Change Makers: A Podcast from APH

2021 National Coding Symposium

April 22, 2021 American Printing House Episode 28
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
2021 National Coding Symposium
Chapters
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
2021 National Coding Symposium
Apr 22, 2021 Episode 28
American Printing House

Change Makers previews the upcoming 2021 National Coding Symposium that will take place Tuesday, May 11, through Friday, May 14. The event, hosted by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and California School for the Blind (CSB) is co-sponsored by CareerConnect, part of the APH ConnectCenter and made possible in part by support from Fox Family Foundation.

The National Coding Symposium's goal is to demonstrate the world of coding, programming and related careers, are available and accessible to students with visual impairments. The free, virtual event will feature two daily keynote speakers, several presentations and multiple breakout panel sessions. Keynote speakers, presenters, and panelists come from a diverse coding career background of programmers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors, hiring managers, career center directors and counselors, university and high school instructors and more.  

Podcast Participants (In Order of Appearance)

  • Sara Brown: APH Public Relations Manager
  • Olaya Landa-Vialard: APH ConnectCenter Director
  • Adrian Amandi: Director of the California Education Resources Center for the California School for the Blind
  • Vanessa Herndon: Low Vision Clinic and Classroom Coordinator
  • Paul Ferrara: Partners with Paul Host, APH Communications Accessibility Editor
  • Diego J. Mendoza: Sunu, Inc.

 

Additional Links


Technology Awards at National Coding Symposium

During the virtual National Coding Symposium (May 11-14), five separate award opportunities for student attendees will be announced. Each selected student award winner will receive a credit of up to $3,000 towards the purchase of technology, including braille displays, video magnifiers, or other unique technology, AND a $200 Amazon gift card.

Click here to learn more about these awards and the student submission requirements, and to complete the Award Submission Form

Click here to learn more about the 2021 National Coding Symposium.

Show Notes Transcript

Change Makers previews the upcoming 2021 National Coding Symposium that will take place Tuesday, May 11, through Friday, May 14. The event, hosted by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and California School for the Blind (CSB) is co-sponsored by CareerConnect, part of the APH ConnectCenter and made possible in part by support from Fox Family Foundation.

The National Coding Symposium's goal is to demonstrate the world of coding, programming and related careers, are available and accessible to students with visual impairments. The free, virtual event will feature two daily keynote speakers, several presentations and multiple breakout panel sessions. Keynote speakers, presenters, and panelists come from a diverse coding career background of programmers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors, hiring managers, career center directors and counselors, university and high school instructors and more.  

Podcast Participants (In Order of Appearance)

  • Sara Brown: APH Public Relations Manager
  • Olaya Landa-Vialard: APH ConnectCenter Director
  • Adrian Amandi: Director of the California Education Resources Center for the California School for the Blind
  • Vanessa Herndon: Low Vision Clinic and Classroom Coordinator
  • Paul Ferrara: Partners with Paul Host, APH Communications Accessibility Editor
  • Diego J. Mendoza: Sunu, Inc.

 

Additional Links


Technology Awards at National Coding Symposium

During the virtual National Coding Symposium (May 11-14), five separate award opportunities for student attendees will be announced. Each selected student award winner will receive a credit of up to $3,000 towards the purchase of technology, including braille displays, video magnifiers, or other unique technology, AND a $200 Amazon gift card.

Click here to learn more about these awards and the student submission requirements, and to complete the Award Submission Form

Click here to learn more about the 2021 National Coding Symposium.

Adrian:

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.

Sara:

Hello and welcome to Changemakers. I'm APH's is Public Relations Manager, Sara Brown. And today we are previewing the upcoming 2021 National Coding Symposium. The virtual free event will take place Tuesday, May 11 through Friday, May 14. We'll learn why this event is so important and what participants can expect during the event. After that, we'll check in with Partners with Paul to tell us more about the coding symposium we have, APH's ConnectCenter Director, Olaya Landa-Vialard and Director of the California Education Resource Center for the California School for the Blind Adrian Amandi and Low Vision Clinic and Classroom Coordinator at Vanessa Herndon. Hello Olaya, Adrian and Vanessa, and welcome to ChangeMakers. Hi, thanks for having us. Great. So for the first question, can somebody tell us what is the Coding Symposium? Just give us an overview as to what it is.

