This week, local educational institution Gallaudet University received some good news from tech giant Apple.
The university, which supports deaf and hard of hearing students, was just named an Apple Distinguished School for 2022-2025. The designation was made thanks to the school’s use of Apple products for its work teaching American Sign Language and English bilingualism.
Schools receive the designation for leveraging Apple technology for innovation, educational excellence and leadership in the classroom. They also must have documented results of academic accomplishment. Alongside the college, the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, Gallaudet’s K-12 program, was also named an Apple Distinguished School. Currently, Apple lists 639 Apple Distinguished Schools worldwide.
“Technology can be a ‘great equalizer’ for people who are deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind,” Dean of Faculty Khadijat Rashid told Technical.ly. “In particular, video technology allows deaf people to communicate with one another over long distances, and to communicate with hearing people with supports such as sign language interpretation and automatic speech recognition. Apple has been especially attuned to the importance of providing access. This partnership with Apple through its Apple Distinguished Schools program allows us to continue to innovate for impact, consistent with our mission and strategic vision.”
The designation follows several collaborations between Apple and the university over the past few years. Following the launch of the Carnegie Library Apple store, where many university students and alumni were hired, Gallaudet’s president sent an ASL letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Cook responded and shared the letter worldwide. In 2020, leaders from Gallaudet also visited Apple’s HQ in California, which the school said inspired the Connected Gallaudet program, providing app devices to students and faculty. In addition, the school’s communications department created several Apple Maps Guides that highlighted signing in the DC area, and Cook delivered the school’s commencement address in 2022.
Gallaudet is not the only local school with news this week. Johns Hopkins announced that it would partner with Howard University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a new accelerator for companies creating neurological treatments. The program, known as NeuroTech Harbor, plans to launch 45 companies in the next five years thanks to a $5 million investment from the NIH.