Teaching the teachers

Willie on the plane
Willie on the plane

I love to travel, especially by air. As is my due, I get plenty of attention. Airlines assign the blind guy to a row with extra leg room, so that I can stretch my big self out and enjoy the ride. While in route, airports give me a special place outside the terminal to chill and refresh myself. Travel industry staff are seriously nice. Just sayin'.

I'm happy to report that Ed and I have been traveling a lot in the past year, and we've been bringing along Diane Brauner. She's one of my favorite people, so I'm all good about the arrangement. Diane is a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS). She has a knack for teaching technology to kids of all ages.

teaching teachers in NC
Teaching teachers in NC

Ed and Diane are teaching teachers how to use iPads with students who have low vision or no vision. It's super-hard for visually-impaired kids to access curriculum through printed textbooks or from whiteboards. The built-in accessibility features of the iPad solve many of these problems. However, many teachers are not aware of these capabilities or they have not received the hands-on training  required to use the technology effectively in the classroom.

That's where Ed and Diane come in.  They've traveled to Boston, San Francisco, and cities across North Carolina to teach the teachers.  At each location, Ed and Diane teach TVIs how to use iPads with iBooks, Pages, SAS Flash Cards, and other apps. After a full-day of hands-on activities with an iPad, the teachers are jacked up and ready to share the iPad with their students.

bloomberg interview with willie, ed, and journalists
Bloomberg interview with Willie, Ed and journalists

Bloomberg dropped by to find out what we were doing during our visit to San Francisco. Check it out on this video, although I will take this opportunity to voice my displeasure that the footage of me evidently ended up on the cutting room floor.

Willie being filmed during bloomberg interview
Photo courtesy of J.Martin, Apple.com

Between the Bloomberg video and journal articles (like this Future Reflections article), the word is getting out. Requests for the training keep pouring in. It’s fun for me, amazing for teachers, and life-changing for visually-impaired students.

For more information about the training, check out the home page for SAS’s efforts to make education accessible for students of all abilities.


About Author

Willie the Seeing Eye Dog

SAS Accessibility and Applied Assistive Technology

Willie the Seeing Eye dog has been part of the SAS Accessibility and Applied Assistive Technology team for four years. He helps Software Development Manager Ed Summers get around SAS Corporate Headquarters without breaking his neck. He plans to blog about his many adventures with Ed as they work to ensure that users of all abilities can succeed using SAS software.

1 Comment

  1. Just happened to come across your blog Willie. Excellent posts, and a big Woof to you (well, and to your biped friend also)! Thank you very much for sharing.


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