Olaya:

I think, well , the Coding Symposium is really a chance for students , um, who are blind or visually impaired or who, who don't have a visual impairment , um, to hear from individuals who are blind, visually impaired, and those who are not , um, about their jobs and careers in the it field , um, students will learn how these successful individuals navigated their way through school, through searching for jobs, what they did when they landed their jobs and how they maintain their employment.

Adrian:

I think, I think you're getting it right on the head. We're really about motivating these kids who are considering this career path and getting them excited and making them aware that the door is open to them. And it might be challenging to get excited about it. It might be challenging to learn code, but , um, there are others have done it before them, and we want to share those success stories with them and let them know the pathway to success themselves. I do also want to say that it, it can also be for TBIs. We want to kind of demystify coding for TBIs and show that just like any subject, you know, a TVI can take something and accessible and make it accessible , um , and, and show how that's been done. Um , and kind of reinvigorate the importance of that for TBIs parents too , right? This is a good career path. So parents learn about the options and opportunities as a positive, positive space to come visit and learn more about it at this year's symposium.

Sara:

Good. Now, who is this geared to and why , why that age?

Vanessa:

Well, the targeted audience for, for this quoting symposium are students who are blind or visually impaired ages, 11 to 17, who are interested in STEM careers. Um, and that's typically the age range is important because that's when we want our students to really be starting to focus on or think about what they're going to want to do when they, when they get out of school. Um, because then they want to start, we want to start training them and getting them interested and learning about that particular field so that they're not just getting ready for it at 17 or 18, when they , you know, 1920, when they're getting ready to move on to either a job or job training or college. So it , it's a really critical time in their , um, in their lives for us to get in there and catch them early , um, and get them started on that path.

Adrian:

Isn't that true? And I think , uh, I mean, Vanessa has such direct teaching experience recently, and I think , um, it sure is working with her obvious to know that coding, getting into coding and opening up , uh, those opportunities in your mind , um, take a reflection and responsibility that you have to be really into your computer. You have to really know the technology, whether you're using a windows or Mac or iOS, you have to know your screen access software, your screen readers, and your screen magnifiers. And you have to do a deep dive into your regular computer usage. If you're going to consider this as an employment track. And this is a great opportunity to hit them early in high school and middle school and make these kids recognize. Yeah, that is an exciting career path. I've got to step up my game a little bit and I've got a , I've got to quit, just responding and quit answering homework homely, and I've got to get more engaged with my tech itself.

Sara:

Okay. Now tell us, you just mentioned getting familiar with the operating systems and screen readers . Tell me why is coding so important for students?

Vanessa:

Yeah, you know, I think that there are an endless amount of reasons like I could go on, but I , I wanted to try and stick to three. Um, and one is that coding has, and computer science has become basically part of literacy as technology enters our lives. It's becoming more like a standard. Another is that it has several ties to curriculum and student learning goals. And third and most important maybe is that, especially for blind and visually impaired students, it can be empowering. It can make them advocates of accessibility as we move to a more tech based world. And I do want to expand on those three points. So when I talk about , uh , coding as basic literacy, like we know that coding is the language of computers, right? Like a set of instructions that a computer understands in order to perform a task. And this can be really simple to the most complex thing. But the most important thing to note here is that it permeates our day-to-day lives and is a part of almost every injury industry. We use it all the time. So coding or at least understanding code is becoming more and more and more a part of our lives at a basic necessity. Um, just to understand what the things we're interacting with, how they're working. Another one, I also mentioned that coding has several ties to learning development goals. Um, so I think coding can be kind of intimidating when we think about it as these incredible algorithms that like geniuses come up with. Right. Um, but it's really based in finding a problem and breaking down the steps to solve it. It's a relatively simple skill, but it can also touch on so much. Like it's a great way for students to develop their logic or from the very basic, basic , um , coding concepts can teach cause and effect or sequencing or accounting . Um, it can be a way for students to experiment, work together, to make friends, to like meet failures and like try again. Um, it can also be a really fun way to , to trick kids into like reinforcing their braille skills because there's a lot of editing that goes into it. You know, like you might have to debug a code and in pages of braille or pages of like listening to your voiceover screen reader need to find that one quotation Mark that's out of place. So I think that it can reinforce a lot. It can be really simple and it can be really complicated, but you can use it to reinforce a lot of concepts in student learning, but finally, and maybe what I'm most excited about , um, is that it's more like a call to action for TV eyes , because the impact that this can have on student lives is huge students who are blind, visually impaired need to learn how to code just like everybody else, of course. But it's important to understand that code is text-based and therefore it's inherently accessible. It's just the format that it's being taught in. It's the user interface of apps is the web pages and the drag and drop content. That's not accessible, but just like any subject, a TVI without being an expert can adapt those course materials. And , um, since these students are users of assistive technology and rely on these things to access information in the world, understanding the technology they're interacting with like why a screen reader is working or why CPU matters when they're running their accessibility softwares, this can make them better users of their own 80 . They can become better advocates for themselves and for accessibility by developing this knowledge. And they can evaluate shortcomings of technology, whether it be their assistive tech software programs, websites, or apps, they'll have the language to provide valuable and not only valuable, but actionable feedback to developers and people creating content for them,

