PRCVI Connections - September/October 2020

Student Directed Outreach

In response to the ever-increasing number of students learning virtually, the PRCVI Outreach Team is working to create dynamic outreach opportunities that are relevant to students and their teams. Student Directed Outreach is a new program that offers drop-in sessions over Zoom focused on a variety of topics directed by students themselves. The first two Student Directed Outreach programs offer two focuses, one on AT for Non-Visual Access and the other a Lightbox Story Hour!

Beyond the User's Manual - Professional Development Day

On October 23rd, PRCVI presented a professional development day focused on the foundational, concept-based approaches to teaching access four different themes: screen readers, refreshable braille displays, screen magnification, and optical and electronic low vision devices. The presentations included input from adults who use access technology and community partners. The day was delivered via Zoom and attended by 65 teachers of students with visual impairments from across British Columbia and Alberta. Some of the resources shared by presenters and attendees include:

  • SpeedDots Screen Protectors - Screen protector with tactile locator dots built in.
  • PenFriend Audio Labeller - Jen has used the PenFriend to create "audio flashcards" to practice screen reader skills, such as picking out what control has focus in a string of synthetic speech.
  • BrailleBlaster - Freeware braille translation software from APH.
  • Access Technology Institute Textbooks - Textbooks covering screen readers, Windows concepts, and related topics by Cathy Anne Murtha.
  • Smart Beetle - Small 14-cell refreshable braille display.
  • ElBraille - A product from Freedom Scientific that turns the Focus braille display into a full Windows computer.
  • Top Tech Tidbits - Weekly email and web newsletter with access technology links and resources.
  • Get Together with Technology - A peer support network focused on technology for those with visual impairments, including meetings (which are archived), teleconferences, blog posts, and an email listserv.
  • AccessWorld - Articles about new technology, product reviews, and related topics of relevance to access technology for users with visual impairments from AFB.

Shared Vision Events & Programming Calendar

Shared Vision is a collaboration between the organizations and agencies supporting the education and wellness of children and youth with visual impairments in British Columbia. Shared Vision maintains a calendar of upcoming events and programming so that community members can easily keep track of offerings. Of note, one of these events is Adam's Accessible Story Hour on Saturdays! 

New #Outreaching Posts

Our #Outreaching blog gets updated regularly with posts about what the PRCVI outreach team has been up to as well as interesting news and features. If you've fallen behind and need to catch up, here are some of our recent posts:

Remote Learning and Digital #A11Y

During the spring, when a majority of students in British Columbia were engaged in remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PRCVI published a series of guides on using access technology with remote learning resources. These guides have been collected together into to Remote Learning and Digital #A11Y page. The resource guides continue to be expanded as requests for new ones are received, so be sure to let us know if you would like any resources created for access software or remote learning resources not covered in the available guides.

About the author

Jen Jesso

I have worked in various roles in the field of visual impairment since 2007. In addition to working as a teacher of students with visual impairments, I recently completed coursework to become an orientation and mobility specialist. I have been fortunate to work with the fantastic team at PRCVI since 2014.

I enjoy many aspects of my role at PRCVI, but highlights include working with teachers of students with visual impairments and their students on outreach visits and working on PRCVI initiatives and projects.

Outside of work, my interests include reading, computer programming, swimming, and spending time with friends and family.

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