American Sign Language Professor Kim Amidon begins each class the same way... by tapping her hands on her desk to get her students attention. Her students are scattered across five high schools in neighboring Oswego County. Amidon is in a specially equipped classroom in Mawhinney Hall on the Onondaga Community College campus. There are microphones on her desk which pick up the noise her hands make. And she's surrounded by technology which gives her the ability to communicate with students. "I try to teach classroom style even though I am not in the same classroom as them. I'm trying to make ASL fun for them."
Despite being Deaf, Amidon is able to teach successfully thanks to a variety of electronic devices coupled with her willingness to constantly learn new and better ways to do things. "This year has definitely been more challenging. I'm using more technology this semester than I ever have. It took about a month-and-a-half for us to get everything working perfectly."
OCC Audio Visual Technology Coordinator Kelly Larrivey has worked with Amidon for 5 years, helping her with the technical side of distance learning. "We've worked through many technological challenges together and she's always come through it smiling. It's fascinating to watch her interact with students at five different schools using ASL. Through the years some of those students have wound up coming to OCC and they've always been excited about meeting her in person."
Kristin Edwards works with Amidon as the Distance Learning Specialist at CiTiBOCES in Oswego County. She continues to be amazed with everything Amidon is able to do. "She navigates through all kinds of waters with drive and determination to give her students the absolute best and most meaningful educational experiences. She adapts and makes it all work perfectly. I have never seen an educator move so fluidly with so many moving parts."
The specially numbered photo at the bottom of this story shows you all of those moving parts around Amidon and how each is used. All hardware is supplied by either OCC's Audio Visual department or CiTiBOCES.