Sara:

The FA the area of computer science and coding. Is that an area that has room grow?

Vanessa:

Yeah. I mean, I think most people have observed like an exponential increase in the amount of tech in our daily lives. I heard this crazy thing , um, the other day. And I, I , um, I don't know, like the exact calculation, but like basically the iPhone in your pocket or the Android in your pocket or in your purse. The amount of calculations that can do is millions of times more powerful than like what they use to get Apollo 11 to the moon. Like technology is like everywhere and it's growing all the time and it's super powerful. Um, but I think that also goes to show that it's not just technology companies or NASA using technology. Like we have access to this everywhere and it's developing rapidly. Um, there was a statistic , um, published by the Bureau of labor statistics in 2020 stating that employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 15% between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Um, also this is kind of an old statistics or ensure that it's a lot more now, but in 2016 they found that an average for the last like five years was , um, 20% more students per year were taking computer science exams . So like between 2015 and 2016, there was a jump 20%. Um, and that was on top of the jump between 2014 and 2015. So yeah, I mean, it's expected to grow and these statistic points are really specifically for computer science, but , uh, I mean, I think it's increasingly difficult to draw the line between computer science principles and other sectors of industry, computer sciences, and just growing as a singular industry, right. Like it's also becoming more and more in meshed and relevant in our daily lives. So if you want to be like a doctor or a musician or a race car tech , like these industries have all been turned upside down by software, so it's becoming, yeah, it's expanding, like not only in itself, but also like permeating everything we're doing very ,

Sara:

Very, very true. Okay. So Olaya, Vanessa and Adrian, what can participants expect during the course of this event? Can you give us just an overview or just an idea of what the different groups attendees will interact with?

Olaya:

Well, I mean, I can just say real quick, like a quick overview, and then I'll leave it to Vanessa and Adrian to get a little more detailed and give you more of the specifics. But overall , um, you know, there will be panels that include professionals, educators, advocates, and others who are blind, visually impaired or sighted. So that is like the, kind of the overview that there will be those individuals there to you motivate providing information , um, to those attending, but then Vanessa and Adrian probably have , um, more of the detailed list of what all is going to be going on. Okay .

Adrian:

Yeah, I think , uh , thank you ally for the quick overview. I think we, one of the things we did in putting this together is recognize that this is a school year activity with classes going on. And so when we're trying to attract school-aged kids, we are trying to respect their schedule. And so we have a Tuesday through Friday format that we're excited that kids will be able to engage with and participate in all aspects of what we're offering throughout the week. Um, and I think most of all our goal is that we, we think that a student attending is going to be inspired. We think they're going to , um, have this access of professionals, as Elias said , currently working in this field and they're going to be relatable. We've taken a lot of care to pick , uh, professionals that are inspiring , uh, on , uh , on a variety of ways. We think we have a diverse group of people , uh, in our panels and in our keynotes and our presentations , um, that shed a wide variety of experiences that our kids can relate to and be inspired by , um, specifically , uh, each day we'll have two sessions. Um, we'll have , uh , it depends on if you're a West coaster or an East coaster, but we'll have an am PM session for the West coasters. Um , and for our East coast timeframe, we'll have an , uh , after lunch and after school , uh , session , um, and we'll kick off each one of those with an inspirational keynote. Um, and those keynote speakers , uh, have done something fantastic with their life and career path. Um, and they're going to share with us some of what they have , uh, made it through some of the challenges they've overcome. Um, and they're going to try to gear up our excitement to want, to want to be in this space. Um, and then we actually have a set of eight presentations following those keynotes, and there'll be in each , uh, in each block of presentation. Um, and those presentations , uh, don't have to be accessed in a row. They don't have to be access one through eight. Um, but they are designed to give a little bit of a footing and education to this space and to really be able to be utilized by TBIs and students , um, during the symposium or , or beyond it , um, as an educational space to learn more about the coding field and learn more about why coding is accessible and how to overcome , um , some of the challenges. And then as Elia said, we have the specific panels , um, our panels , specifically our programmers , um, a panel of , uh, we're calling them non-programmers, but people who work with coders, but did not necessarily code themselves , uh, it's a hard , uh , hard to put a title on that group. But , um, we also have hiring managers. We want to try to demystify some, these , uh, ideas that circulate around us in California and Silicon Valley of what does it take to get one of these jobs? What , uh, what do you need to do? What is your resume need to look like? What is your skillset need to look like? Um, we're going to have transition and career centers , uh , present during the symposium. So we're going to have agencies that work with blind and visually impaired students beyond the school age , um , and during the school age. And they're going to talk about some of the resources that they bring to the table and some of the strategies that they have for students advancing and looking for careers. Um, we also have a panel of university , uh, leads and teachers. Um, we definitely recognize that the more coding and software permeates society as Vanessa was mentioning earlier, that colleges are taking the responsibility on making sure our students that further develop their skills and , um, advanced programming and software. And so we're going to hear directly from universities that have taken very seriously, the involvement of blind and low vision kids, and make sure that universal design and accessibility are part of their programs. Um, and, and talk to students who might not be on their universities to , uh , talk to students about what, what skills and tricks they've done that can work at any, any college or space. Um, and finally, we're going to have a panel of entrepreneurs , um , people who have really taken the lead in saying, Hey, you know what I can do with code? I can, I can create a business. I can create a new app. I can create a new space. Um, and this is, this is what we're we're excited about is this , um, all of these are going to encourage our kids to create change and be change makers themselves.

Sara:

Now I understand there's going to be a question and answer session. Why is it so important for students to get that opportunity to ask panelists questions?

Adrian:

Yeah, we're working on, on the Friday of the session. The last day of the symposium is going to be direct access to , uh , some of our panelists, keynotes and presenters. Um, and , uh, we, we're going to set this up so that our student participants , um, have the opportunity to ask a direct question from their mind to a panelist. And we , uh, we're doing this for a variety of reasons, one to make it tangible and make these successful professionals , uh, very, very right there , accessible and tangible to our students. Um, but we're also respecting that , uh, these kids attending this symposium, they students , uh, attending the symposium. Um, they're the leaders of tomorrow , um, that are currently right now effective , um, and impactful thinkers. Uh, we recognize and respect that. Um, and we want to give them this opportunity , uh , to make a difference just with their questions. Um, it's not just important for our students to have the opportunity to ask question so that they can be inspired and get their answer. Uh , but it's really important that our panelists that are the leaders right now, and in many coding fields and coding spaces, here are these questions that our students will ask. Um, and any field , uh, especially working with blind and visually impaired kids, we who are currently working in the field, need the , hear the aspirations and the questions that come from our students so that we can change and direct the way that we present , uh, our programs , um, the way that we can present , uh, our successes and , and change in this particular space. Sometimes we're going to have entrepreneurs and coders themselves that are going to hear a question and say, Hey, you know what , uh , we need the, we need to adapt. We need to rethink the way we code. We need to rethink the way we think about accessibility. Um, for those of us who are educators, we need to rethink the way we teach and plan our programs. I think the Q and a not only is going to be impactful for students, but I think it's going to be eyeopening for teachers and parents alike , um, to be able to really see where our kids are coming from.

Sara:

There are plenty of people with visual impairments who have secured employment with coding or computer science. Can you tell me more about the opportunities that are out there that you want listeners to know?

