Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


For deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, the emergence of Instant Messaging technology and digital pagers has been perhaps one of the greatest liberating communication technological breakthroughs since the advent of the TTY. Instant Messaging has evolved into an everyday socially compelling, portable, and “real time” communication mode for students. The focus of this paper is on the pedagogical implications of using Instant Messaging technology to promote student learning and on the process of implementing the technology in order to engage deaf and hard-of-hearing students, both in and out of the science classroom. Applications include in-class learning activities (in homogeneous and heterogeneous communication mode classrooms), out-of-class discussion/study groups, “virtual lectures” with content experts in the field, and communication with students while on co-operative work assignments. Perceived benefits to deaf students, deaf and hearing students in an inclusive environment, as well as benefits to teaching faculty are presented. Technological modifications and instructional application protocols (i.e., hardware, software, and logistical considerations) that are required to maximize the student learning experience are also discussed.