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• Morgan Greene
• Economics Educator
• Third Grade Teacher
• Mother of 10-year old
• High School American Sign Language Instructor
• High School Teacher
• Assistive Technology Specialist
Hello. My name is Morgan Greene, Jr. I was born and live in Bradenton, FL. I lost my hearing from spinal meningitis as a baby. I am a cochlear implant user. I cannot always understand the words, but still, it is wonderful because it helps me hear and speak better in many ways. I have been using a cochlear implant for 10 years now, since I was almost 8 years old.
School Experiences Before iCommunicator
When I was in the 7th, 8th and 9th grades, I attended a deaf school in St. Augustine, FL, called Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB). I had three great years there. There were difficult times and great times and the social part was wonderful. But I wanted to go back home to be with my family and attend school near my home, because I wanted to have a normal life like hearing people have, such as family, work, school, sports, and just hanging out. When I first went back to public school, I went to Bayshore High in Bradenton, Florida.
During my first year, what a tough year I had! The school had a hard time finding an interpreter. They finally found one after four or five weeks of searching. This interpreter was pretty okay but not a professional. He himself was a good, funny man to be around. He was a very nice man and he would try his best, but still it was hard for both of us. I couldnít get all the information the teachers were providing in my classrooms.
My Idea for Independent Communication
After the first year was over, I came up with an idea and told my mother about it. She sent out letters to 100 companies to see if they had the technology and would help us develop it. Only two returned a response and they said that there was not enough of a market for this product.
Then my grandmother saw an article about a product that Teltronics was working on. It was about the use of voice recognition with the computer. My mother arranged a meeting with the president of Interactive Solutions the subsidiary of Teltronics, Mike Dorety, and the CEO, Ewen Cameron. She explained some of the difficulties of people who are deaf. Mr. Dorety agreed that there were needs in the Deaf and Disability areas that needed to be solved and he took action. Within 6 months or so, it was there. The first iCommunicator in history!
School Experiences with iCommunicator
I have been using the iCommunicator now for a year and a half. With this wonderful technology I can receive all of the notes and the same information as the hearing kids. The iCommunicator translates the spoken words and shows them on the computer screen for me. I use the sign language by clicking on a word I donít know and it helps me understand. I love using the computer voice to help me communicate. I use the deep voice and slow it down to practice learning a how to say a word. I also used it to give my presentation in history and read a poem I wrote in English class. Another time I went to see my sister, Michelle, in college to pay her a visit. I went in a car with my sisterís best friend. She was driving for two hours and in the car I used the iCommunicator to communicate for me, and she did not even have to look at me. It was great!
This has helped me improve my reading and writing level and now my grades are better. I started in December of _ with about a sixth grade level and now I am above the 8th grade level. It really is great to see that I can do what any other kid can. My wish has come true to be able to be independent my senior year in high school. The last quarter I only used my interpreter in only one class. In all of my other classes, I only used the iCommunicator and the teachers were really great to help my wish come true. Their voices were really good on the iCommunicator. I finished my last quarter with the highest GPA ever a 3.55. I passed the HSCT test with a 700 in English, thanks to the iCommunicator. I was able to graduate with a regular diploma. I found a great college near my home that will use the iCommunicator in my classes next year.
Some Special Times
One of the other great things was my first Christmas using the iCommunicator. I was able to talk to my grandmother for the first time in my life because she doesnít know sign language. In the past it was always just a hello, hugs, kisses and byes. That was all it had been before that Christmas. My grandmother and I cried because I was able to talk to her for the first time.
Now people understand my voice better than before using the iCommunicator and I understand more words. I am now hoping to become a boss or work in an area that pays well and where I can use this iCommunicator with everyone. I made Homecoming King this year and I was really surprised because I am the only deaf kid at this school. Six students even signed the songs at my graduation.
Thank you everyone at Interactive Solutions for your hard work and making my life better and my future better.
Morgan Greene, Jr.
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It was my privilege to work with Morgan Greene during 2000-2001 academic year at Bayshore High School. I was familiar with the iCommunicator from the previous year as Morgan had been a student of a neighbor who taught US History. I think this was why I felt comfortable from the start of the process. During August preschool workdays, I met with Morgan, his parents, and other educators to discuss the iCommunicator. I took it upon myself to be one of the first teachers to receive training because I wanted to hit the ground running and give Morgan every opportunity to grasp the content of Economics, which is a rigorous course. During the training, I was comforted by the fact that I really did not have to learn a lot of computer functions, as I am not a whiz in this area. What mattered most was to be able to read from various literary selections and allow my voice to be recognized by the computer to provide a suitable print out for Morgan. This does take some time; however, it is a crucial step in the process. I was also fortunate that there were disks that came with the textbook, which contained vocabulary for the course. The data on these disks was entered into the computer. Were there times when I forgot that I had a microphone on and continued to talk? Certainly. It takes some time to become comfortable with the fact that the instructor has the ability to turn on and turn off the device. Whatever is spoken and printed out on the computer is formatted to Word. My understanding is that anything on the computer can be edited in or out and therefore concerns about content are not well founded. Content is not, and will not, be held against the teacher, but it is a tool to be used to benefit the student. After all, that is why we are here. I suppose that my experience was atypical because I had no reservations going into this venture. I must tell you that it was rewarding to see the improvement that Morgan made during the fall semester. It would be my pleasure to answer any questions or address any concerns, which fellow educators may have. I will be transferring to Manatee High School and I will be teaching there beginning in August.
