Change Makers: A Podcast from APH

GoodMaps

February 25, 2021 American Printing House Episode 24
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
GoodMaps
Chapters
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
GoodMaps
Feb 25, 2021 Episode 24
American Printing House

On this podcast, we’re talking to the developers of GoodMaps Explore, the popular accessible indoor-outdoor navigation app.  We’ll learn more about the GoodMaps app, their recent award and what else the company is working on. Then, we’ll celebrate Black History Month with our final interview with our special guest, Mr. Louis Tutt.


Guests (in order of appearance)

  • Greg Stilson, APH Head of Global Innovation
  • Jose Gaztambide, GoodMaps CEO
  • Mike May, GoodMaps Chief Evangelist
  • Paul Ferrara, Communications Accessibility Editor
  • David Tobin, Founder and CEO of AudioJack
  • Mr. Louis Tutt, former EOT


Links



Black History Month Links to Awards - Links are directly to the images 

Show Notes Transcript

On this podcast, we’re talking to the developers of GoodMaps Explore, the popular accessible indoor-outdoor navigation app.  We’ll learn more about the GoodMaps app, their recent award and what else the company is working on. Then, we’ll celebrate Black History Month with our final interview with our special guest, Mr. Louis Tutt.


Guests (in order of appearance)

  • Greg Stilson, APH Head of Global Innovation
  • Jose Gaztambide, GoodMaps CEO
  • Mike May, GoodMaps Chief Evangelist
  • Paul Ferrara, Communications Accessibility Editor
  • David Tobin, Founder and CEO of AudioJack
  • Mr. Louis Tutt, former EOT


Links



Black History Month Links to Awards - Links are directly to the images 

Speaker 1:

Welcome to change makers, 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.

Speaker 2:

Hello, and welcome to change makers today. We're talking to the developers of good maps. Explore the popular, accessible indoor outdoor navigation app. I'm your host, Sarah. And as low vision awareness month comes to a close we'll. Learn more about the good maps app, their recent award, and what else the company is working on. Then we'll learn more about audio Jack with partners with Paul and celebrate black history month with our final interview with our special guest Mr. Lewis tie first , I'm going to turn it over to APH is head of global innovation, Mr. Greg Stilson.

Speaker 3:

Hey, thank you, Sarah . I'm Greg Stilson head of global innovation here at the American printing house for the blind, and I am lucky enough to sit here and talk to two of my good friends , uh, Jose guests , MBD , and Mike May from good maps. How are you guys doing

Speaker 4:

Excellent. Thanks for having us, Greg. Awesome.

Speaker 3:

Awesome. Well, I am super fired up to talk to you guys today about good maps. Um, and why don't we just get into kind of the crux of the, what is good maps , uh, and , and how is it funded Jose? You want to take that?

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Thanks Greg. So good maps is a social enterprise that would spun out from the American printing house for the blind and our focuses on digital mapping and accessible navigation and ultimately universal navigation. In other words, we want anybody to be able to enter any building and feel like they can navigate independently. Uh, our initial funding came from APH , uh, and since that time we have raised additional funds from, from other investors , uh, in addition to revenue from , from selling the products into our customers.

Speaker 3:

Got it. Okay. And like when you, I know on , uh , on my phone, I'm sure on Mike's phone, I've got like 13 different maps applications and GPS, navigation applications and things like that. What, what makes good maps different? Like, what's your, what's your guys's kind of claim to fame?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, absolutely. So for us, it is all about the indoor navigation experience. Um, for, for a long time. Uh, the, our spaces has really struggled to get enough indoor menu , uh , venues mapped to , to the point where , uh, you know, it's a significant enough , uh, footprint to, to where you feel like it really has value. Uh , and number two, making sure that you have confidence when we tell you that you're in a certain location that you're actually there. Uh , and so we really revolutionizing indoor mapping by creating a platform and a process that significantly slows down or significantly decreases the time to map in the costume app . And simultaneously we've developed indoor positioning technology that that's accurate, and that doesn't rely on any kind of infrastructure whatsoever. So , so no beacons , uh , which is a really big deal for the, the actual , uh , venues and buildings that we're selling into. So as good maps grows, we , we expect to have the most indoor maps locations for accessible navigation, in addition to , uh, the, the best accuracy, which translates into probably the best user experience that the people can count.

Speaker 3:

Gotcha. So this is, this is entirely, you know, not, not specific to having , uh, beacons or wifi mesh systems or anything like that. This is specific to you guys creating the map itself.

