Technology Transports Students to Class from their Bedrooms
Jonathan’s “very strong” reaction
For Suzanne Bossart, the spring visit by her class at the Matheny School to the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton was, “our biggest trip of the year.” But, for one of the special education teacher’s students who had been ill, 18-year-old Jonathan Carideo, it meant another day in bed. That’s when Matheny’s expertise in and commitment to technology saved the day.
Using wireless modem-equipped computers, Alex Fraumann, the school’s technology coordinator, put one computer in Jonathan’s room and connected it to Bossart’s laptop via cellular modems called AirCards. Jonathan has limited vision, and Bossart says he was very subdued at first.. “But I ran around the sculpture garden with the laptop, describing what we were seeing. He has good auditory skills, and, since he’s been in my class for two years, he recognizes my voice. And he recognized the utterances of a classmate, Richard Kelly, who could see him on my computer.” Jonathan broke into a huge smile, which, according to Bossart, represented, “a very strong facial expression for him.”
This is but one example, says Fraumann, of how Matheny utilizes technology, “to enhance these students’ lives. It’s really rewarding.” The technology used for the computer-to-computer videoconferencing, Fraumann points out, “is proprietary to Apple. It’s called iChat.” Using the AirCards, he explains, “enables us to use a computer to access the internet anywhere. There is no more looking around for a wireless hot spot.” Fraumann is the co-chair of Matheny's technology committee. The committee is a multidisciplinary team that meets weekly to monitor and advocate for the incorporation of technology into Matheny’s daily activities.