This is a break from educational technology - to personal technology. So...
I talked with my brother today. He called me, and we talked. I called him back and we talked some more.
My brother Dave lives in Connecticut, and I'm in Seattle. He's deaf/blind(legally), and I'm lucky enough to still have those senses.
Today we spoke on the phone - well, I was on the phone at least. Dave was watching an interpreter on a TV (up really close) who signed to him what I said. His TV is hooked up to a camera, so the interpreter can see what he is signing, and relay that back on to me. Yes, in the middle of all this technology there is a person (maybe hundreds, I don't know) who makes it meaningful for the people on either end.
Just amazing technology. Carried over the Internet. Getting him a big new TV was only part of it - he needed high speed Internet access, too.
But he needed somebody to set up the hardware and software to make the magic happen. Someday I hope to meet James, from the HKNC, in person. We've spoken, via the same video relay system before, and we've exchanged lots of email. James, if you're reading here, a big shoutout thank you!
So I spoke with my brother today, but for the first time, I could not reach out and touch him. I'm ever so grateful for the people with the vision to make this happen.