Adrian:

Vanessa, that in the first question she answers so well that , um, you don't have to be a programmer for coding to benefit your career choice in your path. Uh, software has permeated almost every single job anymore. Um, and it's not just working with that software , uh, on the backend and being able to change it or input data into it. It's understanding what's in front of the screen period. It's just engaging with a website or engaging with a new software that you have to input into , um, and knowing what that software is up to and what the person who created that piece of software and technology was intending is going to make you a better user of that software. Um, and I think our kids kind of have a leg up on their sided companions because they're using screen readers and screen magnifiers, and they, they have to have a thorough comprehension of how the system works. They have to really understand how to navigate the menus , uh, to navigate and control where the cursor moves on a screen and how it engages and interacts. They're starting with a leg up when they, when they learn how to code on top of that, they're able to put themselves into the head of the person who made the app, who made the software program, who made the website. And I think that knowledge and experience coupled with the , uh, expertise of being a screen access user, whether it's a magnifier or a reader , um, I think what we're doing is we're , um, we're just, we're this opportunity expand well beyond coding and programming. And I'm saying this knowledge that you're going to have coming out as a blind or low vision high schooler into the job field or college student into the job market , um, is you're going to be successful working with technology. You're going to be able to utilize your screen in a way different than your peers. And you're going to be able to have a discussion on the back end , uh, also with people who've created these software tools.

Vanessa:

Um, I think that you kind of, you did hit the nail on the head there, Adrian. Like it's not just that, you know, learning to code or being interested in coding lens and opportunity , like a specific opportunity. Um, I think that it's a Jew . It can be a general skill that opens up more opportunities, you know, just because you can maybe even understand the use of your own screen reader better and become a better like problem solver when you're trying to access a website, et cetera, like you can become more efficient , um, in your own, right. And using assistive technology just as a tool. And you can also generalize that skill into more areas of technology, whether it be like Adrian said to like have a window into how developers since systems work or just , um, be a , a fluent tech user , um, those types of things open a lot of doors for students

Adrian:

And that true and are students learning more about coding can really start to change what accessibility means and accessibility. It does not always translate to usability. Uh , and we see this again and again, in the school space, we hear about a new product and it's completely accessible. And we hear about some new website that got made completely accessible, and we put our students on it and we're like, Holy cow, it's time to bust out of how to guide, let us spend the next two and a half weeks writing out a how to guide so we can teach our students how to step-by-step use this quote unquote accessible piece of software or website. And I think as we get our students to become leaders in this space, and I mean the space, not just accessibility, but technology as a whole software and , and programming , uh, when our students become more leads in this space, I think we're going to see websites become more usable to the screen reader and screen magnifier users. And with that in place, I think we see time and time again, that websites and programs will become more usable for everybody.

Vanessa:

I do . I want to jump on that actually, because what you said about like accessibility versus usability is so important. Um, and in terms of design and usability, having our students be in the room when that's happening, like you look at somebody like Steve jobs, who's whole idea is to create something that's like plug and play easy to use, intuitive to use for the, for that person. And, you know, these developers are creating with an idea of the general user in mind, and the general user is not often most users and the general user is not often a blind user. So to be in that room when they're like, how do we make this really, really impactful to the world? Like all of the accessibility features that would benefit a blind or visually impaired person can also benefit the general public, but how do you, how do you not just make those available? How do you make them useful? Um, so I think that's really exciting. Okay.

Sara:

So this event, it is done in partnership with the California School, for the Blind. Olaya, how has it been working with them?

Olaya:

Well, the Coding Symposium is made possible by support from Fox Family Foundation. Uh , it's also sponsored by the connect center specifically career connect. Um, it's been great working with everyone at the California School for the Blind , um, and just the collaboration that we all , um, you know, that we're all involved in , uh, working with such skilled individuals, Vanessa is so knowledgeable and just knows her stuff. Uh, I've worked with Adrian in the past. And so, you know, it's just like working with old friends is awesome to do. Um, and so, yeah, it has been really a , uh , an awesome, really positive experience. And I think that'll come across , um, when we are actually involved in putting on the coding symposium, I think you'll see that dynamic workout. It, it , it is just exciting. And, and I love collaborating. I love working with people because again, one person can't know everything, but being a part of the connect center and working with CSB , um, I think it , it's , it's a really powerful partnership in a lot of ways. Cause we look to CSB in the field itself, we look to CSB for a lot of our , um, guidance and what we're doing with our, with our kiddos and helping prepare them. And , um, you know, California School for the Blind in, in so many ways is , is a leader , um , in our field.