Speaker 4:

Well, it's creating the map and creating the positioning technology that's utilized within the buildings that we support.

Speaker 3:

Gotcha. A question to you, Mike, as, as a blind traveler yourself and somebody who's got quite a bit of experience with these types of things. Uh, what, what is the experience like when, when using good maps? I , I , I know that it does some outdoor navigation, but then specifically indoors. What does that feel like? Well, it's important to me because I have so many apps on my phone and I don't want to be switching around that the experience be integrated. So the good maps explore app outdoors takes me to the building. It's a simple interface and it doesn't have all the features that one might accumulate over many years of , of building a product , but it has to an important one. It gets me to the building and then I get a prompt that says APH or the library or whatever building it is as indoor maps. I click on that. It loads that building data. And now I started having the experience of navigating indoors. That experience is similar to outdoors in terms of giving me directions left right ahead and distances. What's different indoors is that hallways are not named. So you have to do a little bit different kinds of directions to deal with that versus streets outside where you can say go down main street here. You just, you have to tell people 42 feet straight ahead, turn left. Um, you do have points of interest indoors , which are announced in much the same way as outdoors reception desk lobby, atrium, elevator bathrooms, and so forth. But if you want to hear how it works, here's the recording actually using it out on the street or inside American printing house for the blind confirm location on home page. Yes, 108 switched to cellular calibrating position position established front lobby facing Northwest American printing house at worst case five feet straight ahead. Position established look around tab on selected. Look around heading Northeast office seven feet

Speaker 5:

Break room 17 feet Southwest West stairwell to 45 feet wet Northeast wonder room 24 feet water fountain 2016 copier slash North Southwest. Now library forty-five feet button Miguel library heading 45 feet , South options heading directions button, looking at

Speaker 3:

The apps that exist. One of the apps that has been developed by APH and is available on the Apple and Google play store was, was nearby Explorer. Um, since then, since you guys released your app, the, the transfer sort over the , the , the development has shifted over to good maps. Have you guys engaged the community? Have you learned much from that community and what features have you sort of adopted from, from the nearby kind of , uh, experience? Well, we, we definitely have put the word out that we want feedback from nearby users, and that's a very mature app that has a lot of configuration choices, and those are things that we , we may add over time, but we really wanted to focus on what are the most important features so that we do keep it simple. And I think that's still a work in process, but as the, some of the older foundations for nearby the map data and the map engine that were timing out and could no longer be used, this was the golden opportunity to have new technology, not only indoors, but also outdoors. Yeah. And having that seamless transition from outdoor to indoor using the same sort of user experiences is key. Right. You don't want to go into an indoor situation and have to do entirely new interaction techniques and things like that. So I , I totally hear that. Um, what what's been the app journey, like, I mean , uh, you, you guys , um , I know you, you, Jose mentioned that the origin of the company is indoor mapping and navigation. Um, what brought you to outdoor and, and, you know, have you added features recently or are you, are you, what's kind of on the what's on the docket for, for, you know, next next changes for both outdoor and indoor? Well, I think it was important that we have an integrated app, so that's why we decided, well, we we'd be remiss in not including that. Um , we don't want to try to beat out all the other apps, but we do want to have the opportunity. And these days, a lot of people use multiple apps outdoors. Anyway, you might be running Apple maps for routing and , uh , another app for intersections. So you can definitely do that. If you have a preferred app for a specific application, you can run multiple at the same time and explore does run in the background nicely. So we've, we've accomplished that. I think the big change over time, really in , in the evolution of the app was going from beacon oriented, indoor navigation for positioning the camera based positioning and LIDAR that we're doing. Uh , I think that's, that's a huge advancement that I guess we're fortunate that the timing of technology was such with the iPhone adding the AR kit and the , the good cameras and LIDAR and everything that we're in the perfect position to start embracing a new technology that gives us better precision indoors than the old beacon systems. Absolutely. Gotcha. Um, if I, if I turn back to Jose A. Little bit about kind of the, the app , um, not just the app, but the , the mapping platform and things like that, that you're using. Can you tell me a little bit more about , um, the value add for businesses and things like that, and then where, where are businesses kind of adopting this?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, thanks. Great. Great question. So the, the value add for businesses , uh, at the moment really revolves around a combination of accessible navigation and universal navigation. So by becoming a good maps venue and a good maps building, you're , you're making your space more accessible and you're making your space just easier to navigate, to make that really real. About a year ago, we welcomed my son into the world and we were in the hospital for five days and every single one of those five days I got lost , uh , and I would have loved to have had a map available to me to get back to my wife's hotel room, or sorry, a hospital room, or to get to the cafeteria and figure out if the cafeteria was even open. There's just so many , uh, incredibly complicated venues , uh, that really have not cracked the nut on making that experience more and more seamless and more joyful for the user. And that's really where our value proposition comes in in the medium term, in the long-term . There's so many things that we can do with the maps and with the positioning system that we've developed , uh , that I think are really exciting from a, from a venues perspective. So for example , uh, we've been doing some work on mobile asset tracking, the ability to visualize where hospital equipment on wheels is, for example, which is a massive area of spend and of waste for hospitals, with the technology that we've developed, you can, you can really track at an extremely granular level where all of your equipment is in real time , uh, to a level of accuracy that , uh , nobody's really providing in the market right now. Uh, and with very, very, very minimal need to install infrastructure, which is a big pain point for some of these healthcare operators. So part of our hypothesis is that a map in and of itself is not , uh , the end, it's a means to an end. And there's all kinds of value proposition that you can stack on those maps to make it worth it for somebody. And we focus on those things because we want to increase , uh , the odds and increase the reasons for people to say yes to good maps. Ultimately, our heart is an accessible navigation, but sometimes you've got to give people more than just accessibility for them to say yes, and let you into their space.

