AFB Announces New, Enhanced eLearning Center for Vision Loss Professionals
Busy professionals in the blindness and low vision fields now have a familiar resource with a new look and even more robust offerings: the AFB eLearning Center. A long-time leader in the arena of professional development for vision loss specialists, AFB is now offering webinars on cutting-edge topics from some of the most reputable names in the field.
The AFB eLearning Center was established to help vision loss professionals remain at the forefront of the latest research and trends, while earning continuing education credits on their own time. The webinars and courses cover the latest on technology, education, employment, aging, and leadership, and serve educators, rehabilitation therapists, orientation and mobility specialists, rehabilitation counselors, occupational therapists, and other professionals.
Visitors enrolled in AFB eLearning webinars and online courses can expect to:
- Learn from national experts in the visual impairment and blindness fields
- Earn continuing education credits from the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals, and the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
- Take webinars at their own pace, whenever and wherever is convenient for them
Three new webinars will be available in the eLearning Center in May. "Blind Teaching the Blind: Effective Strategies for Vision Loss Professionals Who are Blind or Visually Impaired" by Jennifer Ottowitz will target those with vision loss who provide direct service to others with visual impairments. It will cover such topics as serving as a positive role model, assessing braille reading technique, and monitoring for safety when teaching cooking skills. "Tactile Overlays for the iPad and Tablet Devices" by Betsy Flener will show classroom teachers how to integrate educational apps into their curriculum and create inexpensive template overlays to make navigating apps on the iPad more efficient for students with visual impairments. The fourth course in the Learning to Listen series, "Listening Guidelines for English Language Learners" by Madeline Milian will also be available in May.
As with all content produced by AFB, all eLearning webinars and online courses are accessible and user-friendly. To explore AFB's ever-growing collection of eLearning offerings, visit elearn.afb.org/default.aspx or e-mail eLearning@afb.net.
Tools for Professional Development
Educational Service Delivery the Topic on JVIB Readers' Minds
Thanks to reader feedback, the 2014 Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness special issue topic has been decided. "Service Delivery Models in Education: Special Schools, Itinerant Programs" is the title of next year's special issue, as determined by journal subscribers and suggested by members of the JVIB Editorial Advisory Board. Special guest editors Eugene McMahon, Ed.D., executive director, Council of Schools & Services for the Blind, and Sharon Z. Sacks, Ph.D., director, Curriculum, Assessment, and Staff Development, California School for the Blind, will join Diane P. Wormsley, JVIB's editor-in-chief, the journal's associate editors, and AFB Press staff to shape the focus of this critical issue. The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2014, for publication in the November-December 2014 edition. The 2013 JVIB special issue will focus on Employment and Transition, thanks to the efforts of special guest editor Karen Wolffe, Ph.D., and will be available in November 2013. For more information, visit www.jvib.org.
JVIB Authors Provide Practical Tools for Sex Education for Visually Impaired Youth
Sex education for students who are visually impaired, a subject of concern to educators and other professionals in the visual impairment field, is the focus of a Practice Report in the upcoming May-June issue of JVIB. Written by Gaylen Kapperman, Ed.D., professor and coordinator of the Visual Disabilities Program at Northern Illinois University, and Stacy M. Kelly, Ed.D., assistant professor, Department of Special Education at Illinois State University, the groundbreaking report is one of few scholarly research articles on this important health topic. The authors tackle what many consider to be a taboo subject, making the case for why young adults who are blind or have low vision need equal access to the curriculum and describing how to go about providing instruction of this sensitive material.
The Practice Report provides readers with a list of helpful resources—from audio-described educational videos to anatomically correct models of the human body—that can be used when teaching students with visual impairments. For more information, visit www.jvib.org.
AFB Press Library Is Converted to Accessible e-Books
As part of a three-year Congressional earmark for "Capacity Building to Improve Access to Information and Communications Technology for People with Vision Loss" received by AFB's West Virginia Office, AFB Press has created an ambitious offering of accessible electronic formats for publications that individuals who are blind or visually impaired will be able to read on mobile devices of their choosing. As this project nears its completion in June, AFB Press has undertaken a rollout of its initial e-book program, encompassing 35 book titles in ePUB and Mobi (Kindle) formats, including important recent books such as The Art and Science of Teaching Orientation and Mobility, by William Henry Jacobson, and Learning to Listen/Listening to Learn: Teaching Listening Skills to Students with Visual Impairments, edited by Lizbeth A. Barclay, as well as classic texts such as Foundations of Education, Foundations of Orientation and Mobility, and Foundations of Low Vision. In addition, the JVIB will now be published in both e-book formats.
The ePUB versions of these titles are accessible on mainstream Apple devices such as the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, which have accessible navigation features when used with their built-in screen readers. These books can also be read on computers using e-reading software, such as Adobe Digital Edition or Kindle for PC, as well as on DAISY players such as the Victor Reader Stream.
AFB e-books and JVIB can be purchased along with all the other formats AFB Press offers for its titles, including print, online subscription, and ASCII download, and can be downloaded directly from the AFB Bookstore. The books are also available from major e-book outlets, such as Apple's iBookstore, the Kindle store, and the Nook store.
CareerConnect Set to Launch Redesigned "Our Stories"
In June, CareerConnect, AFB's employment information resource, will launch a redesigned "Our Stories" section packed with success stories about those who are blind or visually impaired.
This section will also connect with eight new Career Clusters in categories such as arts and entertainment, technology, hospitality, business, communications, and science- or STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)-related areas .
FamilyConnect to Offer Workshop Series and Expanded Forums
FamilyConnect, AFB and NAPVI's Web program for parents of children with visual impairments, will conduct a series of eight workshops for families in different locations around the country. The theme for this series will be promoting the learning and practice of independent living skills at home. Families will discover how their child can learn the "tricks" used to perform everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, clothing management, and more.
FamilyConnect has also expanded its online forums to increase user participation. The site already offers professionally moderated forums featuring early childhood, education, and orientation and mobility, but will now add professionally moderated forums for technology, doing everyday things without vision, and transition to independence.
Visitors to the site will also find a wide variety of user-generated content, including blogs on such topics as the importance of braille for parents and celebrating holidays.
Awards and Events
AFB Leadership Conference in Chicago a Big Success
From April 18-20, AFB hosted its annual flagship conference, together with Illinois AER, in Chicago. With over two dozen exhibitors and more than 400 attendees, we took the Windy City by storm!
In spite of some initial bad weather, attendance was strong. A day of pre-conference sessions gave way to Friday morning's keynote address from Chieko Asakawa, Ph.D., of IBM Research-Tokyo. Blind since the age of 14, Asakawa discussed the history of disability technology in a speech entitled "Accessibility Ignites Innovation." The keynote set the tone for the next two days, as all of the sessions provided inspiration, information, and invaluable insights.
Congratulations again to Migel Medal recipients Jim Fruchterman and Kay Ferrell, and Access Award winners AT&T, Best Buy, Panasonic, RNIB, and Regal Entertainment Group. And a huge thank you to all our exhibitors and attendees. We hope to see you next year (February 27-March 1) at AFBLC Brooklyn!
From the AFB Blog
New Amazon Kindle App Shows Improved Accessibility
Darren Burton, director of AFB Tech, evaluates the new and improved Amazon Kindle app.
Reviews from AFBLC
AFB staff take a look back at this year's AFB Leadership Conference.
Expanding Literacy and Beyond
Carl Augusto, our president and CEO, offers his thoughts on Lion's Club International's Reading and Literacy Summit .
AFB in the News
Please check out our "In the News" webpage for recent media articles featuring AFB, our experts, and issues related to blindness and vision loss.