Sunday, February 10, 2013

Amazing: Hearing Impaired and Deaf Students Connecting Globally

This morning, procrastinating about shoveling snow, I checked email, and saw an incoming tweet from a Connecticut teacher (Joyce Blum) who tweeted 80% of schools closed in Connecticut for Monday.

To verify the identity of this person, who tweeted a response to another teacher, whom I had already tweeted, which put my Twitter name in Joyce Blum's tweet out, I wanted to ensure the tweet was coming from someone in "the know."

Well, once I got to Joyce Blum's Twitter profile, I saw she was a high school teacher of English for the deaf and hard of hearing.

In her tweet stream, I found a link to a blog. Curious about the blog, I checked the link, and there I found myself exploring a neighborhood of blog posts from students around the world, all apparently hearing impaired or deaf. Not only are these students afforded an opportunity to communicate with the written word, which makes sense, but they are also making connections with peers globally and learning about these peers from all corners of the world. This exploration opened my mind once again to the power of blogging as an amazing tool for communication for a variety of purposes.

I invite you to take a few moments, or linger longer if you like, to see how this blog is unfolding. I am wondering what your reactions will be. The blog is at Welcome to the 2012-2013 School Year. The number of schools throughout the world who have joined and the students who have contributed speak to the power of blogging to connect students in ways not easily possible just a decade ago. As I tweeted back to Joyce,

I also learned that she is using Edmodo as another communication tool.

She calls herself a "rookie," but she is already doing amazing things with technology tools to help her students express themselves and expand their literacy skills and global understandings. 

Well, back to shoveling, but blogging surely can draw us in, as we explore the world through the comforts of our own home. I am just amazed at how this teacher has used the medium of blogging to enhance students' literacy skills: including reading, writing, visualizing, connecting, and gaining world views. For students who cannot hear or have limited hearing abilities, the opportunities to explore blogging as a communication medium seem amazing. What do you think? What is your reaction to Welcome to the 2012-2013 School Year blog?

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