ITSPmagazine Podcast

Making STE(A)M Accessible for Students With Disabilities | Redefining Education With Luísa Monteiro-Oliveira And Brad Turner

Episode Summary

We know there is value in diversity. So how do we ensure we make things available and accessible to everyone as we're learning? It is essential to make STEM education accessible for students with disabilities. This story will help to understand why.

Episode Notes

We know there is value in diversity. So how do we ensure we make things available and accessible to everyone as we're learning? It is essential to make STEM education accessible for students with disabilities. This story will help to understand why.

It may seem pretty straightforward until one pauses to think about how one's ability to read, hear, use their hands (as a few examples) impacts how and when one can learn.

If one can't see, how do they read a textbook in class that all the other students are reading? If the text has been converted to a printed version in braille, does that student's school have access to it? If the text has been converted to a version to be read through a digital braille device, what does it show/present for that algebraic formula with the obtuse triangle? If you couldn't see the image but could only read the alternate text in place -- "image" -- would you be able to learn from that?

This is a much more complex topic than one might think. Fortunately, there is an organization (Benetech) dedicated to helping overcome these challenges, giving students a chance to dream -- and fulfill their dreams -- about what they want to be when they grow up. We get to chat with their VP and GM of Global Education and Literacy, Brad Turner. Brad brings with him half the story.

The other half of the story comes from our other guest, high school student, Luisa Monteiro-Oliveira. Luisa is a senior in high school and preparing to graduate the week following this recording. How has she leveraged technologies like those provided by Benetech to excel in her coursework and prepare for college and a fulfilling life ahead?

Oh, she also read more than 100 books per month, but there is even more than that.

You do not  want to miss this.

From the Benetech Site:
Education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is essential. Despite its importance, many are excluded from learning STEM because of learning differences or disabilities.

About Luísa Monteiro-Oliveira:
Luísa Monteiro-Oliveira is a graduating high school senior from Georgia. Totally blind, she has used Bookshare and other forms of assistive technology since a young age to read, learn, and access information. An avid reader, she regularly reads up to 100 books each month. When she begins college in the fall, she looks forward to pursuing a double major in foreign languages and psychology.

Guests
Luísa Monteiro-Oliveira, High School Student and Benetech Bookshare User

Brad Turner, VP and GM of Global Education and Literacy at Benetech

This Episode’s Sponsors

Bugcrowd: https://itspm.ag/itspbgcweb

Devo: https://itspm.ag/itspdvweb

Resources
Learn more about Benetech: https://www.benetech.org (@Benetech on Twitter)

Learn more about the Bookshare Accessible Library: https://www.bookshare.org

Learn more about Global Accessibility Awareness Day: https://globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org/

Learn more about Benetech and STEM for all here: https://benetech.org/what-if/what-if-stem-were-inclusive-to-all/

Hear another Benetech student story here: https://benetech.org/story/technology-puts-career-within-reach-for-blind-engineering-student/

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