Change Makers: A Podcast from APH

One-Stop Shop for your Educational Needs

November 05, 2020 American Printing House Episode 17
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
One-Stop Shop for your Educational Needs
Chapters
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
One-Stop Shop for your Educational Needs
Nov 05, 2020 Episode 17
American Printing House

COVID-19 has changed every aspect of our lives especially in the world of education. With students learning from home, parents and caregivers found themselves providing additional educational assistance and teachers found themselves working to engage with their students in a virtual world. From those needs, APH Hive, Access Academy and ExCEL Academy emerged.

In today’s episode of Change Makers we’ll talk about the many APH services that are geared for students, parents and educators. We’ll talk to Amy Campbell, Learning Management System Administrator, Leanne Grillot, National Director of Outreach Services and Robbin Clark, ECC Coordinator at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. Then later, we’ll hear from the ConnectCenter.

Links:

Show Notes Transcript

COVID-19 has changed every aspect of our lives especially in the world of education. With students learning from home, parents and caregivers found themselves providing additional educational assistance and teachers found themselves working to engage with their students in a virtual world. From those needs, APH Hive, Access Academy and ExCEL Academy emerged.

In today’s episode of Change Makers we’ll talk about the many APH services that are geared for students, parents and educators. We’ll talk to Amy Campbell, Learning Management System Administrator, Leanne Grillot, National Director of Outreach Services and Robbin Clark, ECC Coordinator at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. Then later, we’ll hear from the ConnectCenter.

Links:

Jack Fox:

Welcome to ChangeMakers, a podcast from APH. We're talking to people from around the world who are creating positive change in the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. Here's your host.

Sara Brown:

Welcome back to ChangeMakers. My name is Sara Brown, and today we're going to talk about all the APH services that are geared towards students, parents, and educators. First, if you're new to APH , we know 2020 has been an interesting year with COVID-19 changing every aspect of our lives. One major change was providing services during a pandemic with students, learning from home, parents and caregivers found themselves providing additional educational assistance. And teachers found themselves working to engage with students in a virtual world from those needs, the Hive Access Academy and ExCEL Academy emerged today. We'll talk to Learning Management System Administrator, Amy Campbell, National Director of Outreach Services, L eanne Grillot, ECC coordinator at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Robin Clark. Then later we'll hear from the ConnectCenter. First, we'll talk to Amy and L eanne with the Hive. The Hive is brought to you by APH and offers a variety of free online courses for vision professionals and educators. Hello, Amy and L eanne, and welcome to change makers. So tell us today what the Hive is and the services it provides.

Amy Campbell:

Well, I, first of all, can't , uh , discuss the APH Hive without like first referencing the symbolic nature of the bumblebee because we're talking about a hive and the bumblebee. And so the way it relates to us is that just as bumblebees are really industrious , um, busy educators are too. And so we make that bumblebee linked to educators and being busy and the APH Hive for us serves as a professional development hub for educators to fly into, you know, and another way of, you know, to gather that symbolic honey, because we think of everything that's inside The APH Hive as being honey is being sources, resources that educators need in order to better do their job and to feel better equipped.

Sara Brown:

Leanne.

Leanne Grillot:

Hi, this was a request from our ex-officio trustees across the United States to provide services in a way that educators could grab bites in between students or while traveling and really meet on their time. So it is asynchronous instruction. Instruction could happen in your PJ's, it could happen, u h, 15 minutes between students, as short snippets to be able to then learn the entire piece of information.

Sara Brown:

What demographic is the service geared to and how does it benefit them?

Amy Campbell:

Well, I think that it's first good to know that the development of this accessible learning management system for APH is actually a five-year plan. And so we just successfully completed year one. So right now, as it stands, the APH Hive has an initial pathway for educators. U m, and those educators, you know, we're thinking include, u m, those who serve early childhood through school a ge students. So while that is how we are serving at this time, pathways in the time to come are actually going to expand, to include a hub that will support families, u m, professionals, holding leadership roles, and even those educators that are serving the adult population. U h, right now those educators that are serving young children and students, they benefit from coming into the Hive because we have content in the areas of assessment, early childhood core curriculum, and then the expanded core curriculum.

