Inside This Issue

Here's what you'll find:
  • From SVRC: Dates for Your 2018 Diary, Changes to PD Program, VCE Students, Funding Boost for Students with Disabilities, Space Camp 2018 – Expression of Interest Form, English and Maths Online Interview, Ozzie Dots Update, Final Support Skills for 2018
  • Technology: Accessible App – Ballyland Sound Memory, Braille and Tactile Hangman, Accessible Playground, 3D Printing – DNA Chain
  • PD: RIDBC Now With Macquarie University, CVI PD, Free SPEVI Membership
  • From the Field: Faster Learning Trick, The Road to Employment, Accessible
Check updated The Bulletin archive for back issues!

Dates for Your Diary – 2018

Here is a list of our planned PD for next year.
Programs and registration is available on our website here. You can now pay by credit card or request to be invoiced.

Changes to PD Registrations 2018

From Marion Blazé, Manager

Registration for SVRC’s PD activities is through our website: This is now live and because we are now using Eventbrite, we can now take online payments via Visa, Mastercard and AMEX. Participants can "edit" their events once they have bought tickets, so for example, if a school registers three teachers, but doesn’t initially name them, they can edit later to enter correct names for nametags and certificates. We can accept refunds up to 7 days before an event.

This system tracks contact details of participants. If we have insufficient numbers to run a PD day, it will be cancelled and all participants will be notified.

VCE Students in 2018

From Marion Blazé, Manager

With the retirement of Lyn Robinson earlier this year and then Lee Clarke this week (!) we are not sure who will be picking up VCE support from SVRC in 2018, but it will happen!!
Please let us know as soon as you can of any students who are blind or have low vision doing VCE subjects in 2018. Please also make sure that their books and materials have been requested in the alternative format they require, so that they can get them in a timely manner.

Not all "Special Provisions" available to our students are written up in the VCE Handbook, so it is very helpful to have an outside "expert" involved with VCE support groups, so that students can have every chance of a level playing field for their Unit 3 & 4 studies.

Happy Summer to All!

The staff of the Statewide Vision Resource Centre, wish you an excellent festive season and summer! A skeleton staff will be working over the holidays so you can continue to send requests and chapter order with dates via email. We look forward to an exciting 2018, filled with challenges, excellence and learning!

VCE Student Results (2017)

We love to hear how students went in their VCE – if you are happy to share, please let us know. And/or you can let us know what your plans are for next year – studies, gap year, work …

We can put the information in The Bulletin OR NOT – what ever is ok with you.

Funding Boost for Students with Disabilities

From Marion Blazé, Manager

The Victorian Premier announced on Monday, November 27, 2017 that the Government is to provide a $42 million package of initiatives to assist students with disabilities in 2018.

"This is about giving every child every chance to succeed," said Premier Daniel Andrews.
$12 million will be to buy specialised equipment. This will include $6 million for students who are blind or have low vision, and $6 million for students with other disabilities (hearing, physical and learning needs).

There will also be $6.5 million in scholarships for teachers to study post-graduate special education courses.

Good news all round!!

Accessible Apps for Fun and Learning

Ballyland Sound Memory’s Black Curtain Challenge!

A fun iPad game to be enjoyed at a level playing field, regardless of a visual impairment!

Test your listening skills and your auditory memory!
Get Ballyland Sound Memory from the AppStore and visit the website for short game instructions.

For more information, visit the Sonokids website, at http://www/

Braille and Tactile Hangman

Claire from ChildsPly has created a wooden snowman that you can use to play Hangman. For more details, see:

Q&A: English and Maths Online Interview

Question: Just wondering if anyone knows if the English and Maths online interview is available in braille for our new Prep Students?

Answer: Yes, the English materials are available – contact SVRC. We anticipate also being able to provide the Maths materials also.

Faster Learning: the World's Easiest Hack


Want a five to 15 percent boost in learning speed? Then make this dead simple change to your study habits.

We've all spent a minimum of a decade in formal education, so you'd think that in all that time, we'd have at least mastered the most basic principles of how to study efficiently. But study after study shows that's not true. Many of the best scientifically validated tips and tricks for faster learning are never taught in school.