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A Third Grade Teacher
Dear Mr. Dorety,
I am a third grade teacher at Ben Lippen School in Columbia, SC. I had the privilege of teaching a profoundly deaf student, named Catherine, this year. As the teacher, I was responsible for presenting the needed educational material to my students. Watching Catherine progress through the year, I learned a lot about the unique learning needs of a deaf student. The most profound being language access.
We began the school year with Catherine's mother as an interpreter. She did well paying attention to the interpreter and me. The biggest problem was the dependency Catherine and I both had on the interpreter. In February, Catherine's parents purchased the iCommunicator. We spent the necessary time training the computer to recognize my voice. Catherine also had some adjusting to do. She had to learn to read the text and signs on the computer and attend me. There were times when she was overwhelmed and missed classroom explanations. I always made time to work with her individually to assist in this transition. Catherine soon learned how to scroll back to see needed information and ask me for help. I saw Catherine progress to being responsible for her own learning.
The time spent in the beginning training my voice and helping Catherine adjust to her new circumstances was quite beneficial. Using the iCommunicator allowed Catherine to access language in the classroom. The difference I saw between the interpreter and the iCommunicator was the independence it afforded her. I saw a very happy young lady develop by the end of the school year. I am so thankful that such a product exists for students like Catherine.
Catherine's Third Grade Teacher
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Mother of 10-year old
Dear Mr. Dorety: I have a 10-year-old deaf daughter named Catherine. She attends Ben Lippen School, a private school in Columbia, South Carolina. Ben Lippen School does not provide special services like interpreters. As such I served as her interpreter. This was not the most ideal circumstance for either of us. However, her education was very important to my husband, and me so I committed to serve in this capacity for as long as I was needed.
In January of this year, through a series of events, I learned of the iCommunicator. I contacted Interactive Solutions and spoke with Virginia Greene, who also has a deaf child. Following our conversation, I was convinced that this would provide freedom and independence for Catherine. Ben Lippen School was willing to work with us and utilize the computer in the classroom.
My husband and I decided to order the computer and subsequently traveled to Florida for a training class in how to voice train Catherineís teacher. Upon our return, the teacher was very eager to work with me to train in her voice. In about 3.5 hours we had her voice trained at 98%. I continued to stay with Catherine for about 2 weeks to monitor the system. I believe this training process was the most important contribution to the success of the iCommunicator. The printed text on the screen will only be as accurate as the voice training and the time spent monitoring the system. I had a vested interest and was determined to achieve the highest possible accuracy. Catherine is now in her 5th week of being alone in school with the iCommunicator. Catherine has become wonderfully independent and now has true ownership of her education. Her grades are terrific!
When she entered Ben Lippen School she was behind her peers academically. Now, two years later, she in on grade level. Catherine feels very good about herself and is thriving academically, socially, and emotionally. Deaf children can learn anything hearing children can in much the same way, but they must have sign language to access the information. The iCommunicator enables deaf students to access academic information through sign language and written text. I am seeing increases in Catherineís language, reading, and writing skills weekly.
The iCommunicator doesnít abolish the support needed at home. However, in our situation it has alleviated the need for my presence in the classroom and makes for a much more relaxed afternoon when it is time for homework. The iCommunicator has enabled Catherine to gain her independence and receive an education in an atmosphere where she is expected to reach her potential. I believe that the iCommunicator is the greatest advancement I have seen in the area of accommodations for the deaf since learning Catherine was deaf.
A Mom in South Carolina
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High School American Sign Language Instructor in Florida
It is hard to believe that this piece of software can change the spoken word to print so quickly. I truly see the impact this technology can have on the lives of deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
As an assistive device, deaf people will be able to match specific English words to their interpreterís signs. This will help them when taking tests. For English-using deaf and hard of hearing people, the iCommunicator can stand on its own. These English-users can make print corrections with their knowledge of English and use of context clues. Deaf and hard of hearing young readers is another group that will benefit from this software. Here these young students are able to hear stories without the background noise, see visual signs to depict a word and see the written word. I look forward to seeing the powerful impact this technology will have on these childrenís reading levels. For the parents of deaf children, the iCommunicator gives them an opportunity to learn signs and communicate with other children. The iCommunicator is a step in the right direction to provide equal access and help to level the playing field for Deaf individuals.
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High School Teacher in Florida
Technology in the classroom is always a benefit to a teacher and this product could revolutionize education. Iím always looking for tools to improve my studentís performance and this technology will give my deaf students the ability to perform at a high level. Iím looking forward to experiencing all the benefits of this new technology and watching it help take my students into the 21st century.
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Assistive Technology Specialist in Florida
Bayshore High School has a deaf student that is using the software program iCommunicator in the classroom to increase his ability to communicate with the teacher, increase his command of the English language, and to be able to participate in classroom discussions. The computer and software allow the student to view the printed words as the teacher speaks them. The student is also able to type a response to a question asked by the teacher. The computer and iCommunicator software will help the student to feel a sense of independence and more control over their education. The computer and software can benefit other students. The software is great for students enrolled in ESOL classes, foreign language classes, and special needs classes. I believe the computer and iCommunicator software can and will be a much-needed link between the teacher and the student, no matter what the studentís needs are. For the hearing impaired, this is a huge breakthrough for helping a student to acquire more accurate information from the teacher while improving their command of the English language. I think every school district would benefit from having this product to assist any of their students with special needs, especially those that are hearing impaired.
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