Date: April 12, 2011
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, email@example.com
PNC Has Video Phones Available for Public Use
Westville Purdue University North Central now has three video telephones available for public use. The phones allow individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to make and receive calls and allow hearing individuals to place or receive calls with those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The telephones are located in Library-Student-Faculty building Room 014, a lounge located on the lower level; in the Modern Language Lab in Technology Building Room 359; and in PNC Porter County, Undergraduate Building, Room 131, at 600 Vale Park Road, Valparaiso. All phones are available to the public without charge.
The video phone technology combines a telephone at one end, high-speed internet and a television with the video phone at the other end to join both participants in the conversation. When placing a call, the telephone connects to an operator who is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). The operator is visible on the television screen and can see the caller via a web-based camera. At this point, images of the caller and operator are both visible on the screen to communicate with one another. A deaf or hard of hearing caller is free to use sign language and the operator will respond in ASL. If a hearing person is using the videophone to call someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, they will speak to the operator.
A deaf or hard of hearing video phone user can call another deaf person directly if both are using sign language. Or a deaf or hard of hearing video phone user can use the operator to call a hearing voice phone user. The operator is an interpreter who will communicates the information between the parties in ASL and English or ASL and Spanish. If a hearing person wants to call the deaf or hard of hearing video phone user, they will dial the person's phone number and it will automatically go through the operator who will interpret. A video phone user in this country can send or receive calls from any place in this country or around the world.
This is tremendous technology, said Karen Donah, continuing lecturer and Coordinator of American Sign Language. It eases communication for the deaf and hard of hearing and is far superior to the old TTY telephone. We welcome the public, deaf or hearing, who would like to make calls to friends, family and businesses, to use the facilities.
She explained that while the TTY technology was useful, it made use of a keyboard and screen. Therefore, it was slow and cumbersome as persons typed out messages. The video phone allows both individuals to see one another and communicate instantly using ASL the language of choice for most deaf individuals.
It made sense for Purdue North Central to have video phones available as it has a popular American Sign Language program with 132 students enrolled in eight classes and several deaf faculty members as well as students are deaf or hard of hearing.
Throughout the academic year, the PNC ASL Club regularly hosts events on campus, attracting deaf and hard of hearing individuals from throughout the Midwest. These videophones will allow them to send and receive calls as necessary, said Donah.