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Hello Bulletin subscriber,

Welcome to issue 17 (2018) of The Bulletin!

Here's what you'll find:
  • From SVRC: Dates for Your Diary, Christmas Morning Tea Invitation, Q&A: Which Format, SVRC in the News, Parking at SVRC
  • PD: Maths Workshop, Round Table Conference, SPEVI Conference, Blind and Low Vision Engagement Workshop, GDV Information Sessions
  • Technology: Office 365 for DET Employees, Research Project: 3D Printing for Accessibility
  • Activities & Recreation: Beacons in 6 New Locations, Music Retreat for Adults Proficient in Braille Music
  • Feature Articles: Space Camp
Check updated The Bulletin archive for back issues!

Check updated The Bulletin archive for back issues!

Dates for Your Diary – Term 4 2018

Here is a list of our planned PD and other activities:
Dot Power: 20 November (for Pre-school/Kinder)
Technology Expo: Tuesday 27 November
Christmas Morning Tea: PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE!! VTs, please extend this invitation to folk in your schools.
SVRC Maths Workshop – Tactile and Auditory Graphics: Friday 14 December 9.30am – 12.30pm. RSVP online.

Note: Programs, registration & online payment are available on the SVRC website!

SVRC Maths workshop

Tactile and Auditory Graphics
Friday 14th December
9.30am-12.30pm

Please bring your laptop and IPad if you have one.
Let Charlie Roberts know if you have a content request.

Proposed content:
  • Tactile Graphics guidelines
  • Prerequisite skills
  • Scanning & Interpretation of tactile graphics
  • Brailed tally marks & number lines
  • Adapted educational aids
  • Producing tactile graphs :
- Bar graphs on Perkins
- Co-ordinate graphs using tactile graph paper & pin board
- Pie graph using Tactile Drawing Kit & protractor
  • Animal Watch VI suite, USA Graphics Literacy program for Yr5-Yr7 students
  • Graphing on braille note takers
  • Electronic Audible graphs: Desmos, Audio Graphing Calculator, GT Calc.
  • Printing Desmos Graphs and producing tactile graph using Pictures in a Flash (PIAF) machine.
  • Emerging technologies:
- haptic feedback
- 3D printing
- refreshable graphics braille cells
- Duxbury graphics

Round Table Conference 2019

When: Saturday, 4 May to Tuesday, 7 May 2019
Where: Rydges South Bank Brisbane, Cnr Grey & Glenelg Streets, South Bank Queensland

Theme: The Changing Landscape for Accessible Information
Web address: www.printdisability.org
SPEVI Conference 2020
When: 12 to 15 January 2020
Where: Adelaide

Theme: Creating a clear vision for the future

Beacons in 6 New Locations

Source: Media Release, 15 October 2018
PTV and Guide Dogs Victoria to install wayfinding technology at six new locations
People with low vision or blindness will have better access to Victoria’s public transport network following the installation of innovative navigational technology at six of Melbourne’s major train interchanges, in addition to Southern Cross Station where the pilot program took place in 2017.

Public Transport Victoria (PTV) CEO Jeroen Weimar joined Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV) CEO Karen Hayes at Flinders Street Station on International White Cane Day to announce the installation of the beacon wayfinding technology at:
  • Flinders St
  • Flagstaff
  • Parliament
  • Melbourne Central
  • Richmond
  • Footscray
“This new technology will improve independent access to Melbourne’s train network for people with low vision or blindness and make it easier for them to navigate these busy stations,” said Mr Weimar.

“The roll-out of beacon technology is a great example of our ongoing commitment to improving access to Victoria’s public transport network for all passengers,” he said.
The beacons, located around the station concourses, send signals to the app BlindSquare which translates the signal into navigational content.
The app then communicates this information to the user, giving directions to food outlets, toilets and lifts or escalators.

PTV and Guide Dogs Victoria have recently agreed to a three-year extension of their partnership to further improve accessibility on the public transport network.
Further information about accessible transport is available at ptv.vic.gov.au

Space Camp 2018

Space Camp 2018 – The Camp That Brings Outer Space to the Blind
It is a requirement that you have 6/6 vision to be an astronaut. This presents a huge barrier for anyone with vision impairment, but people with vision impairment have never let anything stop them!