Take a dead simple suggestion uncovered by researchers out of Canada's University of Waterloo as one example. The research, recently published in the journal Memory, showed that compared with silently reading material or listening to it read aloud, reading out loud yourself can give you between a five and fifteen percent boost in learning speed.
"Say the information that you want to remember out loud and you'll have a higher likelihood of remembering it. Yes, it's that simple!" psychologist and study co-author Colin MacLeod enthused in an email interview. And while five percent might not sound like a massive improvement, given how incredibly easy it is to just open your mouth and speak, MacLeod insists this study hack is definitely worth a try …

The bottom line here is that simply passing through the school system is no guarantee that you've learned how to learn efficiently. Spending a little time familiarizing yourself with the science of how to study will make you instantly smarter.

SPEVI: Free Membership

From Shane Doepel, SPEVI Membership Secretary,

Free membership is now on offer for all categories of SPEVI membership. Join SPEVI (South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment) by 30 May 2018 to receive free membership to 30 May 2019.

The aim of the free membership promotion is also to strengthen SPEVI membership numbers. Important SPEVI aims can only be fulfilled with strong SPEVI membership.

RIDBC Now Affiliated with Macquarie University

The RIDBC Renwick Centre is now delivering postgraduate studies in affiliation with Macquarie University. A Master of Disability Studies is an excellent qualification for Specialist Teachers (Vision Impairment). For information about this course, visit: or

In addition to this and if you are an RIDBC Renwick Centre graduate, the Master of Disability Studies also offers you the opportunity complete studies in a second specialisation. Renwick Centre graduates applying for entry to the Master of Disability studies will be eligible:
  • to apply for up to two units of RPL (recognition of prior learning) towards the Master of Disability Studies.
  • for a Commonwealth Supported Place: Renwick Centre course fees are the most affordable since 2006!
For more information contact Claire Farrington, Executive Officer, Graduate Studies via email or phone (02) 9872-0811

The Road to Employment

Source: Blind Citizen News, December 2017

Dean Calder has written a great article describing his journey to employment. It's not up on their website, but it will appear on the BCA Publications page:

The whole article is worth reading; here is an excerpt.

"I always maintained my involvement in sports, which was a great outlet and also demonstrated to employers that I really enjoyed being part of a team. Although it sometimes felt pointless, I consistently kept in regular contact with my employment consultants, updating them on what I was doing, and reminding them of how keen I was to find work. I'm convinced this really was the key factor in my ultimate success in securing my current job …

Being employed has really improved my confidence and provided me with a sense of worth. My persistence paid off and my positivity inspired my employment agency to go the extra mile for me. I got really lucky too though, and often this is the case for all job hunters whether they have a disability or not. I wish everyone out there who is looking for work the best of luck too.

Ozzie Dots Update

The Ozzie Dots team comprising Gillian Gale, Lea Nagel and me (Deb Lewis) are hard at work creating a range of new resources designed to introduce the skills of braille reading (tracking, scanning etc) and then letter recognition. We hope to include these new resources in the third edition of Ozzie Dots! So if you have feedback and ideas, please send them our way!

3D Printing: Make Your Own DNA Chain

There appear to be loads of free 3D printable resources available on the net! Here is one example (thanks to Leona and the ABA Facebook page.

The objective of this project is for students to manage to assemble a DNA chain with the bases. The link above provides a number of downloadable files (.stl) and a DNA Lesson Plan (.pdf).

Accessible Playground with "Braille for the Soles of Your Feet" and Audio Feedback


Reported in a recent BBC TV story, a designer and engineer in the UK have designed an accessible school play area with sound features so that Josh, an 8-year-old blind child, is able to play outside with his friends.

Blind Sports News

The December edition of Blindsports News includes:
  • Blindsports Gym opens at VicHealth Carlton with plans for more clubs around Victoria
  • Ballet for people who are blind or have low vision
  • Blind Junior Swimming program
For more information contact email or phone 9822 8876.

Final Support Skills for the Year!

We had 18 students, from Year 3 to Year 7, in for the final Support Skills session. Three groups – the Stars, the Moons and the Planets – participated in organised activities including board games, Art, Music and living skills.

Outdoors, a spirited Beep Ball competition with auditory feedback took place.
After lunch, a team quiz asked all the hard questions based on technology, Art and Sport, for example:
  • How many players are there on a Goalball Team?
  • During the Art sessions this year Michael and students have made what board game? (photo of tactile chess game below)
  • On the Victor Reader what does the round button between the square and diamond button do?
The Talent Quest revealed a couple of musicians who performed beautifully. Jake on the ukulele (photo right) led the group in a song and Ben astonished us with his with his beautiful voice.

All round, a very good Support Skills day … and a very good year!
We look forward to doing it all again next year!


Stay safe on the roads, in the sun and in the water!!! But mostly enjoy and relax!
Deb Lewis (Ed)
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