Journal Article

An Investigation of Two-Way Text Messaging Use With Deaf Students at the Secondary Level

C. Tane Akamatsu, Connie Mayer and Shona Farrelly

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 11, issue 1, pages 120-131
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/deafed/enj013
An Investigation of Two-Way Text Messaging Use With Deaf Students at the Secondary Level

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Deaf and hard-of-hearing students are often delayed in developing their independent living skills because of parental restrictions on activities outside the home due to worries about their child's inability to communicate, their whereabouts, and their general safety. Recent accounts of the use of two-way text messagers suggests that, like electronic mail, distance communication problems that have long plagued deaf people may be ameliorated—by the use of such technology (M. R. Power & D. Power, 2004; S. S. Rhone & Cox News Service, 2002). This project was designed as an initial foray into investigating the use of two-way text messaging technology as a way of increasing the independence of deaf adolescents and reducing their parents' anxiety about their safety and responsibility. All the deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the deaf and hard-of-hearing programs at two urban high schools (ages 13–19), the staff of the deaf departments at these two schools, and the parents/guardians of the students participated in this study. Preuse surveys, postuse surveys, and monthly statistics on the number of times each pager was used enabled us to chart how often the participants used the technology. The data were used to identify concerns that parents have about student independence and safety, the extent to which deaf students engage in independent activities, and expectations surrounding how two-way text messaging use might increase independence and literacy skills. The data collected on this project to date confirm that two-way text messaging technology is indeed useful for deaf adolescents and helps alleviate some of the concerns that have kept them from developing independence as quickly or readily as their hearing peers. The potential policy implications for this research are discussed.

Journal Article.  7200 words. 

Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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