Sara Brown:

Do vision professionals and educators. Do they receive a certificate or credit for participating in the Hive?

Amy Campbell:

Absolutely. And that's what , um , also, I mean, I can't say enough how much I love all of this. So , um, it's good that we have a very short period of time to talk to each other because I probably could go on and on and on and share because I think it's so valuable, but yes, the APH Hive, you receive credit. So we offer ACVREP credit and for taking the courses and what, how this can help all teachers. So while not every educator needs to , um, collect ACVREP credit, what it happens is , is once they do have that certificate form, they can use that to show their certificate of attendance and their participation in the course, this is actually something that can also be used, you know, within a local education level in which serving as those continuing education credits. So it can serve more purposes than one is what I'm trying to describe. And whereas there are other places that offer this type of credit we offer it , uh , it is totally for free. So they, they come in and they participate in the course and upon completion, they get credit for it that can actually serve those two purposes of if they need that ACVREP, or if it's just as a way of showing that continuing education c redit,

Sara Brown:

What categories are available for our professional to study?

Amy Campbell:

So, the categories that we have, you know, go back to , uh , what is offered currently is that assessment early childhood core curriculum and expanded core curriculum. And we were actually really intentional when we set up the organization of the Hive for that in that order, because we know that all good instruction begins with assessment. You don't know what to teach and how to teach until you assess. So we have that first as a category, then we have early childhood that helps to give resources and information and training , uh , working with those young children, birth through age five, until they get, you know , ready to go into kindergarten. Then with the core curriculum, we know that as educators, we are providing access to the core curriculum, to the eight , you know , English language arts to mathematics science, social studies, that the history, the physical education, the fine arts and even career tech. And so within that category of core curriculum, things are broken down into those subcategories .

Sara Brown:

What can be expected during a course? Do you care to walk us through it?

Amy Campbell:

Oh , I can, I can totally do this in my mind. And , um, what I, when we come into the APH Hive and all you need to know is it's aphhive.org, easy. You can go right in, you come and ride into our landing page. And it has a welcome message right there, letting you know that we welcome you to come in and take advantage of what we are offering. Once you enter in to the APH Hive. And you want to look at what the course catalog looks like. So I used the word course catalog, and that applies to those. Um, what I had mentioned about the assessment, the , um, early childhood, the core curriculum and the expanded core curriculum, you enter into that catalog and you can browse, you can go through and browse and see what is available and what peaks interest. And when you have found something that you like. So for example, one of my most favorite courses that we have offered right now is on the braille Lego bricks and so amazing that we have this gift of, with the Lego foundation to do it. Y eah, but there are really s pecific, s pecific things that educators should know about using the Lego bricks. And so they can come to the APH Hive, they can enter into the course of the Lego b raille bricks. And when you enter in you enroll, and it's just submitting who y ou're, who you are, where you live your email address, just some of those simple demographics you enter in. And then just like magic. You are a part of the course and you can start working it through each course is divided into modules. So you go through each of those modules, there might be a question after watching a video. So I should say that when you are taking the course, all of this is video b ased. It is prerecorded content t empt for the most part at this time where we are going back and watching something that has already aired, u m, that we have done through APA. And we go t hrough through, and you watch that segment. That's based on a certain key topic, if you will. And after that, there might be a check for understanding question. And so it's just affirming that you w atched the content that you understood what was being communicated. The question might be multiple choice, or it might be true, false. And then you naturally a dvanced to the next video that you get to watch. So it happens in that kind of a sequential series once you are c ompleted, we did with going through the modules of the videos and that there will be at the end, an assessment that you take, not as scary assessment in any way, nothing that you need to study for and be worried about. It's just allowing you to have that confidence that you totally understood what was being communicated. Again, very easy in the sense of true and false multiple choice. And it's just taking on those questions of those key components that we were trying to communicate through that course, when that has been successfully completed, you're almost there, you're almost there to completion. You've taken the knowledge content, and, u h, you shown what you have learned, but what's really nice is that then there's an application piece. And with the application piece, there is what we call a f ollow-up activity. This gives educators the opportunity to apply what they have learned perhaps to the students that they're serving. In some cases that might be creating a lesson plan based on the content that was learned. And you, and the intent is that maybe that f ollow-up activity might, might be 30 minutes o f, of gathering information and applying it and collapsing it into a document. But you're applying what you have learned to the students that you're working with. So you submit that f ollow-up activity, it comes to our end a t APH f or review. We approve it. And that is the final step of the process. After that you receive your ACVREP credit, and again, this is all for free.

