This project was a long time in the making. Changes to our schedule this year, due to COVID-19, finally allowed an opportunity to bring Dream for Schools to UNI and our DHH students. There was never a doubt Coding and Web Development would be amazing skills to learn, the challenge was always finding a time that worked. I was thrilled we were finally able to, and the project did not disappoint. In a manner of a short six weeks, students, many of whom had never attempted to Code were presenting individual websites of their own making and interest. You could see how proud they were sharing their creations. It was fun to watch! I’m looking forward to providing more of these opportunities to others and hopefully inspire some more future web developers!
Overall, the kids at DHH are just like any other of my students. The only difference was that we had a “language” barrier and had interpreters like Ms. Crystal and Mr. Michael to help me communicate with the kids. Teaching DHH was actually amazing because I learned how to take my time with my words and think through everything I say before I say it because it needed to be interpreted to the kids. The experience basically taught me how to slow down (as in my normal classes, I kinda just am all over the place sometimes with my words). I had to learn how to slow down what I said, really elaborate what I meant when I explain something. The most important figures for this were definitely the interpreters and their teacher, Ms. Kay (Kay Anderson). They took the time to help me improve as an instructor and taught me a little bit about deaf culture. They were very patient and so willing to help. Of course, this was all for the kids! The kids were amazing, I couldn’t ask for a better class. They were patient with me, trusted me enough to ask questions and for help, so full of personality, and never made me feel like I shouldn’t be their instructor because I didn’t know how to sign. In fact, in the beginning, they were very quick to tell me how I can change my teaching so that they can learn better, which I appreciated so much! I guess if they were to ask if I would teach them again, the answer would be “yeah!”
DHH Sign Language Interpreters
Dreams for Schools provided a Web Development class for our Deaf and Hard of Hearing students at University High School in Irvine, California. Miss Julie was a very kind teacher; her personality was greatly enjoyed by all. The students were set at ease with their weekly icebreakers and talks with Miss Julie. She was very personable and friendly with both the students and the school staff. The students got to learn about coding and set up their own websites. It was helpful for the students to participate in the lecture, then see Miss Julie doing live coding while they watched. Seeing the active coding helped the students understand the concepts they were discussing. Then, being able to code their own website made everything so much more concrete. Having lots of built-in practice time helped the students feel confident in their work.
I am happy this opportunity was made possible for the DHH students. I watched this class from start to finish. Over time, the students started to come to class with enthusiasm. They needed no reminders. It was great to see the students help one another as they learned how to develop their websites. The teacher’s passion for web development is contagious. A student has said he wants to pursue web development as a possible career!
Closing Remarks: What these kids were able to accomplish was no small feat. In less than 10 weeks, students were able to learn the valuable skills of coding and web development with the help of a live instructor-- using these skills to enable their creativity in designing these websites shaped by their personal interests. We are excited to see what these amazing kids will be able to accomplish in the future!
A special Thank you to the amazing staff that made it possible: Interpreters who helped support the class: Ms.Crystal, Mr.Michael, and Ms.Kay. As well as to some of our partners: Lydia Keener UX Designer, formerly The PA School for the Deaf Amy Kaufman, CEO Leadership Appliance of Orange County Ram Rao, LensGen Inc. and Board Member of Dreams for Schools Adriana Galdamez, Cox Nithin Jilla, Executive Director of Dreams for Schools For being a part of the Virtual Showcase and attending student presentations!
If you’re curious about the OCDE Deaf & Hard of Hearing Program, visit their site Here
For more information about our Web Development program, visit Here