Opinion piece – are note takers and tutors enough?

While I am certainly biased towards the power of Phonak Roger, there are other accommodations for hard of hearing students as well. Today I’d like to examine note takers and peer tutoring. While these accommodations will be a solution for some – do we do students a disservice if they are the only means we provide?   When considering alternatives like note taking, tutoring and peer support as a main means of accommodation, I can’t help but feel that these are incredibly non-inclusive for the student, and leads to potential educational or social isolation. Relying solely on these means restricts student interaction with the professor and their peers in class. What motivation would a student have to attend class and be actively engaged if someone else is doing the listening for them (assuming a degree of hearing that permits ALD use) – or if a tutor regurgitates the information later? My opinion is that reliance on note taking and tutoring alone is far too passive of an approach that doesn’t enable a genuine learning experience. Instead, they should serve more in a supplemental role. Furthermore, note taking and tutoring don’t account for group discussion and classroom interaction scenarios which increasingly represent the university classroom. Hour long droning professor to student lectures are outdated and rarely the sole format of today’s university environment. More commonly now, there is class discussion and interaction, even within traditional lecture sections. Professors will also show digital media, like a YouTube video, to supplement their material as well.  How can a tutor or note taker aide effectively in these scenarios? If we consider most university budgets are tight for accommodations – that must be the reason note takers and tutoring are...

Captioning with the Roger Pen

The Roger Pen is an incredible piece of technology. If you’ve kept up with any of my previous entries you already know it is the unquestioned leader in providing speech understanding over distance and noise, 54% better than any competitor. In addition, larger networks of microphones can easily be created to capture multiple speakers. Pair this with the ability to record meetings and lectures alongside your iOS device, and you have a powerhouse tool. But what else – can we push the Roger Pen further? What about captioning? I set out to see if I could replicate my successes recording with the Roger Pen in the captioning realm, and the results are in:     The simplest method involves recruiting the Bluetooth functionality of the Roger Pen paired with the power of an iOS based device (smartphone or tablet) plus a free application called “Dictation – Talk to Text”. From our research at Phonak Worklife we know that captioning services can be extremely costly. While captioning via Roger might not be the best solution for every individual, for many it will be a suitable option and the cost savings are immense. Drop us a line at: worklife@phonak.com if you’d like to experience this incredible versatility in the classroom or at work....