Sara Brown:

All right, Leanne and Amy , is there anything else you would like our listeners to know?

Amy Campbell:

I do because I thought about this, and again, I've got to remind free F R E E it's free, you know, while there are so many choices i n places to go for professional development, I think this might be one of the few that currently exists to offer, u m , i nformation, you know, with professional development, for, you know, for free. The second thing of reason why this is so important to me too, is I think of the term building capacity. We currently have a changing of the guard in our country. You know, a lot of teachers are retiring and fresh, new minds are coming in to take their spots, not all teachers of the visually impaired enter the role prepared to take on the challenges and the barriers. You know, some are receiving training as they teach, u m , s ome move over into this role without training at all. And then because our field is always changing just for the example of how we work with students with cortical visual impairment and thinking about how that has vastly changed over the past 10 to 15 years, even our seasoned teachers, you know, still they're carrying that torch steadily, and they need a place to come in refresh and learn new things. And so I think that, that th e A PH Hive is that hub that allows teachers to have a greater opportunity to build capacity for what they're doing so that they feel more skilled, more confident, and that again, they can do it on their time, their terms, whether they're in the home, whether they're in the office, they can do it. And again, if they only have 15 minutes at a time to invest to learn something new, the APH Hive offers that, but it's all with new content and things that we need to know that is current, u h , t o do today's ways of working with students.

Leanne Grillot:

I think I'll add one more piece. Our goal is to grow. And so we know there is great tent out there being produced and provided. We are able to accept other people's work, to absorb into the Hive, to work into AVCREP credit. So that's another thing for those field professionals and agencies out there that if t heir, t heir hard work isn't getting viewed by enough people, we're here to help because it is not our, o ur goal to create everything. Our goal is to partner with others, to make sure that the word is getting spread. And as Amy said, build that capacity. So the Hive is a place where you can gather information and then show mastery of the content and the application of the content that was really the beginning, but that's only just the beginning of the learning management system with gaining information through a course, the goal with the Hive is to also bridge that gap of community that sometimes happens for our teachers who are out there on their own. They really are a l one Wolf out in a community area. And the only T VI around, I say, T VI, you could be an orientation mobility specialist. You could be a vision, u m, rehabilitation s pecialist. There's a variety of different, u m, f ield, but many of us feel very isolated. So that's very purposeful. So one of the things that we would also be providing is a place to get a d iscussion bo ard. So you co uld c ross share information. How are you doing it? I would like to share this lesson plan that I have out there. Well, creating a discussion board at, at the APH Hive allows a person to know where to go back and find that information of, Oh yes, you could use multi-colored paper, u h , w ith br aille t o try to prevent them from using their eyes to read it and really focus on their fingers for reading it something as simple as that. So having the discussion board is one of our iterations to come in th ese next five years. Another piece to think about as our field is, is shrinking. And we would like to grow it, but it's a little known field career path. So we would like to build, u h , ed ucational snippets for people, such as a guidance counselor, both at the high school level and even the college level to be able to share how wonderful this field is and what great things you can become and , a nd always have a job. That's not a problem in our field. You will get hired somewhere without a problem. So those are other pieces that we're hoping to grow throughout these years, and then, u h , gi ve people a place to go out and find others. So it could be, they come to the Hive and say, where can I learn more about, and we recreate something. We send them to a place like the Texas school for the blind or Perkins, because the re th ey have great courses and opportunities available as well.

Sara Brown:

Thank you both so much. There you go. A highly valuable resource for vision professionals and educators to improve their response to the needs of students with visual impairments. Continuing education is such an important aspect for professionals. It's how they improve their skills, learn what's new, deepen their knowledge and develop innovative approaches to teaching students. Again, the Hive is not just for professionals. It's also for parents as well from the Hive to the Academy Access Academy. That is, you might know it formerly as at home with APH now, renamed Access Academy. This service is your one-stop resource for education and training webinars for APH products and services. Amy and Leanne are here to tell us more. So Leanne , tell us about Access Academy. This is a new service. So a lot of people might not know about it.

