Why I’m Struggling this Year

This blog was started, not to brag or “Showcase” my classroom, but to reflect on my teaching and hopefully improve.  Based on this year’s outcomes, I’d say I have a lot to improve upon.  I started the year wanting to become skilled with technology integration in the form of a flipped classroom.  I can’t say it has been successful.  At the same time, I can’t say that any other method would have been any better.  What is my struggle this year? Why do I feel like such a failure in everything that I am trying to do?  I’d say the biggest hindrance is not being able to connect with others in the same situation as me and not having a collaborative PLN.

In the past, I’ve been able to bounce ideas off of others, find wonderful resources on the internet; I  have been content with being a voiceless bystander who soaks in information by watching.  First, many people in my school are resistant to trying the flipped model and I’m starting to understand why.  With the advent of video and flipped learning comes a whole class of resources that I cannot use simply because they are not accessible.  Flipped was supposed to be this revolutionary concept that makes learning accessible, but as a teacher who is deaf, I’m not able to access a large majority of dialogue or even shared lessons that are exchanged in flipping PLNs.   This means I have to create a lot of content on my own which becomes very time-consuming.    I joined discussion groups and even twitter chats.  So what about bouncing ideas off of other flippers through Ning or Twitter?  Just as before, I gleaned some wonderful information but nobody was interested in my questions or my struggles in the deaf ed classroom.  Nobody seems to want to understand the challenges of accessibility for those who are disabled.  It brings us right back to why IDEA was necessary.   Children with disabilities, especially hearing or vision loss, always get pushed aside as “somebody else’s problem.”   As long as the hearing community continues to put accessibility on the back burner, people with disabilities will continue to fall behind.  Isn’t the entire point of the flipped model to provide accessibility to students?  To give students access to resources they may not have at home?  Something as simple as captions can open up an entire world to a student who is deaf or hard of hearing.

So, I’m becoming burnt out in trying to recreate all the wonderful resources that are already out there in a form that is accessible for my students.   It takes me twice the time to workout a video that includes ASL.  I know I’m doing something that will not only benefit my students, but maybe even other deaf students and deaf teachers but at present it is a huge source of frustration for me.  I’m hoping to one day meet another deaf teacher who wants to give collaboration  shot.  Maybe then flipped model won’t feel so hard.  For now, let me share some resources with hearing people who DO wish to broaden their definition of accessibility and open their videos beyond their classrooms:

Caption It Yourself— this web resource provides some wonderful guidelines for captioning your own videos and gives a wide variety of links to web-based captioning tools.

Many flippers already use Camtasia Studio which comes with a captioning tool.