On October 21st, three SET-BC regional consultants, Dave Rathwell, Vicky Midtdal and Chris Marshall, all members of our Vision Interest Group, presented “Low Vision Technology” at the BC Vision Teachers Conference. The session introduced participants to both high and low tech solutions through an exploration of the SET-BC guides, “Reading and Writing Strategies for Students who are Blind/ Visually Impaired”. The presentation was delivered as a pre-conference day and was designed to introduce the provincially-based workshop to vision teachers and to encourage them to promote it to teachers and teams working with students who are blind or have low vision.
The pre-conference session went very well with a high level of audience interaction and participation. There was time for the delegates to explore a whole range of technologies at ten stations set up around the room, including low vision aids and specialized writing implements, video room viewers, video magnifiers, manual and electronic Braillers, screen reading and magnification software, optical character recognition (OCR) programs and audio devices. The guides – now available in the Learning Centre of the SET-BC website – were very well received; participants especially appreciated the checklists which helps teams evaluate what solutions have already been tried and guide them toward other strategies which may be appropriate.
The vision teachers commented that they felt this would raise awareness of what is available amongst the teams they support and would also help to organize and demystify some of the vision technologies. The presentation also explored various considerations when selecting vision technologies including the environment in which the technology will be used, student buy in or acceptance, as well as suggestions for successful implementation strategies. Ensuring the technology is actually a solution and not a barrier to team implementation and student success was also highlighted.
As part of the day, Dave Rathwell presented What’s New? offering participants an opportunity to see an array of small hand held electronic magnifiers, the newer video room viewers which connect easily to a laptop display, and the accessibility features available on iDevices. Congratulations to our vision interest group on all their hard work creating and facilitating the pre-conference session and the two guides now available in our Learning Centre!