Leanne Grillot:

So in the spring, we , uh, in response to the pandemic, wanted to get out there and help folks that we normally would have helped through attending conferences. We started the at home with APH webinars. So we know you're at home and you want to learn more. We're going to come join you in your living room. Those were very successful with a high attendance. People were really enjoying us being in their living room and , uh , gaining information that way. Uh , the also bonuses, we record those and we post them on our YouTube page so that they're still available there. You can watch them that way if you so choose because of the success. And we know that people are returning back to work, they're not necessarily at home or we sure hope they're not where we are hoping that people are returning back to work. We wanted to make a title that more matched what is going on. So the Access Academy is really adult courses for continuing education and also for that student success. So we're really giving adults a place to learn it's live instruction. So you have the opportunity to meet teachers who are using products or relying upon a service from APH. You might be talking to the person who has developed the product. You could be working with an individual who has blind themselves on uses the product. You are surrounded by other fellow educators. You have the ability to ask questions, live, both typing that in a chat, depending on the number of attendees, even verbally asking your question, and this gives you the opportunity to feel like you're in a, in a class with that information. We do encourage people. If we're talking about a specific product, they have the opportunity to get that product in their hand. Then they can ask immediate questions about the problems that they might be having with that product, how to hook it up, how to turn it on, how to find that button we're talking about. So that is really the intent of the Access Academy. Now, the bonuses is you could be a educator who needs it, but we don't b ar the door and say, Nope, only educators allowed. We have had parents come in, we have had consumers, people who actually use the product, join us. W e h ave had paraprofessionals people who are working with our students when that teacher is away, w e h ave had even our college soon to be teachers joining us a nd learning about products. So it's quite the community that has come together. How is this different from the Hive? The big difference is synchronous and asynchronous. The Hive is asynchronous. You really can take part of it at midnight and at 4:00 AM. I am not producing a live webinar at midnight or 4:00 AM. So it is truly up to you for the asynchronous in the Hive. T he feedback is a little different in the Hive. I f you are submitting something and something comes back where that has a short delay to it, the Access Academy is immediate feedback. And so you are able to interact with your instructor directly.

Amy Campbell:

And I think with that also of sharing how they are the same, that there really are more similarities in the sense that we are taking content from the Access Academy or what happened previously , uh, from the at-home with APH. We also in the Hive are you is, you know, we're using content from the ExCEL Academy. And so we're taking this live video footage that was live at one time and embedding it within a course. So right now, after one of our webinars ai rs, so you, you get the ACVREP credit when it's airing an d p articipating live it then gets pushed out and anybody can go in and tap into our recordings. You tap into recording, and that way you don't get credit for it, you get the luxury of being able to absorb everything that you're learning with it. Once it goes into the Hive, though, things might be changed up a little bit. And this is a good example that I can, that I can paint for you. So in the Lego course that we have originally, we had five webinars that included over seven hours of content that aired through the we binars s eries at home with APH, for purposes of the Hive, we took that seven hours of content spliced, diced rearranged created a new st oryboard w ith it. And the outcome is four hours of content. So things are condensed and consolidated and created into a course so that when you go into the Hive, then you have that access to that credit. Once again,

Sara Brown:

Who is the target audience for Access Academy?

Leanne Grillot:

Our main goal is adults. That being said, we are not going to, again, bar the door from even a student who is a K-12 student using a product or wants to learn. We would not stop them from entering, but the core audience is adults. We are hoping to catch those adults that need the knowledge of the product. Again, keeping in mind that it might be someone who became a teacher of the visually impaired through an untraditional path, meaning they might've been a science teacher first, and they're still absorbing information. But again, creeping all the way down to those teachers who are to be there in college programs, as well as our paraprofessionals and even a parent with those students that are , um , being educated at home at the moment, they might also find it beneficial for them to learn how to use the product directly and be able to ask those questions right away.

