The Assistive Technology hardware selected is for students in an elementary school who are hard of hearing. These students wear hearing aides and have sign language interpreters with them for every class they attend.
The hardware choice selected is a Personal FM System. This technology allows a student to wear special hearing aides while the teacher wears a microphone. The teacher’s voice is transmitted to the hearing aides and amplified so that the student can hear what is being said. The voice is transmitted at a constant level regardless of the distance between the teacher and student and background noise is diminished. There is an auxiliary input that allows the FM system to be plugged into any audio source. The cost is $609.00-$775 depending on the model selected. It can be purchased through EnableMart at the following link: http://www.enablemart.com/Catalog/Amplification-Systems/Motiva-Personal-FM-System.
The FM transmitter is easy to use and does not require much training. There is an On/Off switch and there is a mute button for when the teacher wants to speak, but does not want the student to hear what is being said. The transmitter needs to be charged at the end of each school day. Further, the student should switch from his or her regular hearing aides to the special hearing aides that come with the system.
The purpose of this technology is to enhance the teacher’s voice for the hard of hearing student. It is a sturdy piece of hardware, mobile, and it can be used in a variety of situations within the school setting. Students can learn both academics and social skills more effectively when they have the ability to hear. This technology would not take the place of a sign language interpreter, but rather increase the understanding and comprehension of school activities. A certified audiologist would evaluate and monitor the student as well as help fix the FM System if any technical issues arise.
The Personal FM System would be used during all instructional time during the school day. The student would put the special hearing aides in as soon as he or she arrives to school and then give the microphone to the classroom teacher. The FM system would then be used during classroom instruction time. The teacher would have to be cognizant of when lessons transition from whole group instruction to small group instruction or individual help. The FM System has a mute button that should be utilized when the instruction is not directed at the hard of hearing student, so that he or she can concentrate on tasks. This system is extremely sensitive allowing the student to even hear a whisper by the teacher. The FM System is very portable and would follow the student to all instructional classes such as Library, Music, Art, and Physical Education so that the instruction is amplified. It would also be taken to Computer class and plugged directly into the computer so that sounds from the computer could be heard.
The use of this technology would greatly help the hard of hearing student and he or she would feel appreciative that there is this kind of technology available. Use of the sign language interpreter is important, but the FM System can allow the student to feel more independence in school. The interpreter is always a little behind from what the teacher is saying and the hard of hearing student can feel behind from the rest of the class. The FM System allows the student to comprehend what the teacher is saying in real time. The interpreter and the FM System can work together to make sure that the hard of hearing student has access to all of the instruction occurring in every lesson.