Empowering Students with Disabilities

Video Transcript
[MUSIC PLAYING] CARTER BEARDEN: Many of our students come from lower socioeconomic strata, high poverty level, and we have a challenge of educating these students. Many come with no language. Parents at home do not communicate via sign language. So there's a lot of catching up to do, but there's a lot of rewarding positive things that we're doing as well. DR. SARAH MCMANUS: You really want students to feel empowered.

And so we're really excited that the students have the opportunity to be able to have their lessons available, have their assignments available 24 hours a day, every day as long as they have that internet connection. MARGARET QUINCY: Just being able to do things on your own terms instead of just when it's convenient to the teacher. You can do it just about anywhere that has Wi-Fi. So you can get to somewhere private and quiet, where you can, where you can actually focus. With Canvas, we can ask questions and ask the students to reply, videoing themselves through the iPad signing their answers and post those on Canvas.

I strongly believe in a bilingual approach. The students at NCSD, they're learning to sign ASL and they're also learning to use English through reading and writing. The students are more motivated because they have a clear understanding of what's going on. With technology, it's a lot more clear and helps motivate them and get them involved. They teach us how to be self-learners, how to be more independent.

There's modules that we have to follow. When I first got here, I was pretty behind. The other students were way more ahead of me. But with Canvas, I was able to pick it up and I was able to catch up with them. So now we're all on the same module.

My hope is for technology to become easier for the hearing and the deaf to meet in the middle, in the gap. There's usually a large delay for deaf students. And I believe that technology will help us equalize that. My goal is for myself and for the deaf community too, that we can show our skills. That way people can look up to deaf people and applaud the deaf community.

That way we can help change the perspective and the hearing perspective on the deaf culture. I have a passion to work with these students, because I'm deaf and the students are deaf. So I'm showing them that they can be successful. They can be just like me, they can be successful. We're all the same.

And if they want it, they can do it. They can fly, they can soar. They really can and I want to see that in them. My message is that all students can learn when they have the tools, and the resources, and the time. NANCY KERNER-DURLING: Times are changing and they have so many more opportunities than people had even 10 years ago. There's no ceiling. They can do amazing things if we just give them the tools.