For one week each year Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama is organised exclusively for students with vision impairment. Kids come from all around the world to participate in an incredible program, which provides our kids with a small taste of what it is like to go out into the cosmos.

This year Statewide Vision Resource Centre facilitated 3 students in achieving their dreams to experience the wonders of space. Yuto, Konna and Kelly and their 2 Visiting Teacher Service chaperones Hilary and Peter set out to have a journey to remember.

The climate at Huntsville is notoriously humid and we were met with temperatures in the 30s and humidity of 98%. The boys underwent the same astronaut, aviation, robotics themed training that attendees of regular Space Camp receive, only they complete it with the help from braille and large print texts, special computer software and two channel headsets that allow them to hear commands in mission control. Each student participates in a team to complete a mission, it may be depositing a satellite into orbit or repairing a base on the moon. Using simulations the mission is incredibly real. They were able to access equipment used for training astronauts to practice moonwalks and scuba dive in a deep water tank to experience weightlessness.
Our week long experience ended far too quickly and before we knew it we were back in Melbourne. Experiences like this are rare and precious and our boys will always have the wonderful memories and exciting new friendships forged from around the world to keep them reaching for the stars!

From Peter and Hilary

Here is a letter of thanks from Konna, Space Camp 2018.
Hi everyone

"I wanted to thank everyone who helped me achieve the goal I set, to get to Space Camp

I had an amazing 2 weeks and I couldn't have done it without you all. At Space Camp we did a number of activities and simulators such as moon gravity chair, the Multi-Axis Trainer and the shuttle simulations. We got to run missions in real time as Mission Control and the on board crew. I was the Flight Director and Commander of both missions. I met so many amazing people and I made lots of friends from all over the world and it was all achievable because of you. Thank you all very much."
~Konna

Blind and Low Vision Engagement Workshop

Source: https://malthousetheatre.com.au/whats-on/blind-low-vision-community-engagement-workshop

The Blind and low vision community is diverse, widespread, and currently under-served by the arts and cultural sector. While there is growing awareness of access strategies like audio description and tactile tours, deep and lasting connections have yet to be made.

Audience development requires more than just one or two described shows in a festival or season. How do you reach arts lovers and potential new audiences in the Blind community, and make a convincing pitch for their patronage?

Description Victoria will bring together a range of experts on the Blind and low vision experience to answer this question and more, covering topics like:
  • The demographics of the blind/low vision community, and an introduction to blind culture.
  • Creating blindness-friendly spaces.
  • Accessible information formats for communications, and
  • Community organisations and channels for sharing information and promoting your show.
Attendees will have ample opportunity to ask questions and get stuck in with representatives for a range of organisations and service providers, and build their capacity and confidence in connecting to this community.

When: Wednesday 28 November from 2.00-5.00pm
Where: Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank
Cost: $45-$75 (free for people with vision impairments)

Bookings: www.malthousetheatre.com.au

Music Retreat for Adults Proficient in Braille Music

The first Australia/New Zealand Braille Music Retreat for adults proficient in braille music is to be held in January 2019.

When: Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 January 2019
Where: BLENNZ Homai Campus in New Zealand.

Applications are now open: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UcBBXvGkbPVDXlAuqpzkxD8uoh9zLgYL1xjqEW_Hkhk/edit?fbclid=IwAR0wIybeCOGTakXjQRETEmEBIDC-ovr91qYkecH6TPwnltjdzPcjW_Lyb1g

Guide Dogs Victoria Information Sessions

Guide Dogs Victoria are running a series of information sessions on their services … with afternoon tea provided.

When: Friday 16 November 2018, 1.30-3.30pm
Where: Yarraville Club, 135 Stephen Street, Yarraville
More information: Laurie Kelly 9854 4419

Research Project: 3D Printing for Accessibility

The ARC Linkage Project investigating 3D printing for accessibility has launched! Monash University is partnering with the Department of Education Victoria, Round Table, RIDBC, RSB and Guide Dogs Victoria.