Sara Brown:

How often are you all doing webinars?

Leanne Grillot:

It varies. Our traditional days tend to be Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. They might happen once a week, twice a week or three times a week. And there have been times when we have had seven different opportunities to learn. We try not to pack that many in, we know that our educators are busy people and they have told us they really would like to be able to attend it all, but they must work with students and clients. So we have been trying to space those out for them, but they are , uh , frequent enough and they are not going away.

Sara Brown:

And where can listeners find more information about Access Academy?

Leanne Grillot:

On our webpage currently you can go to resources and under resources there is a tab that says training. That training page takes you to a variety of different sources for professional development and learning. One of which is the APH Hive. Another is the Access Academy and the third is the ExCEL Academy. Now the ExCEL Academy starts with an E and that's for our kids.

Sara Brown:

Is there anything else you want to say about Access Academy that we might not have talked about or that you want our listeners to know ,

Leanne Grillot:

Uh , on that training page, as well as a place where you can actually submit what you are hoping for a , that allows us to work and tailor , to develop things that you would be looking for for receiving professional development in that, in that way, we hope again, to be able to get out there and see you at your place and your , uh, conferences and, and those areas. But because so many educators don't get the time to break away for those longer events, we want to make sure that you are also getting the knowledge in a way that meets your needs. And so these one hour, one and half hour, sometimes we go as long as three or four hours, give you that opportunity.

Sara Brown:

Thank you both so much. We really appreciate you taking time to talk to us for the professionals listening. You can receive Academy for certification, for vision rehabilitation and education professionals, or an ACVREP credit. During the webinar, you must listen for the opening and closing codes during the live sessions and submit them on the AVCREP certificate request form. Once all that's done, you'll receive your certificate, emailed to you. Within a week. A few months ago, we conducted an access and engagement study. This was to find out if your needs were being met during the pandemic. Leanne's here to tell us about a second access and engagement study currently underway.

Leanne Grillot:

I would like to let people know that the second access and engagement survey is now available, and we are assisting with multiple other entities to get the word out. So we are collecting the data and the website is www dot access, engagement.com. And if you would share this teacher far and wide with other teachers and families you work with, we would really appreciate it again, the access and engagement survey that the first one that went out is also available at that same website, if you want to see the report. So all of the hard work that was done during the spring and summer to address the needs of students because of the pandemic, that report is available for you to use. So you can show supervisors and parents that their work mattered putting that information in, but we definitely need to see what's happened since, because this is a very unusual time for us. So if you can take the time to even assist family members i n completing those surveys, we would really appreciate it. Again. The website is www.accessengagement.com. One further note, if you would like to know a little bit more about the first survey and the report that has come of it, the American foundation for the blind on November 10th at 2:00 PM, Eastern is featuring a town hall and you can register for that as well. It free and family members are also welcome to he ar t he hard work of completing surveys was fruitful.

Sara Brown:

Now we'll turn to the ExCEL Academy, a resource focusing on virtual instruction. For those not physically retu to brick and mortar buildings. We'll talk to Robbin Clark and Leanne about ExCEL Academy and the variety of ways it's helping children learn. Hello, thanks so much for joining us. So tell us about the ExCEL Academy.

Robbin Clark:

Well, the first thing I want to say is I'm sure somebody has to be wondering what is an ExCEL Academy? How did they come up with that word? What is ExCEL? Is it so that students excel at something? Well, sure, but ExCEL actually stands. It's kind of a short way of saying , um , expanded core education learning. So just so everybody knows even what this is, it really is about , um, expanded core learning.

Sara Brown:

ExCEL has webinars for kids of all ranges. What are they in? What can one expect from the classes?

