A partnership with Apple has seen all Gallaudet University students and faculty members receive an iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard Folio and Apple Pencil.

The university is a specialist higher education faculty in which all programs are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students …

Apple made the announcement today.

Gallaudet University has always been a center of advanced learning and teaching approaches. From its founding in 1864 with 8 students who are deaf, to its thriving university community of over two thousand students and faculty today, Gallaudet has become the premier higher education institution for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. As many schools around the world face the challenges of remote learning with online classes, Gallaudet rises as an example for what educators and students can do with their creativity powered by personal technology […]

This summer, Gallaudet University students and faculty received a special welcome kit. Inside, they found some essential Bison gear — the school’s mascot — including a sweatshirt, stickers, and a notebook. There were also a few powerful learning tools that would be essential for the remote fall semester. Every student and faculty member was equipped with a new iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard Folio.

With iPad Pro, Gallaudet marks the next chapter in its mission to offer students the knowledge and practical skills vital to achieving personal and professional success. It’s also a core component of Connected Gallaudet, an initiative that consists of three imperatives in the university’s strategic plan: equity and belonging, bilingual mission, and innovation.

The university expressed its appreciation, while Apple said it was an honor to be involved.

“We are grateful to Apple for entering into this exciting collaboration with us, and for its support in so many other ways,” says Roberta J. Cordano, president of Gallaudet University. “While Connected Gallaudet was in the works even before the novel coronavirus pandemic, it has become transformational for us as we moved entirely online for the fall semester” […]

“It’s an honor to work with such an innovative institution as Gallaudet,” says Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Markets, Apps, and Services. “It’s great to see technology have this kind of impact across an entire university while also bringing coding together with American Sign Language and creativity. It’s so exciting that Gallaudet students will participate in WWDC next year.”

Students and faculty members alike have described the benefits.

SaraBeth Sullivan, a fourth year Ph.D. student in the university’s Educational Neuroscience program, finds the flexibility of iPad Pro extremely helpful. With iCloud she can synchronize files across her devices, and she takes full advantage of Sidecar, making use of an extra screen during online class presentations. These features help remote learning experiences stay personal.“

In my advanced statistics class using R to analyze data, I was struggling with a piece of code that was giving me repeated errors,” Sullivan says. “I was able to share my screen with my professor over Zoom and hand over controls to her. She was able to work on my iPad, working on my code, solving the issue! Without my iPad, this would have been more difficult” […]

Dr. Julie A. Hochgesang, Ph.D. and associate professor in the Department of Linguistics, teaches the field methods and phonology of signed languages, and researches language documentation and corpus linguistics. This means she is constantly observing, assessing, and researching how people use language. Dr. Hochgesang finds technology essential, often using Markup to make notes on raw data, AirDrop to share files, AirPlay for presentations, and Sidecar. When COVID-19 hit, many people who are deaf around the world were talking about the crisis. They were also figuring out how to talk about it.

“There were words and signs we were using for concepts most of us had never seen before,” says Dr. Hochgesang. “I saw many videos and online written posts, and saw the different signs people were using. I was able to screen-record or take a screenshot of these examples and immediately mark them up and insert them in my Notes app or transfer them to my iMovie app to compile them.”

Apple has also been supporting school teachers with a remote learning initiative.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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