By Kerry Michael – Administrative Assistant
On May 5th over 40 vision professionals participated in the annual Claire Loder McGough Conference despite a torrential downpour. This years topic was “Vision and the Brain: What Neuroscans can tell us about CVI.”
Participants came from all corners of Maryland to hear Dr. Corinna Bauer from Harvard Medical School and the Schepens Eye Research Institute. Dr. Bauer spoke about her work on the use of multimodal neuroimaging techniques to understand how the visual dysfunctions observed in cortical/cerebral visual impairment (CVI) relate to changes in brain structure and function. Even I (someone with a Literature degree) found her talk both engaging and enlightening, so I’m sure are esteemed professionals got much more from the presentation.
After a delicious lunch with lots of guacamole participants met in breakout groups to discuss specific practices for helping students on the ground and strengthened their connections with colleagues.
Another important part of the day was the awarding of the Claire Loder McGough Professional Achievement Award. This year it went to MSB’s very own Principal, Dr. Josh Irzyk for his technological contributions to the field, and luckily his mom was there to see him accept his award! (Keep an eye out for a later post with details about Dr. Irzyk’s award and accomplishments).
Concepts such as GoTalk NOW, Tiggly, ALT tag, and tactile overlay took center stage at last week’s Practical Technology Tips for Visually Impaired Learners Conference held at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD. A result of a partnership between The Maryland School for the Blind and the Maryland State Steering Committee for Programs of the Visually Impaired, the conference saw Teachers of the Visually Impaired attend from eight Maryland counties and the District of Columbia as well as Overbrook School for the Blind and The Maryland School for the Blind. Parents, the Division of Rehabilitation Services, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, and Allied Instructional Services were also represented among the attendees.
Conference participants chose to attend one of two concurrent sessions: Dr. Joshua Irzyk, Statewide Low Incidence Specialist, presented “What Do I Do with This Thing: Skills for Computer and Tablet Access.” Karin Nord and Kelly Jarrett, Assistive Technology Specialists at The Maryland School for the Blind, presented “Meaningful Moments and Manipulatives on the iPad for Learners with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities.”
Attendees detailed the range of new skills and techniques they learned during the event: accessibility check, optimizing presentation slide titles, ALT tag, and strategies for note taking represent a few of the examples cited. They also voiced appreciation for the opportunity to make a sample tactile overlay for the iPad as well as iPad support stands.
As part of planning for additional events, those in attendance were asked to provide examples of concepts they would like to see addressed in a future conference. One of the most popular topics noted was technology applications for math instruction.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for this technology conference. The Maryland School for the Blind and the Maryland State Steering Committee for Programs of the Visually Impaired also thank the Claire Loder McGough Memorial Fund for sponsoring this event.
Did you attend this conference? Feel free to drop us a note with additional feedback or suggestions!