Adrian:

I think what, one of the neat things about working with APH as a state school for the blind is yes , we take advantage of the fact we're next to the Silicon Valley, but I don't think that's what motivates our tech lab to get excited about tech. I think it's recognizing and having that near to us that inspires us to level the playing field as often as possible with as much technology as possible. Um, utilizing , uh, APH has the American Printing House for the Blind and this national presence allows us to share some of what we are able to engage with in a different way than other schools for the blind and other States. We are thrilled to be able to share that content out nationally. Um, and as, as agencies, as a school for the blind and they, and another public and the APH , um, we are so gifted by the Fox Foundation of being able to give this money to us, to get this project off the ground. Um, cause it's really hard for our agencies to put together big events like this without that additional funding. So I'm a percent of all the way around , uh, from how we got this from an idea a few years ago , uh, through coronavirus and the pandemic , um , to a different format or no longer than in-person event, we thought we were going to host, but , uh , I'm just real thankful that we're able to bring this out on a national level.

Sara:

So is it too late to sign up and where can listeners go for more information?

Olaya:

Well , um, registration is free and will remain open throughout the event. So now , you know , not too late , um, you can register online through the APH connect center website. Um, there is a webpage with all the symposium information such as agenda speakers and registration www.aphconnectcenter.org/coding.

Adrian:

And we've set up this symposium so that you can join at any time. You're not missing out content. If you register on the last day, we still think it'll be an empowering experience for students. And if your schedule is such that you can only join for one part of the coding symposium, we still strongly encourage you to attend. Uh , we think that that moment will be impactful and we have it designed so that year you're able to join in any fashion

Sara:

And we will include links to registration and more information for the coding symposium in the show notes. So please be sure to take a look and register today, Olaya, Vanessa, Adrian, is there anything else that you want listeners to know?

Olaya:

I think from , from my end from the ConnectCenter and , um, I just would like to reiterate, to be sure to visit the APH connect center and career connect , um, not only the register and get more information about the coding symposium, but for information and guidance about careers, jobs, watch videos made by and about people who are successful in all kinds of different jobs and career fields who are also blind or visually impaired , um, learn about programs that you can participate in to help you prepare for life after high school, whether it be a job vocational training or college. And so , um, you know, beyond the , the coding symposium, you know , APH career connect has so much information.

Vanessa:

I did want to say that like, you know, I think that it can be kind of a, an intimidating subject sometimes for, for students, for teachers, for parents, you know , um, I'll say for myself, like I didn't get into teaching students with visual impairments because I wanted to be in computer science. Like by any means, never took a computer science class in my life, but I would say that it, it can be really simple and it can be really complicated, but there are many ways jump in and I encourage everybody to just check it out because it might not be what you think it is. It might be more than you think it is. It might be less. But , um, I think that there's something there for everybody.

Adrian:

I agree. Um , I want a heck of that. Coding can be easy. It can be something that we can set up and design ahead of time for a student. We can create a lesson that's pretty straightforward and we'll give them a tangible reward and success depending on the code we choose. Um, but what excites me most about coding is that it can be really hard and it can be hard in the most , uh , uncanny ways. It can be as simple, a simple thing that you did incorrectly that causes it not to work the way you anticipated. There's a lot of problem solving and coding. And I think that teachers, if you wrap your head around that initial bump in the road of difficulty of learning it , and if you learn the basics of coding, you'll discover that a lesson about coding hits a lot of the aspects of what we're trying to do and , and educating our students , um , and teach them to become problem solvers. And we can use this space, not just to beef up their technology skills and increase their in segment about programming, but we can use coding as a pure lesson in teaching problem solving , um, and that , uh, and teach our students that , um, we've got to overcome tough moments. We've got to overcome difficulties and challenges. Um, and coding is an opportunity where when you do overcome something that was hard, you get a very concrete success moment. You get a yep . Now it works. Um, and that that's exciting and it, and it makes the, it gives you a payoff for the difficulty you encountered and we're helping to encourage more of those moments through this symposium.

Olaya:

One other really big thing is we'd really like to thank the , um , Fox Family Foundation for helping make the Coding Symposium possible. Um, if we, if we really couldn't have done it without their support. So thank you very much.

Sara:

Okay. Olaya, Vanessa and Adrian. Thank you all so much for joining me today on Change Makers. Thank you . It sounds like it's going to be a great event. Now let's check in with Partners with Paul.

