Application of Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf to Adult Literacy Instruction in the Hearing Community
Sweeney, Michael R.
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Illiteracy remains a serious problem in Canada with a significant proportion of the adult population still unable to read and write. Illiteracy is a particularly serious problem in rural areas because a variety of factors limit access to instructional programs and restrict the quality of instruction. The intent of this research project was to determine if the TDD could be used to improve both access to adult literacy programs and the quality of instruction. The TDD is an old technology, but it has not previously been used for instructional purposes. Because of the preliminary nature of the inquiry, a case study design was originally adopted, but because of a variety of factors, this plan did not attract sufficient numbers of study participants. Following a detailed review of the case, the study plan was revised. In the revised plan, a case study design was imbedded within an overall action research framework that invited greater involvement from project participants. This revision of the plan lead to a significant increase in the number of study volunteers, and enabled the conduct of a variety of individual and group learning activities using the technology. Findings of the study include: the TDD can be used both as an adjunct to face-to-face instruction and as a vehicle for distance learning; students find the device supports attainment of their learning objectives; instructors can envisage how to use the device in distance learning applications; and use of the device needs to be integrated with the use other instructional technologies. The study also identified several limitations of the technology and highlighted where technological improvements are required.