I am learning a lot about what it’s like to be born deaf. I have one of these students currently enrolled in my Introduction to Educational Technology course and have been researching ways to seamlessly include her in various learning environments. We tested Google Hangout Captions App last week, and it worked very well. I used Dragon Dictate to enter the text automatically in the captioning pane (well, sometimes the text was not perfect, but it always offers us a chance to laugh!)
Now, I have discovered Hangouts Interpreter App, which allows you to assign someone to interpret using ASL. The video appears in the upper-right of the screen. I haven’t seen this in action, but it appears that when the interpreter is signing, (s)he is in the active screen too.
This would allow a student who is deaf to actively participate in a Google Hangout (of course you need to schedule an ASL interpreter to join the meeting) and then communicate to the group using the chat feature. Or, the student who is deaf could sign to the interpreter, who could then provide the communication back to the group.
Of course, a person who is deaf could easily use Google Hangouts to communicate with another person who is deaf, both using their webcams and ASL. They no longer need to be in the same room.
The world is really changing and offering many more options for people with special needs, due to rapidly evolving technologies. I am hoping to test these tools and am excited about the prospects for the future.
For more information about accessibility in Google Hangouts, please read this G+ post:
- Visualizing Hive NYC – Part 2 (hiveresearchlab.org)
- Asher Woodman-Worrell: Meet an amazing Sri Lankan deaf artist (limpingchicken.com)
- VirtualBox 4.3 Released With Multi-Touch And Video Capturing Support, More (webupd8.org)
- What Desa Bengkala Taught Me about Language, Access, and Interpreting (deafphilippines.wordpress.com)