Speaker 3:

No , a hundred percent. Absolutely. And being able to , to show that there's, there's, you know, unfortunately for , for many of the mainstream companies, right. They , they don't know what they don't know with regard to our community and, and blind and low-vision travelers and things like that. They may not know that there's blind and low vision people, even in their space. Right. And so , um, having this become more of a universal , uh, navigation mission is something that I think probably resonates with them. And with that you make it more accessible for everybody. Um, so looking at that, where, where are you ? Are you guys , uh, in certain buildings or are you, you know, only here in the United States or what do you, what, what's your plan there?

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So at the moment, we're , we're primarily in the United States , uh , and primarily in the Louisville area and within driving distance, we launched in the middle of COVID. And so you can imagine that there is some logistical constraints that have prevented us from , from going to some of the geographies that we want to be in. Uh , but there has been a lot of demand , uh, kind of throughout the country. Uh, we've got some projects coming up on the East coast, the West coast, we'll be doing some schools for the blind throughout the entire country , uh, over the course of time. Uh, and so I think you're going to see our footprint really explode. And in 2021, we've also partnered with the Canadian national Institute for the blind. They , they carry , uh , good maps. We've armed them with one of our LIDAR mapping devices. Uh, and so they like us are trying to navigate through COVID, but , but we'll have a number of exciting buildings to announce. Uh, once some of these restrictions are lifted, we're also looking to expand into other English speaking countries. Uh , it's probably a little bit too early for me to announce , uh, precisely which countries and when, but that isn't the work. So we look forward to announcing at least one of those countries in 2021.

Speaker 3:

Very cool. You've made a couple references to the technology and the accuracy and the way that LIDAR is used and things like that. Can you talk a little bit about kind of how your, your magic happens and what a business owner or somebody who adopts good maps goes through to get their space mapped ?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, absolutely. So I'm going to, I'm going to break up this answer into two. The first part is the mapping component. And then the second one is the positioning component. Um, so if you, if you go backwards even two years ago, a lot of indoor mapping was an extremely manual process. And so you would go in, you would measure walls, you would take pictures and eventually you would go in front of a computer and spend a couple of weeks just drawing that map out, which by the way, is not terribly accurate efficient. So enter LIDAR and LIDAR is a technology that stands for light detection and ranging it's been around for about six decades, but it's really of the last handful of years that it's become really popular and really powerful and has had a whole lot of venture capital money poured into it. Uh , and so our , our timing was really incredible because we were asking this question , uh, around how can we make a dent on indoor mapping at exactly the right time that the necessary technology was becoming more available? And so now we have our mappers and they'd go into , uh , a building that we're mapping with. What's effectively a Ghostbusters backpack. Uh , and they've got a little wand. And at the tip of that wand is the LIDAR device. And it is shooting out hundreds of thousands of points of light per second, and then measuring where that light , uh , hits something, hits resistance and sending that information back to the backpack. And so we're able to put together what we call a LIDAR point cloud, which is a representation of that physical space using all of those little dots that , that, that hit something. And then we're able to cobble together a 2d in a 3d map of that space using that output. We're able to do that process, the walkthrough process, and effectively the same amount of time. It would take you to walk through the building. So it's very, very fast and very, very efficient. And that allows us to number one, increase the accuracy of the mapping process. And number two, really drastically decrease the amount of time that it takes to map, which has been one of the big hurdles than mapping. So , so that's the magic behind the , the mapping component positioning, which is how we figure out where you are within that building is , is related. So when we go through with that Ghostbusters backpack, we have a handful of high definition cameras that are mounted on top of that LIDAR device. And they are taking five pictures per second for each one of those cameras. Those images are geo-referenced. In other words, it's not just a picture, but it's a picture with an XYZ coordinate when somebody who's using good maps explore is walking through one of the buildings that we have mapped. Uh , they've got their phone out in the AR kit that Mike was referencing earlier is sending the images that their phone is seeing to , uh , effectively an algorithm that is comparing those pictures to the pictures that were taken during the scan. And it all happens extremely fast. It's a, it's about a quarter of a second , uh, and that allows us to get, you know, it depends a little bit on conditions in the, in the building, but if you're standing still a fraction of a meter, if you're moving about a meter , uh , maybe a little bit more, a little bit less, depending on the venue, but we're able to do that without installing any kind of hardware whatsoever. So it's a major differentiator for the, for the business. You asked the question, what's the experience like for the building? It's , it's really straightforward. You, you let us in, you walk around with us for, you know , anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes, depending on the size and complexity of the building, answer a couple of questions for us in terms of how things are named and what the important points of interest are. And then our team goes and does their magic and turns that data into a map. We confirm with you that the information that we gathered is accurate, and then we publish it and somebody walking into your venue can use good maps, explore to navigate independently.

Speaker 3:

Wow. So you employ a bunch of Ghostbusters is basically what I got out of that . Yeah . Okay. All right , cool. That, that is, that is fantastic. And what I'm on , correct me if I'm wrong. So for most of the audience that are listening to this, they probably have heard about the latest iPhone launching with LIDAR, the LIDAR sensors that you guys use, I'm guessing do what the iPhone LIDAR sensor does probably at a much higher scale. Is that accurate? Yeah .

Speaker 4:

Yeah, that's exactly right. There's a lot of really exciting things about , uh, the , the iPhone and the, and the LIDAR chip within the iPhone. Uh, but the reality is that the iPhone itself is just not set up to handle the amount of data that's being generated , uh , throughout the , the mapping process. We've done testing. And once you exit a single room that the iPhone really doesn't know what to do. So it's not really a good scalable technology and the accuracy isn't really there. It doesn't have the quality of sensors that you need to have confidence. So from a mapping perspective, I think we're a couple of generations away from being able to use the iPhones and the iPads in order to actually do the mapping. But there's some really interesting things that the LIDAR chip allows you to do in terms of positioning and objects , identification, and the , and some other really, really, really interesting things. And unfortunately, I'm not a replacement for mapping , uh, but could drive a really fascinating user experience.

Speaker 3:

Speaking of the user experience, you know, one of the, one of the things that I want to clarify here is, you know, I think Mike confirmed with me. I , I, when I use a GPS app, for example, I'll have my Bluetooth headphones in, and I'm just listening to the feedback that I get my phone remains in my pocket, which you guys are outlining is a different use case, right? The, the phone needs a visual view of your surroundings to give you that reference to the, to the point cloud and understanding where you are. Is that, is that correct? Am I interpreting that right? Yeah . Right. It's as you know, Greg, with, with all access technology, maybe all technology period, there's always, trade-offs , you gain some things and you lose some things. Um, so the , the, the nuance of camera based position is you have to have the camera exposed to see the environment. If you're going to get the mapping and positioning that we've been talking about. And the good thing is that there's other apps that have introduced the blind community to using the camera while walking around, or while in a pocket or in a lanyard or in a pouch, such as IRA, be my allies and super sense. And some of the others , uh, I even walked down some nights with seeing AI, to find my Gates and there's big gate signs at the airport, and that phone's poking out of my shirt pocket. You can pick up those Gates signs and announce them to me. So , uh, hopefully that's training people to the fact that you do have, do you have your phone out in order to use other technology we're talking about? Got it. And you guys are on both Android and iOS or just iOS, both. Very cool. So, and it's not just, you know, this community, that's starting to recognize the potential here. You guys , uh , won an award at CES. Jose. Tell me a little bit about what that award was and , and what , what that meant.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, we , we won the , uh, the innovation award from, from CES , uh , this last year, actually for the, for the second consecutive year. And it was really a recognition of all the incredible hard work that the team has done. I mean, you know, it's, it's, it's hard to believe, but it's only been about two years since we've been on this journey. And we looked around and said, there are three issues in this space. Uh, number one, there's no good mapping platform and mapping process. Uh, number two, we've got to get our accuracy much better. And number three, we've got to get that accuracy. Would that relying on any infrastructure whatsoever? And here we are less than two years later at three for three and, and meeting those objectives and responding to what we were hearing from the field. And so that CES award, I think, is really a recognition of that progress , uh, and of those issues that , that we have overcome , uh, in the hard work that the , the team has put in to , to solving those issues. And we just could not be prouder.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that is, that is so cool. Um, when I, when I look at, you know, where this fits in, one of the initiatives that APH has is the smart and accessible cities initiative, where does good maps fall into that? And can you kind of give our audience an understanding of what that is , uh, with the smart and accessible cities initiative?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, absolutely. So the smart and accessible cities initiative is something that APH is involved in to, to bring the latest and greatest in technology , uh, on a, on a city level. Uh , so that folks feel supported and feel like they can , uh , uh, have access to the, to the latest accessible technology that takes a wide range of forms. And then, so you can imagine ours is really on the, on the mapping and navigation aspect. So we work with some of HPAP APHS partners to bring some of that technology into their cities. Right now, we are primarily focused on Louisville and Huntington West Virginia. Although we expect that to expand over time , uh , in Louisville, we're working with a range of partners from government to museum to transportation , uh , to bring some of the technology to bear and some of the most important venues in the city and in Huntington, where we're partnering with some, some local partners to bring this technology again, to the most critical venues and most critical buildings that folks need access to and , and, and , uh, access the services.

Speaker 3:

Very cool. I can tell you, as a, as a, as a blind traveler myself, somebody who's traveled the majority, their career, actually, this being the longest stretch of my career, where I have not gotten on a plane , um, I cannot tell you how excited I am to see, you know, a day where I could potentially walk through an airport with a completely autonomous solution like this, and be able to know exactly where say I need to go to [inaudible] nine in O'Hare and, you know, find out where the nearest restroom is just by, you know, looking, looking within an app like that , um, interacting with nothing, but just my phone. That's a , it's a really awesome initiative you guys are doing. And I think, you know, post COVID when people are out and about and traveling again and experiencing this, it's going to be an entirely new travel experience for them. So , uh, I really appreciate you coming on and , and, and speaking was , is there anything else that you wanted to add either of you that we didn't touch on? No, Greg, thanks for having us. And I think there, there's lots of things that are happening in the future that we can work with in terms of smart cities , uh, intersections, transit , uh, there's so many different companies, large and small working on making that a better experience for everybody. And the fact that we can do something that's dual purpose. It's not just for accessibility, it's for everybody, makes it much more likely that it's going to happen. So I'm excited to see what's coming down the pike and, and the near term , um, hope people get out and use a good maps, explore and give us some feedback. And how do people get in touch with you , uh, with that feedback , uh, if they're using it and they say, Oh, this didn't work well, or this would be a really cool feature. What's the best way to get in touch with your team? I think probably [email protected] works well. If you want to install the free app, you go to good maps, space Explorer on the stores and should be able to download it and check it out.

Speaker 4:

And for any users that need technical help , uh , [email protected] is monitored by our team for, for folks that are having , uh, that needs support elbow . You know, there's, there's one message that I'd love to send to the audience about good maps and nearby Explorer. Uh, we know that there are a lot of folks who were very loyal, nearby Explorer users , uh, and we, we wanted to provide a little bit of clarity , um, how we made the , the changes that we made from the nearby Explorer product into the good maps, because we use nearby Explorer as a, as a motivator and as a template, but , but not as something that we were looking to copy and paste , uh , and we took that decision and that process very seriously. One of the very first things that we did is we were forming the team was , was reaching out to users , uh, across the, the technological comfort spectrum , uh, to, to get feedback on navigation applications in general, but on nearby as well. And, you know, the nearby team created what I think is a , is a really incredible technical tool, but we also found through feedback that had had a really steep learning curve , uh, and that users who were more in that , uh , middle range of , of technical comfort , uh, found it a little bit overwhelming and a little bit daunting, which really held back some usage. And so, as we were designing good maps explore , we really wanted to, to, to make sure that it was a tool that could be used by as many people as possible. Uh, and that required a, a decision to maybe not , uh , bring in at least on the original launch, all of the features and all of the complexity , uh , that was featured in the original nearby Explorer. Uh, we understand that for some folks that that's hard to hear , uh , and that you're losing a tool , uh , and certain features of a tool that, that means a lot to you, but , uh , it really was done with the intent of providing a tool that is as useful as possible to as many people as possible. And that was really our North star in developing good maps Explorer . I would also mention that the version that we first released on the version that is out there now is , is nowhere near the final version. Uh, we're discussing a number of additional features, some of which are , are kind of Greenfield that are new, but many of which were also present in nearby Explorer. And we, we really do our very best to , uh , take in feedback and to respond to feedback and to engage our users. As we develop our roadmap, prioritize our roadmap and launch new features. So I really encourage folks to reach out to our team. We think you'll find them very, very responsive and very knowledgeable. Uh, and , and we look forward to going down this , this journey together.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. And as a, as a product manager myself, I can, I can a hundred percent echo that that user feedback is the, the single point of, of , you know, our , our directional meth methodology. Right. If we don't hear it from users, if we don't hear that this is a problem, or this is something that's necessary, then it oftentimes doesn't get into the roadmap of the product. And so , uh , if , if there's addition, as Jose said, please reach out and get in touch with them. And the more creative the better, I mean, I think some of the problems that get us the most excited are nobody has figured out how to get around this or provide this. What do you guys think you can do that ? That's going to get great. Jose, Mike, thank you so much for joining change makers. I am super excited to see what , uh , what comes up next from good man . Thank you. Thanks. Thank you so much, Greg, for talking to the good maps team, they've got a lot of exciting things coming in the pipeline. Now let's learn more about audio Jack with partners with Paul.

Speaker 7:

Thanks, Sarah . I'm Paul for our communications accessibility editor for APH. Welcome to this episode of partners with Paul. Save tuned to the end, to find out how you can win a prize from our featured partner. And this happens to be one of our newest partners from APH. Welcome in David Tobin, founder and CEO of audio, Jack. Welcome David, how are you today

Speaker 8:

Doing well, Paul, thanks for having me here.

Speaker 7:

All right . Great. So tell us first, what is an audio Jack?

Speaker 8:

Sure. An audio Jack is an audio based movie. So you listened to it. There's no video, there's no words. And there's no music. It's hundreds of sounds that are edited together to tell a story for your imagination. So you'll be listening and you might hear the wind and trees blowing , then some footsteps creeping along and then they stop. And the door opens and your imagination creates a narrative based on what you're hearing. And it's all done through sound designed to give you a movie essentially for your mind.

Speaker 7:

Sounds good. So who is using audio Jack now? And what sort of things are they doing with it?

Speaker 8:

We have a lot of people using audio Jack in a variety of areas of education, and especially in the visually impaired for literacy and language learning activities. A lot of instructors are having students listen to an audio Jack and even parents at home are doing this. And you listened to the audio Jack and then create a narrative afterward there's activities inside the app that allow you to engage with the product in different ways. But essentially you listen once, listen a second time and brainstorm. And then after that, create your narrative, your creation, whatever, or just share out loud with other people and see how you can connect over something like this.

Speaker 7:

Can you tell us more about some of the experiences you've had or,

Speaker 8:

Or heard about with students or others who are blind and visually impaired? Who've used audio Jack I've been hearing from a lot of teachers individually impaired space is two major things. One is that audio Jack is allowing people to work on their language skills by being able to have a rich prompt, to engage their imagination and allowed them to have the freedom to explore and also pull from real world sounds and experiences in the moment. Um, and this has led to a lot of use in the classroom. And we , as I mentioned with literacy, but also with orientation and mobility. So students, people of all ages can get more familiar with surroundings that they're in by being a little desensitized and become more familiar with it. But also we've heard a lot of , um , parents who are cited or other people that have blind , uh , folks in their life that this gives them an equal playing field. So both people can listen and engage at the exact same level, whether you can see or not.

Speaker 7:

Sounds incredible. So tell us, how can our audience acquire audio, Jack,

Speaker 8:

Your audience? Can I get audio Jack, everyone out there listening, you guys can head to APH and hits the website and look up the audio Jack product and right there in the search bar, it's audio Jack , it's all one word AUD IO JCK and it'll pull up and you can get a , uh, there's a link on the page that will take you over to our website and you can subscribe , um, in different forms of either a monthly or annually. And you can also for bigger programs, you can always get bulk accounts to get them for all your students.

