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When video technology changes lives: Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf


February 20, 2019 - 1 Comment

What does “video” mean at your school or district? Ninety-eight percent of respondents to the Digital School Districts Survey from the Center for Digital Education indicated that their school districts incorporated video technology in teaching and learning.  (Read this issue brief from the Center for Digital Education to learn more.) Of course, the term “video” and the idea of using video technology can mean different things at different districts, from presenting on-line recordings during class time to offering fully immersive experiences that promise to enable students to learn in new ways.

The reality is likely a little bit of both, or something in between.

In either case, there are instance where video in the classroom can be transformational, even life changing. And Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf offers a powerful example.

It started with a telephone: “everyday” meets “life changing”
At Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf in Mill Neck, N.Y., administrators, educators, staff, and students work together to ensure high-quality educational opportunities and comprehensive services that enable deaf learners to unlock their potential. For more than 60 years, thousands of students have benefited from the school’s commitment to inclusion, empowerment, and equality for deaf people. Yet while the efforts of the staff on campus were often heroic, technology didn’t always keep up.

A case in point: Mill Neck Manor’s aging phone system needed an upgrade. As Matt Pomara, vice president at Core BTS, Mill Neck Manor’s technology solutions provider, explains, “For the deaf or hard of hearing, using the telephone poses significant communication challenges. We saw the need for a telephone upgrade as a chance to think beyond a traditional dial tone. Through the effective use of video, for example, we believed the school could expand opportunities for students to connect with the community outside school walls, minimize feelings of isolation among deaf employees, and realize greater operating efficiencies and savings.”

Pomara is correct, of course. The right technology can truly eliminate barriers to effective teaching and learning—and more.

Video brings everyone closer
In addition to investing in new Cisco phones that offer high-quality, high-definition video in addition to dial tone, Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf also integrated Cisco collaboration technology on its computers as well as in its conference rooms, enhancing the way those at the school engage. “The collaborative tools provided by Cisco allow both students and faculty to communicate in ways that would otherwise be done only in person or through a third-party interpreter,” explains Michael Killian, president and CEO at Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf. “Cisco and Core BTS have created a state-of-the-art, video-based communication solution that fosters teamwork among staff and allows students to interact in ways that were previously impossible.”

At Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, video technology is changing teaching and learning, and the way everyone connects.

In fact, the benefits of the new technology extended across campus—and even into the school’s IT department, where one deaf team member used to leave his desk many times each day to engage face-to-face with colleagues in other departments. “Using relay services was cumbersome and sending an email to ask a simple question seemed like too much,” notes Rob Henrichs, a network engineer at the school. “Now, with our new Cisco technology, he can pick up the phone, access the video, and sign his question for a quick response. It makes his work so much easier.”

And makes everyone much more connected—to change lives.

To learn more about how Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf uses video technology to build community and reduce isolation, read the complete case study. In addition, this infographic shows how technology can take students beyond classroom walls. Finally, for insights into other ways technology is transforming teaching and learning, and preparing students for the future of work, check out this issue brief from the Center for Digital Education.

For more on Cisco solutions for education, visit cisco.com/go/education.



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1 Comments

  1. This is incredible.