So you can have right out of your pocket technology
going To a free streaming service with your account setup. So
we know that the kids are going To be doing this. We want to
make sure that everybody not only take it is for positive use,
but also is aware of dangers and how easy it is to do all of
>> RICHARD FLORES: I am going To skip over the technical
stuff. If anybody has any questions I can answer it
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Go into the next one. Some of the issues
that we want to make sure that we've covered, bandwidth. If
you don't have enough bandwidth, you will run into problems.
You will have to seek different technologies or different
solutions. We doubled our bandwidth this school year not only
because of this project, but because we have the requirement to
do online testing. We have a lot of online progress
monitoring. We have a lot of online curriculum, the textbook
companies have online materials that supplement the books. So
everything is now online. We didn't have an option. It was
time to do that. We have 12 Meg that come to campus.
Facilitators, we have to have tech support to get people up and
running to build capacity and out in the regions.
Very low-cost equipment can work today. Like these webcams can
run between 50-$120 depending on the model that you get. You
can talk to people all over the world with free software.
Funding, the next slide will talk about partnerships, and then
continuing collaboration. We're doing a lot of things because
we're lucky enough to have some funding, a little bit of
funding, but there was so much that we can do together, even if
you don't have funding, like the folks from the Deaf Family
literacy alliance, they have a very small budget. But now that
we've tested with them and we've held their hands, now they can
use free things like Teacher Tube and UStream to do all of the
same things that we're doing that cost us $2,000 or $5,000 to
get off the ground. So take advantage of what other people are
doing, and we need to partner because we're low prevalence and
we have to depend on each other.
We do work hard to collaborate. We work with the public
schools. We worked with this year Kentucky School for the Deaf
and Mississippi School for the Deaf. When we had our Mason-
Dixon basketball region which is the southeast region deaf
programs competition, their video streaming system had
technical difficulty. So Richard showed them UStream, got them
up and running so that the last day they had 200 people per
game watching the whole rest of the competition.
>> RICHARD FLORES: Someone pointed out to me that I was in
Florida talking to them over a cell phone on a Friday night
walking them through it in half-hour, 45 minutes, and bit next
morning they had all of the championship games going.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: They caught the lost shot, and we didn't
We try to collaborate with colleges because we know that
these future teachers of the deaf need to know the technology.
They need to see inside our classrooms. They don't have enough
time to have practicum. They don't see enough eye continue
rant set settings. We work to sever public school teachers,
interpreters, other service providers, parents through our own
agencies and in partnership with other agencies. And none of
this would be possible without the grant funds that we do have
from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. They've given us
$150,000 a year. It doesn't sound like a lot, but we've done a
lot with it we funded an entire position as well as built
infrastructure and hired staff part-time as signing experts.
Editors, we provide people opportunities to attend training.
And if you have any other questions, when we finish, you are
welcome to ask us here or we can continue talking. You can
follow us on Twitter. See our delicious content, chat with us
on Skype. We're very social.
>> RICHARD FLORES: I offered to have lunch brought in, but
apparently they were against that.
>> Richard when I was ready to stand up, and lunch will be
coming, please stay, I said I would love to be able to say that
but I don't think that I could arrange it at a moment's notice.
First of all, I think that we all realize as educators,
advisors, counselors, the value of communication. I think that
they've shown us how much is out there that we're willing to
share our own knowledge with others, how we can better improve
that amount of communication we have between parents, students,
staff to make it better for the whole environment. So I reach
out to them to say thank you. It was an excellent
presentation. And you can reach out by filling out your paper
form, or filling it out in the learning center online. I thank
you. They will now be opened for questions for another 5
minutes. Thank you very much.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: We fly out at 5:00, so we have plenty of
>> Audience member: I am curious, how much of what you
talked about is available to public schools out of Florida?
>> SHELLY ARDIS: All of it. It's all on the web. We have a
>> Audience member: Even the workshops you were talking
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Most of it has been free at this point. We
talked about making some of our workshops more formal, and for
people that are out of state there would be a small fee, some
type of tuition, but at this point it has all been public. We
have had people from other deaf schools attend, or from other
places just pop in to the Webinar rooms and view the content.
We haven't formalized things enough to set up an actual menu
with a fee structure or anything, but I think that our grants
department hopes that that will happen down the road so that we
can keep offering workshops when we no longer have grant funds
to Pate presenters. So it would really be just enough to keep
everything rolling. It wouldn't be anything crazy. At this
point it's free because we have the grant funds supplementing
the presenters, paying for the content experts.
