Lived Intersections #1 @A Good Space

Grateful to A Good Space for the opportunity to let us share and explore mental health with the participants who had joined us on 31 October 2020.

Representing the Deaf Community, I shared my thoughts, opinions and feelings in light of COVID-19. Not only me, but there are other 6 speakers concerning migrant workers, environmental concerns, the trans community, and invisible conditions. You can take a look at the key insights from this link.

If you have anything to contribute, you can drop us an email at contact@eohorizons.com. Alternatively, you can check us out at our Facebook Page.

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Best Approaches to Communicate with Deaf when using the ZOOM platform

It is ideal to use a desktop computer or laptop with a webcam and strong internet connection.

Your phone or tablet can work, but they are limited to a certain number of video windows. They may not have all the same functions that are available on a computer or laptop.
Make sure that you are in “GALLERY VIEW”. In the upper right corner, there is a button for “SPEAKER VIEW” or “GALLERY VIEW”.

Try familiarize yourself with the ZOOM functions and their locations on your screen.
Having the virtual background may blur your signing, so it is advisable to turn it off for easy viewing for Deaf.

Mirroring the video will confuse you if you are learning Sign Language online. So, please disable the mirror effect.
Deaf and hard of hearing rely on sign language and visual cues that is normally shown on the face and body.

NO SIDELIGHT/BACKLIGHT, PLEASE!
So, avoid having the lights behind your back. Also avoid sitting your back to the window. The “SHADY FACE” will be formed, that is, half of their face is shaded or blocked in some way.

Recommended having one steady lamp, directly by your face, for even, steady lighting.
When using Sign Language or interpreters, you are strongly encouraged to turn off autofocus on your webcam.
Sign Language does not focus on hands only. This has its different components; they are seen on the face and body.

So, please reframe yourself from the head to the waist. Also, ensure that your face, hands and body can be seen in the video box/window.
When reframing yourself in the video window, please try keeping an appropriate distance between the computer/laptop and your body.
If you do not know Sign Language, you can use the ZOOM Chat to message the users (publicly) so that Deaf and hard of hearing can be part of the conversations. #inclusivity
Closed captioning for Deaf on the ZOOM platform is not as what you think.

It requires you to type, or to assign someone to type for Deaf, especially when you have more than 2 hearing persons in the meeting.

OR you can engage the paid third-party captioning services. Please check for more details from https://support.zoom.us/…/207279736-Closed-Captioning

UPDATED (8 SEP 2020):
New Accessibility features in Zoom for the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing users!

1. Multi-pin and multi-spotlight (on Windows & macOS)
With host permission, users will now be able to pin up to 9 participants on their end. The host can also spotlight up to 9 participants for everyone in the meeting.

2. Custom gallery view organization (on Windows & macOS)
Host and co-host can now re-order the gallery view to suit their needs, and choose whether to deploy this view to participants, or allow participants to create their own custom views. Simply click and drag videos to the position you want them in gallery view, and this layout will remain in place until released.

Learn more at https://support.zoom.us/…/360048388632-New-Updates-for…

COVID-19 – a Blessing in Disguise

We can say, this is really a blessing in disguise for ExtraOrdinary Horizons!

Since the Singapore Circuit Breaker (CB) – Phase 1 started on 7 April 2020, the short-term future for ExtraOrdinary Horizons was bleak. This set uncertainty for the gig economy. I was part of it.

Everyone had to comply with the face mask rule, so we live in this masked world. Therefore, I turned to online learning technology, such as Edmodo, Kahoot, Nearpod, ZOOM, so on…
To understand ExtraOrdinary Horizons better, here its profile is below:
“Founded in 2011, ExtraOrdinary Horizons is solely run by Deaf as a niche business, to support employment & entrepreneurship, as well as Deaf Art & Music. At this moment, it is by one-person operation. Our main source of income comes from the public; mostly who learnt Sign Language from us. Since 2011, we’ve brought the social impact to 55,800+ people by promoting deaf awareness to them. Approximately 650 students managed to complete their VGC & Basic Communication Level 1 (in Singapore Sign Language); 230+ students at Level 2, and 34 students at Level 3 (till 2019).”

The challenge I faced is the mask rule that made teaching Singapore Sign Language (SgSL) (when students wear face masks) impossible. The face masks have obstructed most of the learning tasks that revolve around facial expressions in the application of SL syntax.
Initially, I had not tried online learning technology before. I decided to try the (basic) ZOOM tool to conduct my ten-plus free lessons for the public. In the meantime, this helped me better understand the strengths and pitfalls of using ZOOM for my lessons in Singapore Sign Language. Now, I’m really grateful to my student-friends for giving me their utmost faith & support in me.

Then, I decided to pay the one-year licence to use the ZOOM technology for my classes. I opened classes from June to mid-November. Also, I received several requests for private lessons. Yeah, my business became better this time, compared to the previous years.

However, I need to consider my self-care period. I also need to revise and improvise my lesson/content delivery because of the COVID-19 period, and partly thanks to the ACLP program that I applied for this year. I hope to complete this program before CNY 2021.

Now, I hope you can continue giving me your support all the way.

DISCLAIMER: The author of the above article is the director and founder of ExtraOrdinary Horizons. All opinions expressed herein are thus the personal views of contributing individual authors. They are not indicative of any endorsement, political or otherwise, or lack thereof, either on the part of the organisation.

JUN-JUL 2020: Basic Communication Level 2 (TUESDAY)