Speaker 7:

All right . Appreciate that, David. Thanks very much for being on today.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Thanks for having me here. It's been a pleasure

Speaker 7:

In the included show notes. There is a link to a blog post and as part of that blog post we've included the survey monkey. We'd like you to fill that out. Courtesy of audio Jack one lucky participant is going to win a one-year subscription to audio Jack. Thanks for listening and back to you, Sarah. Thank you so much, Paul,

Speaker 6:

In honor of black history month, we have the final part of our interview with Mr. Ty , a former EOT. He's also been a teacher and assistant principal superintendent. He's been everything and thoroughly immersed in the world of visual impairment in schools for the blind. So Mr. Ty , you were, you were an adult working on integrating schools for the blind. Can you tell us some more about that experience?

Speaker 9:

Uh, yes, I certainly can. Um, my , uh, uh, first , uh, introduction , uh , to the blind is field , uh, and schools for the blind was in 1970 when I was a graduate student at Michigan state university. And , uh, as a result of having visited the Michigan school for the blind , uh, I became interested in the education of blind and visually impaired children. And as a result of that and to make a long story short, when I finished my degree in special education with an emphasis on visual disabilities, I , uh, got a teaching job at the Michigan school for the blind. And , um, that job was , uh , motives fields , teacher of children who were deaf and blind. Now , uh, these children were rubella children and their mothers had contracted rubella in the middle to late sixties , uh, German measles. And so , uh, upon their birth, they had the dual sensory deficits, blindness and deafness. So when I didn't return to Gloucester County to teach , uh, the Michigan school for the blind , uh, recruited me to come out and teach these deaf blind children and I accepted. And that's where I got to know more about the schools for the blind blind children, children with deaf-blindness and just loved it. And as a result of having my first teaching experience at the Michigan school ,

Speaker 10:

Uh, in 1974 , uh ,

Speaker 9:

I was asked to apply for assistant principal by the new superintendent and I did. And , uh , I was appointed assistant principal at the Michigan school for the blind in 1974. And that's where I began to learn more about schools for the blind, because I was traveling , uh , to different schools ,

Speaker 10:

Uh, for curvy shoes ,

Speaker 9:

But also because the school knew I had coached , uh , track and field , uh, with sighted kids. They wanted me to coach track and field with blind kids. I thought, what?

Speaker 10:

Yeah ,

Speaker 9:

Well , I certainly did wrestle in wrestling, wrestling. Wasn't being a sport in schools by big because it's touch, touch, but track, it feels a little different. Yes. So you , you know, blind case blank has had enough visual vision, you know, to be in Iran. And we have God wires on the truck for, for straightaway events . And for old events, blind students ran with a sighted runner where , uh, he or she held the elbow, the arm of the student, they had enough vision to see the lions on the track. And so I also coached , uh, uh, wrestling and track and field at the Michigan school for the blind, which was a wonderful experience too . And because who's for the blind, we're in different States, I got to travel to other schools for the blind in the Midwest. Uh, and there were 12 schools, I believe in the Midwest where I traveled , uh, to , uh , these schools, you see other blind kids and coaches and teachers at those schools. Um, so it was then, you know , that I learned more about , uh, the integration of blind kids, all these campuses up North Midwest , West and down South, where it was more prolific that they had separate schools for the blind , uh, uh, black and blind kids and deaf kids as well. So I learned a lot more about that and then being the first , uh, you know, black coach in a school for the blind , uh, that was integrated their first black principal at a school with a blouse that was integrated and the first black superintendent and the Missouri who was blind that was integrating , I started delving into, you know , the history of schools for the blind. And that's when I learned more that even schools for the blind in the South primarily were also segregated. And I just found that , uh , so terrible I did, but it was our history and , uh , that all changed and good. It did , uh, because it , it , uh , provided, you know, white and blind kids to come together and to know more about what they were doing in integrating schools of the blind and deaf, like maybe their sisters and brothers were doing in public schools integrating, you know, white and black students. So Sarah , so yes, it was appalling to, to hear that, but it was real, but it is no more, yeah. As late as , as in the eighties, when I applied for a super did a job at the Louisiana school for the , for the blind that they had , we had integrated there in Louisiana in the eighties, I was a man that happened wow . In the eighties that's age , Sarah .

