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Technology at the Florida School for Deaf & Blind

The Florida School for Deaf & Blind is an accredited public boarding and day school that offers preK-12  education for students who are hard of hearing, deaf, sight impaired, or blind.  This school is located in St. Augustine, Florida and is open to any students residing in Florida and complete the application process.   In addition to studying regular school subjects like math, science, and reading, students are also provided with the necessary support to be successful in academics and life skills.  One of the support systems that this school provides is in accessibility to technology.

The technology provided at this school includes assistive and adaptive technologies.  This link has great videos including the different examples of how they use technology at the school.

Interactive Whiteboards

On an interactive whiteboard, the information from primary whiteboard is displayed as output onto the student’s computer screen.  The students can then view the information on their own computer screen and sit as close as they need to view the lesson being taught at that time.  Another advantage to using an interactive whiteboard is that the information can be saved for later review by the student.

Laptops & Displays

At the high school level at the Florida School for Deaf & Blind, they have a 1:1 laptop program.  The laptops are preloaded with various programs and hardware to help the students utilize the computers for their specific disability.  This assistive technology includes screen readers, screen enlargement, refreshable Braille displays, Daisy Book Players, CCTV, and access to the school’s wireless network.

The Daisy Book Player plays Daisy Books which are high-quality audiobooks.   They can also play CDs and other MP3s.  One of the advanced features is if you take a book out, and then put it back in at a later date, it will start off where the student left off reading.  This is great if the Daisy Player is going to be a shared classroom resource.

Openbook

The Openbook software scans a document into the computer.  The software then is able to read the written word back to the user.  The document can also be viewed on the computer screen.  There are other options available within the software to zoom the text and edit, similar to a word processing program.  This software would be good for students who have low vision, are blind, or are struggling readers.

SAL2 for the Blind

The SAL2 is a Talking Tactile Tablet, often referred to as a TTT.  It is a Braille literacy tool.  The SAL2 has books, programs, and worksheets that can connect into the computer to help students learn Braille.

Teachers can even make their own worksheets for the system.  This is a great as a center resource in the classroom since the students can use the system independently.

Braille Notetaker

The Braille Notetaker is a PDA system for blind students.  The students use the handheld device to complete a variety of tasks including notetaking and organization.  It also has the software programs Word, Excel, Access, Internet Explorer, and Email.  There is a tool for Braille translations.  The system can use either Refreshable Braille displays, QWERTY keyboards, or Braille Keyboards.  The PDA has access for a wide variety of input and output devices including USB connections and memory cards.

Handheld CCTV

The Handheld CCTV is a small device used to view written words and images on the go.  It is small enough for travel and use in everyday situations like at a restaurant or bank.  The device can magnify, increase and decrease contrast, zoom, or add lighting to written documents.

The Florida School for Deaf & Blind uses a wide variety of assistive technologies to meet the learning and life needs of their students.   These different technologies have made learning more accessible.  It has also been a great motivational tool for students to learn.

-Article by Laura Ketcham

Picture from the Florida School for the Deaf & Blind

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