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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dodge the Highlighters

The other day I was in the car with my 17 year old son and I asked him if he had any good school stories to share. The week before he had told me of his heroics when a snake was discovered in the school lunchroom. The story went that his teacher had unsuccessfully attempted to capture it using two Styrofoam cups. When Charlie and two of his buddies heard about the situation, they raced from the gymnasium to get to the snake. Charlie got there first by jumping over a counter. He picked the snake up behind its head and waving it menacingly at his classmates took it outdoors.

It was only a harmless garter snake, but still - what a story. I could picture the whole episode in my head. With that in mind, Charlie began telling me about finding a knife that day. Not a butcher knife or switchblade, simply a table knife. But naturally, he didn't tell me that part right away, just like he didn't mention that the snake was a garter until after he got the effect of seeing my face react to the word snake.

Anyways, he told me this occurred during Dodge the Highlighters. Hmmm. When he said that, my mind got busy imagining a scene of unsupervised teenagers tossing neon colored pens at each other and ducking behind tables and chairs. In disbelief, I said, "Is that what you were supposed to be doing?" He said "Yes, that was our M period today." When I asked where was the teacher during Dodge the Highlighters, he said, "No, Mom. I said Adopt a Highway!" Oops. He had been outdoors participating in a service project to pick up trash along the roadway instead of having an out of control study hall session. We got a good laugh out of that hearing mistake and it gave me a story of my own to share.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Update on Grad School Progress

Speaking in public on November 2.
After more than a full year in grad school, I thought I would share how it's been going. In less than a month's time, I will have completed my 5th class  towards my master's degree in Communication Studies. The classes taken so far are:
  • Introduction to Graduate Communication
  • Research Methods
  • Project Management
  • Principles of Effective Fundraising
  • Group Communication and Leadership
This represents 12 hours so I am one-third of the way towards the 36 required hours.

I have enjoyed learning many new things. With the practice I am getting, I have improved my public speaking skills. I now find it enjoyable to present in front of groups. I like to watch their facial expressions and check their comprehension and involvement with what I am saying. I think my hearing loss helps me tune in to the audience's nonverbal responses. It may not be apparent here, but my academic writing skills are improving as well. I'm really glad I took on this challenge although I must admit it has been difficult and not easy.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Deaf World Library and Museum

Another exciting project in the works is the creation of a digital collection of deaf studies. To make this dream a reality, Utah Valley University professor and Director of American Sign Language & Deaf Studies, Bryan Eldredge received a $50,000 grant from the Washington D.C. based Institute of Museum and Library Services.

To learn more, read the official press release.

Kinect Used for Sign Language Translation

Very cool project. I especially like the part near the end of the video where they show a deaf employee using the system.