>> RICHARD FLORES: I have to say to that because it's kind
of scary, you don't have to have that end goal in mind -- you
do, but you don't have to start doing the work hoping by next
year's time you have that perfect scenario. A lot of what
we're doing is not perfect. And one video clip that I will
show you of one of our online sign classes, just to give you an
idea, we know that this isn't the perfect scenario with what
we're doing with our ASL classes. But just to give you an
idea, this is a video of our ASL classes online that we're
doing with two parents and actually two parents in the one
window, another one, a professional, who is working in a
school, and one of our teachers, our instructors, for the
class. But this video isn't the best, but you will see her
video more clear because she is using one of these kinds of
camera with a high-end connection and proper lighting.
You will see what it looks like just to give you an idea.
>> Good. Young, you guys can copy me if you want. Young
woman, Sarah, age 25.
>> RICHARD FLORES: And you can see for the most part her
video is clear. Theirs because of lighting and maybe the
camera that they have, the computer that they have, we're still
working that out. But for beginners or intermediate, it's
perfect for what we need to do. A lot of people say let's get
the video conferencing equipment, let's get the technology
perfect, let's just wait. Well, if we wait, I have tons of
professionals and parents screaming for help, and I say you
know what? We need something. When we continue to work this
through, this one is not necessarily free. This goes up to six
rooms. This six rooms, right there there is only three,
capacity is $40 a month. We signed a contract with them. We
can't share a desktop. It's not Adobe connect, but the video
is better than Adobe connect.
And each tool for every instance can do a little bit more or
less. You have to continue to adjust for every scenario.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Or call Richard. You don't have to do the
adjustment. Call Richard.
>> RICHARD FLORES: Save the headache. I could help you so
you don't have to go through the same headache I went through.
>> Audience member: Just noticing that a lot of controls
they use, we tested it as an organization as well a lot of them
don't have caption. Do you use tools that have caption
functionality as well? Do you use realtime captioning or post-
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Both. Both. He can probably bring up a
Adobe connect sample right now where we do have captioning. It
was our first attempt to bring in captioning. We did not use
the captioning pod. We actually shared their screen, and it's
a very small box here at the bottom.
>> That's fine. You can type notes or questions in the box
if you would like.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: A very busy screen because there would have
been content in the middle as well.
>> RICHARD FLORES: I will be adjusting that. And you can
find information here. I don't know it obviously. I came here
and there are a few notes and a few services that I saw her
that I will be working with. I have been hesitating holding on
to the scenario and the need enough to actually do that.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Actually, there are a few things that we
are doing. We're adding captioning now. We also are looking
at adding spoken Spanish through our video conferencing line.
So we would have the English where you call one number and you
have English, you call another number and you get Spanish. We
have a lot of families in Florida that speak Spanish. We have
a lot of other people that speak Spanish also, but the state
supports the two, and we are able to affordably support the
two. So that's our starting point.
>> RICHARD FLORES: The hope is, and we've had a few
conversations about this, that by this time in two years if
we're fortunate to come back that all of the video captioning,
all of the tweaks and bugs that we are expecting to already be
resolved at that point. From two years ago until now there has
been a huge leap forward. And there are 10 companies that are
all coming and converging into the few answers that we're
looking for all at the same time. So within the next year it
will and lot better in two years when we come back, I think
that most of the issues that we're having will be gone.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: We also do in-house captioning. I didn't
mention any of our video production, but we have another person
here, Michael, wave Michael, he is our videographer and editor.
We do video production in-house, and captioning in-house.
Carmalita has run the captioning in-house for 30 years. Well,
she has not been there for 30 years.
But we do post-production captioning. We also are now just
starting to do the live realtime captioning.
>> RICHARD FLORES: That was a presentation I was doing on
videophone access, VPs, you name it, VRS services, and the
captions was used for some of the audience to play it back.
Again, just getting it rolling.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: Any other questions?
>> Audience member: Just say a few words about the online
reading program. What age is it directed at? Is it
>> SHELLY ARDIS: The language reading connections module?
It's targeted at people who teach deaf children either in a
general ed mainstream setting or any other classroom setting,
like a self-contained setting, and it's taking the national
reading panels evidence on teaching reading, and we've tweaked
it. It was a 5-year workgroup that tweaked that to target the
needs of deaf kids. So we do talk about the five areas of
reading according to the hearing world national reading panel,
but we add in a lot of things to support the needs of deaf
kids. So not only do we talk about phonics, but we talk about
morphology and things relating to signing and oral. So it's
very targeted at deafness. Our teachers are required to be
endorsed in reading, but we wanted to make sure that they get
what they need on paper required by law, but we're also giving
them what they need to, in practice, teach these children.