Robbin Clark:

So now that you know what ExCEL stands for let me tell you a little bit about what you can expect. You can expect and intentional expanded core instruction lesson in an hour. What you will not find is a boring or stale lesson about this is what the expanded court is because the expanded core , really, when you understand it, it's, it's something that's thriving and alive and that's what it does for our students. So when you come into any of the ExCEL sessions, you might look at it and at face value, say, why are they just doing farm animals sounds or talking about , um, cooking? Well , there's so much more to these sessions. In fact, all of them really have been reviewed to make sure that we are covering expanded core components and skills from our assessments. But what I really like about these sessions is that I think it's showing everybody, students, teachers, and parents, what the expanded core really is. It's not just like a science lesson where you sit there. It's, it's got a lot of avenues. It's got a lot of opportunities with it. And sometimes it's not even overly serious. Sometimes it's just something that gets background knowledge going. So when you come to these sessions, expect to find intentional instruction, targeting, expanded core skills that supplement whatever else a teacher or an O&M instructor might be doing.

Sara Brown:

These are all live webinars. And if so, is there a for students to communicate to the instructor during the session, or do they have to wait until the end of the class?

Robbin Clark:

No, these are live. And in fact, I'm going to use the word interactive. And I mean that not just for the students who are attending this live , but I also say this for students who are attending these in the recorded versions, these are interactive sessions. So we do utilize the chat window. Students will raise a digital hands and we will unmute, but there is definitely inter interaction happening throughout the lesson. So students can jump right in. And in fact, throughout many of the sessions we want to hear from students, they give comments, we just talked about problem solving, and we were asking the students, what are situations or is it hard to problem solve? And so we have students right there giving their feedback. And in fact, the way that they're really set up, even if you're watching this in the recorded session, there's still great opportunity for students to reflect , um, kind of self-talk and still get that interaction or to see what their peers might be saying. So very interactive, great opportunities.

Sara Brown:

And how do you sign up or register to, to, to go into ExCEL Academy?

Leanne Grillot:

This is Leanne , and I'll jump in here. You can go to the APH website under training. So it's a resource. And then under training, you would then go to the ExCEL Academy. There is a single link. And once you sign up, you will get a link. It's the same link for every single session on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. At that point, you'll get emails that remind you of the information and you can always visit that page to see the upcoming topics and descriptions. We tend to focus on Tuesdays with our students who are kind of between kindergarten and sixth grade. In other words, it could be that we tell you, it gives us about a kindergarten level , uh , course, that we're offering. And then on Wednesdays, we stick kind of that higher level junior high school age student, we're thinking six to 12th grade. And then on Thursday, we've really made sure to gear that session to students with more multiple disabilities, including visual impairments, recognizing they might have an assistant or a parent or even a older sibling, that's helping them participate. We also know that those are a group that might not verbally interact or even type much in the chat. So we're making sure that we're gearing it toward that level of student.

Sara Brown:

Is there anything else you want to share about the ExCEL Academy? Anything maybe we didn't cover?

Robbin Clark:

I would like to remind everybody that it's easy to just use these classes in one way, students show up, but I'd like to challenge teachers and mobility to think about this. U m, one, having your students attend a l i ve, that's always a great option to a supplemental part to m aybe a lesson, your teaching there. So there's a variety of different ways that I really want to challenge people to use these excellent resources and then something else I want everyone to think about, especially for our teachers and many of our pa raprofessionals. I want you to think of going to the YouTube channel and seeing all of our recorded sessions as an ECC idea factory, have you wanted to teach a concept, but you were like, I wasn't sure how to cover it. We have excellent instructors with various backgrounds and you can find everything from 3d shapes to going to a restaurant. Those are literally two sessions I, myself just watched and I'm using in my supplemental work.

Sara Brown:

Now we'll hear from the director of APH's ConnectCenter, Olaya Landa-Vialard. The ConnectCenter incorporates FamilyConnect.org, CareerConnect, VisionAware.org and BrailleBug.org, all resources that cover every aspect of life. Olaya what's the latest?