One of the first work packages, which is to be conducted from October 2018 to March 2020, investigates the use of 3D prints to support the teaching of tactile literacy.
Staff from SVRC will be working on this area of the project with staff from Monash University and RIDBC.

One of the first 3-D objects to be developed might be Slob the dog, Annabel the cat and Ozzie the fish – characters from the Ozzie Dots books. See above for prototype of Ozzie.

Q&A: Which Format
Question: What is the best format for a grade 3 student who would need to read at N40? Is it audio or ePub or PDF or something else?
Answer: Print of some description would be best, except for leisure reading where audio reading may be best. There are several good options:
  • Word documents – using a .docx file, the student can listen on their Victor Reader while they read along with the print on a laptop or iPad.
  • ePub – is also a good option as the text will reformat and be available at whatever size the student requires.
  • PDF – is also a good option as it maintains the layout and integrity of a page and can be enlarged using ZoomText or other enlargement on laptop; it can be enlarged with pinch and zoom on iPad.
  • Prodigi Connect 12 – is another "high tech" solution that could be used to capture text from paper and re-format the text into the child's favourite format. See a video which includes a brief demonstration of reformatting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2SgRHUdVPI

SVRC in the News

Matt Trotter sent his congratulations to SVRC staff who were involved in last term's Dot Power Day which included a rock band and featured braille music.
Along with its inclusion in a recent ABC series, What Is Music?, Dot Power was also featured in the 7 November issue of RSG News (DET password is required for this link).

"Braille is really super code – anything that you can see in print gets represented in the braille. These kids look with their fingers," says braille trainer and educator Lea Nagel.
"For example, what is a crescendo – those sorts of information are right throughout music so the braille cell is a set of six possible dots that could be raised. The top four in braille music are the ones that show you what notes are being played, and the bottom two are the ones that show you how long you play them for."

Research Project: 3D Printing for Accessibility

The ARC Linkage Project investigating 3D printing for accessibility has launched! Monash University is partnering with the Department of Education Victoria, Round Table, RIDBC, RSB and Guide Dogs Victoria.

One of the first work packages, which is to be conducted from October 2018 to March 2020, investigates the use of 3D prints to support the teaching of tactile literacy.
Staff from SVRC will be working on this area of the project with staff from Monash University and RIDBC.

One of the first 3-D objects to be developed might be Slob the dog, Annabel the cat and Ozzie the fish – characters from the Ozzie Dots books. See above for prototype of Ozzie.

Q&A: Which Format

Question: What is the best format for a grade 3 student who would need to read at N40? Is it audio or ePub or PDF or something else?
Answer: Print of some description would be best, except for leisure reading where audio reading may be best. There are several good options:
  • Word documents – using a .docx file, the student can listen on their Victor Reader while they read along with the print on a laptop or iPad.
  • ePub – is also a good option as the text will reformat and be available at whatever size the student requires.
  • PDF – is also a good option as it maintains the layout and integrity of a page and can be enlarged using ZoomText or other enlargement on laptop; it can be enlarged with pinch and zoom on iPad.
  • Prodigi Connect 12 – is another "high tech" solution that could be used to capture text from paper and re-format the text into the child's favourite format. See a video which includes a brief demonstration of reformatting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2SgRHUdVPI

Office 365 for DET Employees

Microsoft Office 365 (cloud-based software) is available for DET employees for free.
Download from the following link (DET login required): https://www.edustar.vic.edu.au/office

Successful Completions of the SVRC Braille Course by Correspondence

Three people have successfully completed the SVRC Braille Course by Correspondence in recent weeks. Congratulations go to:

Corrina Wilson of St Mary of the Cross Catholic Primary School
Ellie Keremidas of St Mary of the Cross Catholic Primary School
Sharon Hayes of Montmorency Primary School

And a special thanks to Zhi Jin who corrects all the work and sends feedback to course participants – it is a huge job, but one that Zhi undertakes with skill and enthusiasm! Thank you Zhi!

Finally

Alternative format update: We have now received many booklists, books and pdfs for work for 2019! Keep up the great work VTs and schools!!!
– Deb Lewis (Ed) lewis.debra.d@edumail.vic.gov.au
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