>> RICHARD FLORES: And to add the partnership idea for in
terms of what we're trying to do going forward, we looked at
purchasing multipoint units, what they call bridges and
supports and services, but the costs was almost 1/3rd of what
we get for our grant every year. One thing I want to encourage
is that anyone is interested, I would love to see if we can get
in an investment with a couple of schools or locations. So if
we're spending $50,000 and we split that cost across four or
five schools it's less. Because for the most part that
equipment is sitting around collecting dust on a daily basis.
If we can partner with a cup of people, schools, and at that
point schedule times that we can actually use those services,
we might be able to get all more use out of system like that.
So we can actually get the higher-level quality video that we
need and reach more people.
If you are interested, let us.
>> Audience member: I have a question. It's awesome all of
the work and the sharing of this information. It's a wonderful
thing. I know that you said something in regards to the
accessibility and sometimes students and families don't have
access due to just not having the funds. I was wondering what
kind of advertising or how do you actually get people involved
in parents taking part in this if they don't have that type of
technology? And one thing that I would suggest is that if you
are not doing it already, is actually maybe those students --
those mainstream schools that you are working with maybe during
a PTA meeting or something that they can actually host one of
your Webinars to actually show something at that time.
I don't know if you are doing that, but that was something that
came up in my mind because I was wondering whether you have
more parents viewing your Webinars as individuals or actually
>> SHELLY ARDIS: A little bit of both. We're doing A few
things. We do have two agencies the state funds with its
discretionary dollars. They're housed at FSDB to serve the
entire state's population of deaf students. So those two
agencies visit all of the districts. They do training. They
provide technical assistance, everything from you have a deaf
child, what is a deaf child, what is a hearing aid from that
level all the way up through accommodations that they need,
giving them resources like the captioned videos, interpreter
training, providing materials for them to learn. We have three
people that travel to do that type of consultation, one person
that travels to deal specifically with parents. So they setup
workshops specifically in the small rural districts to bring in
What is the IEP? What are your rights? How do you advocate
for your students' needs? Those kinds of things. And we co-
advertise, and that's one thing that he mentioned that Google
calendar. We've tried to start making a one-stop shop for
different pieces of information, and then sending that
information out not only to our own agencies but other agencies
in the State of Florida. Our resource center works as a member
of a network called the Florida diagnostic and learning
resources system. Every single school district has an agency
from that network housed there, and they support babies all the
way up through age 22 graduating students who have
disabilities. They know who we are because we've been part of
that network for 30 years. So when we advertise, we know how
to get it to the district coordinators for disabilities, the
district deaf hard-of-hearing coordinators, the parent
associations, we get it out to everybody.
We also produce things on DVD, and parents we give them things.
We don't expect it to come back sometimes. Sometimes we loan.
But you can't always expect the parents to return things
because they either need it or they are moving a lot. There
are so many different variations of need. So we do sometimes
purchase things knowing that we're giving this away. Or we
produce things so that they can watch it on the DVD player
instead of on the computer.
>> RICHARD FLORES: Realistically This past year for this
level of technology the DVD and that stuff has been going on
for years now. This level of technology is one-year exposure.
It's getting people exposed to how do you stream? You go to
the site and open it up. And when? How? This past year it's
been a good introduction like establishing the Webinars. The
prior year was all of the testing this year it took off this
past year for parents and communities this year was just
introduction. This year hopefully will be taking off. So it's
still building, and we're trying to move all of the pieces at
the same time.
>> SHELLY ARDIS: We also present at parent-specific
conferences. We have one called parent cafe. We have staff
that present there. We exhibit at the counselor of exceptional
children, the Florida educational technology conference, the
Florida educators for the deaf/hard-of-hearing, we either help
them run those conferences or we present an exhibit there. So
the network is very strong, very collaborative, and very
supportive of each other's needs. Sometimes we are there not
because we have extra money to go to these things because we
are working there. We're helping setup tables and stuff bags
and present. So it's a win-win for everybody.
>> They have enough enthusiasm to carry this over lunch and
more, probably even when we get them to come back again next
time which is tremendous. I thank you. But I want to thank
our interpreters and the CART and I want to thank the AV
specialist in the back of the room. All of these services
going Together show the importance of us collaborating to make
such an excellent presentation.
Thank you most of all to our two presenters.
>> RICHARD FLORES: If you have technical questions, come on
up and I will walk you through some of them.
(End of session)
* * * * *
This is being provided in a rough-draft format. Communication
Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to
facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally
verbatim record of the proceedings
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