Olaya Landa-Vialard:

Okay, well, ConnectCenter has been very busy in addition to , um , the websites , the visionaware.org familyconnect.org , uh , careerconnect.org We also have , um, the information and referral line and the phone number for the information and referral line is +1 800-232-5463, or individuals can also email us the at the , um, information and referral line at ConnectCenter, one word, @aph.org, and also to make it easy to access the different sites and connect with us. Individuals can go to aphconnectcenter.org , um, that will bring them to a landing page that then has links where people can just click on VisionAware or CareerConnect or FamilyConnect and get directly to those sites. Um , so they don't have to be looking for it or typing it out and visually they can, they can do that just as easily. Um, and so also on that landing page on the aphconnectcenter.org landing page, you'll also see , um , the ConnectCenter calendar, the ConnectCalendar, which is , um , a calendar where events from all over the field can be highlighted and promoted so that the BI community knows and can benefit from your events that are happening out there all over the country , uh , and all over the world. And some cases , um, on that landing page, there is a , um, it , it's pretty easy to submit your event. Um, you can just click on there, there's a button that says submit event and , um , you fill out a document and then , um, the staff on the other end, we'll take a look at if there's any or anything we'll contact you, otherwise it will be placed on the , um, uh, ConnectCenter calendar and for all to see. So that that's always a good thing, so that if you're planning an event or anything in your state , uh , or in even within the same region where you are, you , you can always see, make sure that somebody else hasn't already planned something for that day, so that you're not doubling up on events, especially making people have to choose between one event or another. Um , so that's where I think having a community-wide VI community-wide calendar has been really beneficial and really helpful for all of us. Um , so there , um, you'll all, I just want to highlight a few more things about the ConnectCenter , um, for VisionAware , um, VisionAware is the website where we , uh, address eye diseases, eye disorders , um, a lot of individuals who are losing their vision tend to go to that website. It's also for people who might be transitioning as well , um, from school to college. Um, and so there's a lot of good information there for older individuals who are blind as well about technology. Um, that's a big thing when you're losing your vision, trying to figure out what technologies are available , um, to help you navigate through that right now we are actually being featured in the National Eye Institutes November newsletter as their November partner resource. So we're really, really excited about that. That's really going to get our , uh, our name on it there and have more people get the information they need , um, that we provide. We're also partnering with Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins to put together some continuing education webinars. So that's still in progress. Uh, and we're also being featured in a public service announcement, along with Mississippi, state's older individuals who are blind their technical assistance center , um , as well as presenting about the ConnectCenter to their stakeholders. Uh , we also just planned a diabetes education webinar for a VisionAware , um, to help people with low vision or blind yeah . Monitored or their glucose and take insulin independently, which is very important. Um , there's not a lot of information out there for that, for our particular population, in terms of helping diabetics learn how to read their insulin levels , um , take their blood sugar levels , um, when they have low vision. So we're really, really happy to have that going on for us FamilyConnect. Now we're onto the other website. FamilyConnect is hosting a webinar on November 12th featuring Vera Jones. Um, she is most importantly, the parent of a son who is blind, but she's also a motivational speaker professional development coach, author, award-winning television and radio broadcaster and Syracuse University Hall of Hame Scholar athlete. So she's going to tell her story of quote playing through the foul unquote and talk about her son and his perseverance and success. So we're really excited to have Vera , um, be available to provide , um, her motivational talk to our families , uh, on FamilyConnect. Um, we're also , um, partnering with the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired early intervention outreach to put on early intervention for students who are visually impaired webinars series starting this month on November 16th. Um , so check out the FamilyConnect website for registration information for that, and where for now we're going to move on to CareerConnect. That's a way you see how we're so busy. Um , CareerConnect is hosting the national trends, condition, conversation quarterly. So individuals can go to CareerConnect.org for more information about how to participate in that very important conversation. Um, in addition, we will be hosting a guide dog webinar on December 9th. And finally, for those who are seeking employment, we have the Job Seekers Toolkit that's available for anyone who is low vision or blind. And they are either transitioning from high school to college to look for jobs, or they are older individuals who are losing their vision and are trying to either keep their employment or , um, you know, figure out how to , um, help guide their current employers to accessibility issues that may come up because they're losing their vision or help them find a whole new job altogether. And so that's also available on our CareerConnect website. So , um, for now I think that's it. So just stay tuned for the , uh, to the APH ConnectCenter for more exciting things that are happening all the time.

Sara Brown:

The Hive Access Academy, ExCEL Academy and the ConnectCenter, all wonderful resources created with you in mind, we have included links to all the websites. So please look in the show notes for details. I hope you have enjoyed our time together and that's it for today's episode of ChangeMakers. Please be sure to look for ways that you can be a change maker this week.