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Hello

We're up to issue 4 of The Bulletin

Inside This Issue:

  • PD: Art 4 Kids, VT PD Day, Dot Power and more
  • Technology: DictationBridge, Pages in iOS
  • Staff News

Dates for Your Diary

Still to come on the SVRC professional learning calendar for 2018...
  • Education Support for Students with Vision and Additional Impairments - 22 March
  • Braille Music (half day) 24 April
  • Art 4 Kids with Vision Impairments - 2 May
  • Dot Power (Term 2) 8 May
  • Visiting Teacher Master Class - 12 June
  • Dot Power Term 3, Tuesday 7 August
  • Tech Expo, 27 November
  • Christmas Morning Tea: Wednesday 5 December.
Now pop quiz. Who is this man?
Profile photo of Matt Trotter, wearing a suit.

A Message From Our New Transition Manager


Hello. My name is Matt Trotter and I’m thrilled to have recently been appointed as SVRC’s Transition Manager. Many of you will have spoken to me last year, in my role working with the Department’s review of SVRC. I’m delighted to be able to join the SVRC team again this year in what is set to be an exciting period of change and development. Following the approval of all the recommendations coming out of last year’s review, we now have a great opportunity to improve the reach and impact of our services to children, young people, teachers and all the other stakeholders we work with.

The focus of my work over the next twelve months will be two-fold. Firstly, I’ll be responsible for leading SVRC’s transition into the Department of Education and Training’s Inclusive Education Professional Practice Branch. This governance change will enable us to have a vastly improved profile and to develop strong connections across the Department. It will allow us to better connect with classroom teachers, Visiting Teachers and school leaders across Victoria, and have a stronger voice in shaping policy to support children and young people who are blind or partially sighted throughout our system.

Secondly, I’ll be responsible for implementing the recommendations put forward by last year’s SVRC Strategic Leadership and Governance Group. These changes will enable us to expand our reach, and improve the services we provide. It will also allow us to more effectively share information and work with the Visiting Teacher service and other staff across the Department.

During the next twelve months, I’ll be working very closely with Marion and the team to ensure all of SVRC’s regular programs and services run as normal during this period of transition. I’ll be based at SVRC between 2-3 days per week. If you’d like to get in touch, feel free to pop by or give me a call at SVRC. Alternatively, you can email me at trotter.matthew.a@edumail.vic.gov.au.

APH Seeking Beta Testers for an iOS App

Source: Perkins eLearning List

APH is seeking beta testers for Flip-Over FACES, an iOS® app that is designed for students with visual impairments, specifically those with low vision and CVI, as well as those with additional disabilities, including autism. The app can be played in the company of sighted peers (and adults) of all ages! It allows students five years of age or older to learn about facial expressions within a versatile and fun context. Over a thousand face combinations and expressions can be generated with a simple finger swipe to change eyebrow position, eye direction, and mouth type. Choose from various hairstyles and eyeglass options to create a seemingly endless number of facial expressions—sad, happy, surprised, angry, skeptical, etc. An audio description of each facial feature is instantly accessible as new face combinations are generated. The background color toggles between black and white to allow for ideal visual contrast for the student and personal preference. Save your favorite face(s) in your own personal folder for later retrieval and sharing with friends.

A beta version of the app is expected to be available for testing in April 2018.

Requirements for beta testing the iOS version of Flip-Over FACES include the following:

  • Access to iPhone®, iPad®, iPad mini™, or iPod touch® with iOS 10.1 or later
  • Ability to directly test the app with students, 5 years of age or older, with low vision or CVI (with or without other disabilities) over a 2-month duration and complete an online product survey
If you would like to be considered for beta testing Flip-Over FACES, please complete this online survey by April 5, 2018.

Pages in iOS


If you find yourself, or one of your students, using Pages in iOS - you may benefit from the use of some handy navigational keyboard shortcuts. Here's a few that can really help to speed up editing and moving around. These also work on a Mac as well.

COMMAND+UP ARROW - Moves to the top of a document.
COMMAND+DOWN ARROW - Moves to the bottom of a document
COMMAND+LEFT ARROW - Moves to the start of a line
COMMAND+RIGHT ARROW - Moves to the end of a line
OPTION+LEFT/RIGHT ARROW - Moves word by word
OPTION+UP/DOWN ARROW - Moves paragraph by paragraph
OPTION+BACKSPACE - Deletes word by word
COMMAND+Z - Undo

You can also add SHIFT to the navigation keys to select text in those directions, so for example, to select a line, press COMMAND+LEFT ARROW to go to the start of the line, then press COMMAND+SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW - which selects to the end of the line.

DictationBridge


What is this DictionBridge software? Well it's aimed at screenreader users - when you are dictating, it tells you what you are typing. When you use dictation software now - you can't hear what you are typing. Screen reading software has limited awareness of what is being typed if it is not being entered by a keyboard.

It has lots of advantages, especially for making the editing process easier and also helping with basic literacy as well.

Check out this YouTube video for a demonstration of DictationBridge and more information on what it does and how it works.

YouTube Link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7-n5cmjYHM

To find and download the software, follow this link:
http://dictationbridge.com
Low Vision PD Day, people wearing blindfolds

Term 1 Professional Development Offerings at SVRC


During term 1 of 2018 we ran professional development for supporting students who are blind or who have low vision.

Here's some feedback we received from the last Low Vision day on March 6:

‘High quality, detailed, passionate presenters and thoroughly practical from start to finish.’
‘A very valuable experience. Staff were approachable and willing to share their great knowledge. The simulations were an amazing way to get insight into what my student experiences.’

Similar comments have been made about all our PD so far this year.

Four full days of professional learning have taken place at SVRC, most with off-site participants, too.

We had an added bonus today during our PD day for PE teachers. Because we have a gymnastics program planned for the Support Skills students in Term 3, we invited trainers from the gym (next door) to our PD day. They disappeared at one point and came back with a balance beam and other balance stuff, and ran a short session on gymnastics for the group.

Special thanks to all the SVRC team for planning, presenting, feeding, printing, tech supporting, welcoming, registering, streaming video, refreshing and inspiring!

Thanks also to our external partners from Guide Dogs Victoria, and DET regions.
Photo of SVRC Professional Learning

Staff News

  • Matt Trotter has commenced as SVRC's Transition Manager - his role is around implementing the recommendations from the review that took place last year. (psst ... just so you know, Matt is a new dad too! - ed).
  • SVRC farewells Nola Houghton who has given us many years of fine service in our Alternative Production area. Nola will be greatly missed but we wish her all the best for her retirement. Fun fact: Nola started at the RVIB School doing transcription in 1974 and began at SVRC in 2004.
  • Marion is off on long service leave, she will be away from the end of April and return around the start of June.
  • Deb Lewis has returned from China. She's back at the helm next issue!
  • And ... what is this knitting? More importantly, who is it for? And who's foot is that in the bottom left corner? All will be revealed in the next issue of The Bulletin.
IMG_0413

Finally

Thanks to all the good folk who sent in contributions for this issue of The Bulletin. Your regular editor - know to some as Deb, returns next issue! Have a great Easter / holiday break.
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