Thursday, February 01, 2007

Vlogging/Bloggin Future of Gallaudet: Deaf Children

A vlog/blog proposal to move forward in the 21st Century of Information Age making more accessible to parents of deaf children and professionals working with deaf children by posting vlogs/blogs to generate thorough discussions and to gain holistic understanding when raising deaf children.

Carl Schroeder triggered my brain cells in a scrambling motion when pleading us to propose our visions that can be shared during the upcoming Vlogging-Blogging Future Gallaudet. When I asked myself what really makes the future of Gallaudet, it is the deaf children indeed. Based on my 15 years of teaching experience with deaf children and raising two deaf children, I see the need of organization where parents and educators are able to share and discuss issues on a blog center page. In my first ASL presented vlog, I would like to share what I have thought about a mission along with two visions.

MISSION: To serve as a blog center where individuals who are concerned about raising deaf children have the privilege to be exposed to a variety of blogs/vlogs relating to, but not limited to, education, ASL, social needs, identity, deafhood, audism and experiences shared by deaf and hearing (CODAs, parents of deaf children) individuals.

How? Using a specifically designed blog page offered by Gallaudet that will reach out deaf children, parents of deaf children and professionals working with deaf children. Using the model of, there will be human editors to post blogs using RSS subscriptions also related entries derived from

Who can post blogs? Parents of deaf children, professionals such as teachers, professors and deaf role models who can share their experiences and help eradicate the myths. It would be nice to have all schools for the deaf to have their own vlog/blog to post in this center. So oftenly these parents may be in the dark unintentionally hindering their deaf child(ren)'s opportunity for social and emotional growth or that deaf children lack the direct contact or interaction with deaf individuals.

Vision #1: Synthesize global deaf organizations and schools (of, by and for) concerning deaf children on a blog center page. When surfing for information on varied sites concerning deaf children, I found plenty of sites that should have been collaborated on one page showing the links that will benefit parents and educators. Take Raising Deaf Kids, for instance. There is a variety of worthy articles shared by deaf individuals when growing up and by parents raising their deaf children but the website is so limited that it funnels the channel of communication into one-way street. There is no exchange of dialogue such as discussing, analyzing views, sharing new ideas, and so forth.

Imagine that there is a newly created blog center allowing deaf individuals, hearing and deaf parents of deaf children, professionals working with deaf children, etc. to share their postings where interested readers can swap their perspectives by making comments or even discuss in a special forum focusing on a selected topic of the week. We should encourage the birth of these kind of blogs where parents can get acquainted with deaf individuals and have opportunities to get ideas and feedback by deaf bloggers/vloggers like us. I have witnessed many excellent blogs posted in that provide significant information for these type of readers about raising deaf children. Suppose we transfer these relevant vlogs/blogs to a particular blog center, there will be more targeted readers who will be affected.

Vision #2: Gallaudet can post updates on research information about the benefits of bilingual-bicultural approach to gain more awareness among parents of deaf children.

Research information is where parents need to find by making one easy click. It becomes confusing and frustrating when parents have to hunt for this kind of information at different places. I found a wonderful page called Signs of Literacy created from Gallaudet introducing researchers and their works but to get this information I had to fish for it. It took me several squints and clicks to get there. It makes me wonder how many parents have this ability to find their way through this perplexing maze.

If we are spearheading the bi-bi programs as a part of the future of Gallaudet, it becomes more realistic if an array of information can be easily accessible on just one particular blog center page. Even a variety of taped demonstrations among schools for the deaf practicing bi-bi can share their vlogs showing visual examples and growth in language development among deaf children. Right now, to find this kind of information is like going through a jungle trying to find the right sources. We have this advanced yet inexpensive tool that allows us to produce vlogs to get our invaluable messages across to remote families of deaf children and deaf children themselves.

There is no reason today that one should not know about ASL, that one should not know about deaf culture, and that one should not have to wait to college to discover their identity. This is the 21st Century for crying out loud! We just got to make a good use out of this innovative tool of communication to reach out so now it is the time.

I know there is a lot more we can do to get significant, powerful messages across to this type of group of readers/viewers. I am also aware that there will be concerns and criticisms about this idea but at least we just got to try. I am already thinking about the URL address for this envisioned blog center. Perhaps something like DeafChildrenFirst or DeafChildrenUnited. I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts on this mission. Thank you!

Barb DiGiovanni


Anonymous said...


What can I say????? You are AWESOME! I am sooo happy that you created this special blog that will help deaf children! I am joining your bandwagon for sure!

Warmest and major hugs!
Amy Cohen Efron

Anonymous said...