Speaker 8:

And , um, that was May 17th, 1954. That was the clarity . And now we're in the age .

Speaker 9:

That's right. Yeah. So, you know , uh, it was, you know, education departments tried their best to keep no school separate until the may . They said, you have to now , uh, I, I didn't go to Louisiana. I got an offer, but at the same time, I got an offer to go to Missouri too . So I went there and , uh, and that was, you know , uh , very good for me to have done that, but I was appalled that the school was right for the blind where we're separate also during those those years. Wow. Yeah .

Speaker 8:

Looking back over everything that we've discussed, I have one final question for you. How do you feel about everything you've done? You've created a leave, you eat , you created a legacy. How do you, how , what are your feelings on looking back on everything that you've done with the , with integrating schools and going to schools to integrate, you know, just all of that, everything you've done. How does , how does that make you feel?

Speaker 9:

Yes. Well , uh , uh, Sarah , I don't know. Have you ever seen a jet magazine? Well , I , I was in jet magazine when I became a first assistant principal at the Michigan school for the blind. Now my catcher wasn't in there, but there was an article about , uh, my being the first black assistant principal at the Michigan school for the blind still. When I think about that and in answer to your question, I think about those who were before me, you know, Martin Luther King and so many others that paved the way for me to do what I did and without them and what they did and all they went through , uh, before Brown vs board of education, what they were doing , uh, I just came on their shoulders. They opened the doors I'd walked through because of what they did. They provided that opportunity for me to do what I did, not only in the blend Ms. Field , after help integrate the schools in Gloucester County, but that too , with regards to , uh, what I was able to achieve, not myself only, but others who gave me the support to go in there, be your best and treat everyone , uh, as individuals, regardless of race, creed, or color, treat them that way. And I must say , uh, you know, that only experience about the white student who said , we're going to get blue cross. Can I add on you? Is the only experience, bad experience I had over these many years with regards to , uh , my education, my teaching, my superintendency, and my being the first black director of the association for the education of the blind and visually impaired air out of Alexandra , Virginia, where I retired in , uh , 2019. So my name got out there. People knew me, they knew what I was like. And , uh, and you know, my, my credentials spoke for me. And , um , I am , I guess, appreciative of the opportunities that I had to do, what I did and to be where I am today. I owe so many people so much Sarah for opening doors, for me, people in the, in, in the education field, the special education field in particular, the field of blindness and visual impairment. Yes, it's been , uh , uh, and , and, and enjoyed experience of meeting the folks that I've met over the years. So wonderful people.

Speaker 8:

Wow. What a story. So you were a change-maker and you were just every day, you were just going , just doing what you do . You're just doing your job. Didn't even realize you were a G U R H fruit to Baker . Didn't realize it. Just do, you know, you were just doing your job and then looking back. Yeah. You are a true change where the good , this is what a change maker sounds like,

Speaker 9:

Sarah , I don't know if you know, but I was honored in 2014 by APH with their top award, the wings of freedom award in 2014. I, my goodness. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. Yes. APH lanes or freedom 19. And that awards not given out every year conferences. Yes. 2014. I was honored by APH. Yes. Yes.

Speaker 8:

I would like to try to do, if I can, is put a , find that photo of that and put that in our show notes so people can see, so people can go into the show notes if I am able to do so. If the system allows me, I will try my best to put that in the show notes. So people can see you and you're accepting your award.

Speaker 9:

Yes , there's , there's , there's some , there's some video on that somewhere.

Speaker 8:

I will start working on it and see if I can get that out.

Speaker 9:

Yeah. Here , I'll tell you this. There's some video on that because when I, when I did my acceptance speech on the wings of freedom, I had , uh , uh, one of the audio visual persons at APH , uh, to play the last part of a song by Pat a bell . That's it? I believe I can fly. I can believe I can touch this guy.

Speaker 8:

Oh my God . I'm going to try to find that it put that in the show notes. So please let me be able to find it if I , for any, but for those listening out there, I'm going to start working on that and get that in the show notes, Mr. Lutein . Thank you. Thank

Speaker 6:

You. Thank you. And hopefully you will out there listening. I've enjoyed hearing his story. It's it's, it's , uh , it's such an interesting detail in depth and it's historical. It's such, it's such an interesting story. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart, for coming in and change makers, we hope you have enjoyed spending time with me and our listeners, and we share to find ways you can be a change maker this week. Just find ways to be like Mr . Lou this week. Thank you so much for joining us.