Vista Center: Preparing Students for the Future

Vista Center: Preparing Students for the Future

Vista Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired

Vista Center Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.com

James Krueger from Apple teaching the kids how to code and create their own app using Swift Playground.

Thanks to funding from Monterey Peninsula Foundation and accessibility engineers and developers at local tech companies, Santa Cruz area middle and high school students with visual impairments engaged this past week in Vista Center Santa Cruz’s informative and fun program “Vision for Our Youth for Tomorrow” geared specifically to prepare them for higher education and/or career readiness through technology!

On Tuesday James Krueger from Apple taught coding and helped the kids develop an app using Swift Playgrounds. On Wednesday, Amazon demonstrated the Amazon Show and its accessibility features and brought each of the students an Amazon Echo Dot! On Thursday, Eugene Selznev from Microsoft taught them how to use the Seeing AI app. On Friday, Kevin Andrews from the Disability Resource Center at UC Santa Cruz talked about education advocacy, travel and mobility.

Thanks to a grant from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, each participant received an iPad and wireless keyboard. They learned how to use all the accessibility functions this week, in order to be better prepared for education and career (in the future).

Students learned to effectively manage school, work and social interaction through technology and:

  • Developed a strong command of VoiceOver
  • Mastered the use of the Bluetooth keyboard to edit and complete assignments; email; download apps; take notes; make phone calls; navigate with GPS; and do Internet research
  • Met with accessibility engineers and developers at local technology companies from Apple, Amazon.com and Microsoft
  • Received specially trained mentor support from blind and visually impaired adults

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