After viewing your first vlog, definitely, I wholeheartedly agree with Amy that you are awesome, too. Keep up with your vlogging!

Aidan Mack said...

Nice to see you in Vlog... Welcome to V log world. I look forward to seeing more of your Vlogs..

I agreed that we need to expose ourselves as fully Deaf productive human beings to Parents of Deaf children, teachers, and everyone too.

I support your missions. I beleive they will work.

We need more teachers like you. I can see in your eyes that you really care about Deaf children's future. You are one of true teachers.


drmzz said...

Awesome vlog. I learned something about the state of deaf education and other related issues that will benefit me as a counselor. I now see the benefit of adding text summaries in blog just to stimulate the interest of those non-signing parents seeking I&R. I get it now! I agree that early interventions with deaf children start now!

Barb DiGi said...

Thanks Amy, Anoynmous, Aidan and Mike for the warm welcome and support. You vloggers rock!

I finally got to overcome my anxiety when posting my first vlog. I have a lot more that I want to show what is happening behind the scenes in a deaf school and mainstreaming school. I just want this message to get across to parents of deaf children and deaf children themselves even professionals working with deaf children about the value of bilingual-bicultural approach.

I am trying to make it accessible for non-signers as I am working on voice over as volunteered by my hearing colleague. Making text summary is the best I can do for now. To do captioning, I am still not sure about that as it will take away on focusing a speaker's use of ASL. Even fluent ASL users will read captions that will eliminate their primary focus on what a speaker is trying to convey in ASL.

drmzz said...

Smile. You got that out of the way. Google has "captioning" options that viewers can click on or off while a video is playing. Just state in your future posts that ASL viewers can click it off and others can click it on. I use basic pgrm, Subtitle Workshop to subtitle my videos, LINK'S HERE.

moi said...

Fabulous idea!!! :) I, too, would love to see a central place for information and dialogue too!! One gentle thought - I would like to suggest NOT adding voice-over. Research (and a lot of ancedotal evidence) shows it hinders ASL acquisition and appreciation of ASL as a language, because the sound input interferes with comprehension. I think your transcript is a perfect solution. It makes what you have to say accessible to those with English-language skills, while leaving your ASL untarnished and not having anything distract the viewer from your signing (and ultimately message). Just my two cents. :)
Keep blogging and video blogging!

Jay said...

Now you got the technology out of the way, and able to deliver your message, where it counts.

Being an administrator in a deaf school, I see and experienced issues such as you raised personally, so I am looking forward to see you progress further with this concept and I will surely keep an eye on it.

Anonymous said...

I would caution against including too many hearing deaf educators. In my experience they can be the worst at limiting a deaf child's options. I would love to see a greater emphasis on deaf teaching deaf, and learning from deaf people versus the received "wisdom" of "professionals" in the field... In other words, it strikes me that there has been no lack of hearing collaboration on the best way to teach the deaf, excluding the input of the deaf, since Milan.

That caveat aside, I do think this sounds like a potentially very good idea. As a product of mainstreaming, for example, I'm more than happy to share my experiences so that a hearing parent can make a more informed decision and so on.

Susan said...

I am looking forward to the sharing of information here. I am Deaf and teach at an integrated school in Australia, so the cutting edge information from here will benefit us too :)

Anonymous said...

I'm deaf and a deaf educator, too, just like you. I typed "deaf" into google jsut to see if deafread popped up, pretending like I was a hearing parent of a deaf child. I went through ten pages and didn't see deafread. I love your vlog and I've watched all of them. I can't wait to see more. I like your ideas and want to see more. I'm on board with your ideas and want to help us move forward.

Mauserw said...

I know from being a teacher at a residential school for the Deaf, I have met several parents in IEP meetings and other occasions...many of these parents have expressed frustration at the sheer volume of material out on the web in regards to education of children with hearing loss. One common theme I noticed among these parents was the tendency to "retreat" to local school districts out of the feeling of being "overwhelmed" by the jumble of information and not being able to make sense of which way they should go. This leads to many children being isolated in hearing classrooms or local Deaf Ed programs which are lacking in many areas.. Then these kids show up at the residential schools later with severe language and social delays and we are expected to "work magic" and "catch them up" ...enable them to pass rigorous state-mandated graduation exit exams.. NOT an easy task. I agree with Barbara there needs to be a national clearing house of sorts where parents can have access to information like from Signs of Literacy. How many parents would know to look for THAT? AS difficult as it is for us to find such information, imagine what it is like for parents with no background or help in this area.

This is a big challenge...something a good dissertation could break some ground on perhaps....