Paul:

Thanks Sara. It's great to be back with another episode of Partners with Paul and I'm delighted to have with me today, Diego Mendoza , Head of Commercialization from Sunu. How are you Diego?

Diego:

Thank you, Paul. I'm doing excellent. Beautiful day. I hope that you all are, that you're doing excellent as well. The Sunu band is a product. We sell a non- quota product. The price is $299. Diego. Can you tell us a little bit about what the Sunu new band is? Absolutely. Yes. Thank you. So in a nutshell, I would say that the Sunu Band is a sonar sensing bracelet that allows people with visual impairments to detect obstacles and their surroundings. So you have, let's say a camera on your car and the closer you get to another car, the more it beeps, right? Well, with the sooner band, you get that experience, but with vibrations on your wrist, meaning the more you, the closer you get to an object, the more it'll vibrate.

Paul:

That's great, but there's also an app that goes along with it. Can you tell us about that app and whether or not you can use it just with the band or if it has some independent functions as well?

Diego:

Yes, of course the band and the app are both independent from each other, but we're of course working towards a very , um, interesting and a very useful conjunction there. So the app is a navigation app is a fully inclusive navigation app. We connect to Google maps. So of course, everything that you see listed on Google maps will be listed on the, on the Sunu app. And the Sunu app allows you of course, to explore places around you within a walkable distance. And the best part is you have full understanding of what surrounds you. So there are very interesting features that , uh , we can, we can talk about more in detail in a few moments, but eh , that's what the Sunu Band and the Sunu app is , um , both independent, but also they work in conjunction with each other.

Paul:

That's great to hear that they work together, but they also have their own independent functions. Now I understand that there are some new updates to the app. Can you tell us about those? Absolutely. What , uh , newest features and updates. Uh, first I would like to mention the, my Sunu Band tab and that tab basically allows you to control everything from that , uh, tab of course , uh, anything from customizing the range of the band , uh, personalizing the experience as far as , uh, new features or old features. So you can customize everything and you can set up the levels of detection that you, that you want to get. So that's one part on the under on the, my new band, but you also have independent features such as the street pointer, which as, as, as the name says, you take your phone out or you take your sooner band and you pointed into any direction, and it's going to give you a list of streets , um , of course, listed by distance. So the , uh , the nearest street that you're pointing at is going to be all the way to the top.

Diego:

That's say you're pointing at Main Street, and now you move a little to the left and now you're pointing at second street. The new app will be listing those streets , uh , again, by distance. That's one of the features. We also have a place pointer. So just like the street point of works, the place pointer will tell you exactly the places that you're pointing at. Let's say that you're in a crowded place. I don't know an airport or a shopping mall, for example. And you want to know where the ATM is or where the cafe is. You simply point your hand or your sooner abandoned , I'm sorry, your hand, or your band in any direction. And you will get that feedback again, listed by distance and exactly what you are pointing. Those are some of the newest features.

Paul:

And finally, Diego, there are some new features that are just come out. Can you tell us about those?

Diego:

Absolutely. One of the most appealing features, and that is basically upgrading and doing a lot of updates. As far as the obstacle detection part is the sonar 2.0. So this feature is taking the obstacle detection of the Sunu Band and adding bunch of steroids to it. So with the obstacle detection, you know, that there's something or that you are detecting the presence of something, but with the sonar 2.0, you will now be able to understand the difference between a wall or a person, a car , uh , a tree branch, for example. So you're basically leveling up with , uh , sonar features. Uh, this is of course for more advanced users, but this has so far, this has been receiving a lot of good feedback. And you'll find this on the app. Yes. The app let's remember that both the app and the band are periodically upgraded. So as long as you have the band connected to the app, and of course the app is updated from the app store, you will always get the newest features, the newest firmware or software version of the Sunu Band and , and that's how you will get it . Yes. All right .

Paul:

So it sounds like a lot of great things coming up. Thank you very much for joining us today, Diego.

Diego:

Thank you for having me call the sooner band is available for $299 from APH. Check the show notes. We're going to provide the link to the soon new product page. If you want to order it, you can do so from that page, or you can contact APH customer service. Now back to you, Sara.

:

Thanks so much, Paul. And just a reminder, we'll put in the show notes, the link to register and more information about the Coding Symposium. Thank you very much for joining me today on Change Makers. We hope you enjoy today's podcast. Be sure to look for ways you can be a Change Maker.