A Future in C-Print?

I’ve been facilitating many of the MLTI regional high school teacher leader sessions this “spring,” wherein we’ve been collecting information about how the integration of the MacBooks is going in schools across the state. So, these haven’t been traditional workshops but round table discussions about what’s working and where the challenges lie. These sessions have been a pleasure as we’ve witnessed and learned of hard work, dedication, perseverance, and accomplishment.

NoteShare has been a central tool of these sessions, with me sharing out a notebook in which commonly requested and evidently needed resources and information are contained, as well as sections for each region that we visit. Within each region’s section, we have a page dedicated to notes on what’s working and another page on the challenges. While each participant keeps an additional local notebook on their laptop from which they add notes to the shared notebook, I take notes during the wider group discussions. I started doing this simply because note-taking helps me learn – the combination of listening, processing, and writing keeps me focused. To be truthful, my mind will wander if I don’t take notes. I realize that many people don’t share this need and have had numerous students impress me with their ability to listen and absorb without so much as a doodle (electronic or otherwise!).

Interestingly, I’ve found that many participants in our sessions begin to rely upon my notes, which are displayed via projector. I mean I take notes – sometimes I even frighten myself as I realize that I’ve practically transcribed somebody’s comments. So, I frequently see folks glancing up at the screen…perhaps catching something they’ve missed or couldn’t hear due to someone coughing or blowing their nose (does anyone NOT have a cold in Maine these days?). I’ve also noticed that when a speaker uses a tech term that is still new to some folks (“ning,” “jing,” “bonjour,” “moodle,” “GeoGebra,” “flickr,” “VoiceThread,”…), one or two people will look up at the screen to see the word in text – they may not ask the speaker to explain what it is, but at least they have the text that they can Google!

It dawned on me last week that this is similar to a technique known as C-Print. You may have experienced C-Print yourself, without knowing what it’s called. I’ve been to conferences at which a C-Print captionist types what is spoken (by the presenter as well as the audience) as an accommodation for participants who are deaf or hard of hearing. It has also been used in secondary and college classrooms. You may ask yourself, “Why would an individual prefer C-Print over sign language interpretors?” Well, I suppose the answer is in the question: It’s a preference.

I must say that C-Print certainly contributes to everyone’s ability to capture and process information presented in spoken language. Now, if I could only figure out how to type and talk at the same time…

3 comments so far

  1. Mark Spahr on


    It seems to me that in addition to assisting the deaf or hard of hearing, this type of system would help to address multiple learning styles of students (i.e. visual vs. audible).

  2. Cynthia Curry on

    Hi Mark,

    What do you think – weren’t you there at one of these sessions?! 🙂 I’d be interested to know your perspective as I didn’t raise the idea until a session in Houlton this past Monday.

    The connection to C-Print occurred to me as I watched teachers continually glance up at the screen to catch bits of the discussion that they’d missed (while they were jotting down a note, commenting to the person next to them, or perhaps checking their e-mail!). I’ve witnessed a couple of teachers actually read along as I type the text of the discussions. Most teachers, however, didn’t refer to them during our session – but did want to save a local copy of the electronic notebook to take with them.

    I’ve noticed the same behavior at conferences and in classrooms where C-Print (the real thing, which I’m certainly not qualified for!) is intentionally used to accommodate a participant or student who is deaf. Many individuals take advantage of the display of the text of the lecture or discussion – they can hear the speaker just fine, but are compelled by an alternative method of receiving and processing the content being conveyed.

    Not sure how this particular method of universal design might be integrated into general education in a practical way. Having students share and exchange notes has been done effectively, but that is an “after the class happens” approach. Speech-to-text has some interesting applications in this context. iCommunicator is an example and is again specialized as an accommodation for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, but then again, it’s a means by which we can get content in multiple formats, which of course benefits everyone. Perhaps such technologies will become mainstream in classrooms a little bit further down the 21st Century road!

    Thanks for coming by!

  3. Mark Spahr on


    Yes, I was at the session at UTC in Bangor (I was the guy who had to leave early due to a family emergency).

    As far as integrating into general education in a practical way, maybe it is as simple as having a student or students in the class taking notes, like you have been doing at the MLTI sessions, and projecting it for everyone to see. If it was done in noteshare or a class wiki it could be edited by the class during and after the session. The teacher could even set it up ahead of time with the main points in outline form already posted. Or maybe the teacher puts up pre-written notes on the projector in a shared notebook with the expectation that the students would edit and add their notes to it. [/brainstorming]

    One thing that I often find value in when attending a conference, is having a backchannel chat where discussion can happen and links can be posted. Vicki Davis and David Warlick are two edubloggers who do this when they present. Vicki Davis suggests that you have a moderator for the backchannel and even a person designated to Google items that may come up and post the links. While not exactly the same, I think that the benefits could be similar to projecting the notes in class.

    I guess the bottom line is that the more ways you can offer the information to students (or any other group) the better. Technology can help to differentiate instruction so that learning can be improved and/or more accessible.


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