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 Hour long droning professor to student lectures are outdated and rarely the sole format of today’s university environment.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 so common. Right? What if I told you in my experience, note taking and tutoring are far more expensive – as they are a reoccurring hourly expense!
Finally, I would point to the hidden capabilities of the Roger Pen. The Bluetooth feature paired with an iPad or iPhone allows digital recording of a lecture or even basic captioning (with download of a free application), at no additional or reoccurring cost, not to mention Roger’s incredible sound quality and noise reduction capabilities.
Can you afford not to consider Roger?
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