Description: The article centers on indicating the important information with the key topic of msu denver student hub. It is about the interview of MSU Denver Professor April Hill, she shows us how we can get involved with the center and what we should do to offer workshops along with some colleagues for Metro State.
I’ve been around since 1988 and what they do is that they focus on the positive philosophy of blindness, so their goal is essentially to teach blind people that they can accomplish anything.
If they have the proper training and the proper tools, they offer class and things like Braille, life skills like Kane travel, how do I take a bus by myself, do a lot of cooking classes, I guess in the last four years, they’ve started offering courses in stem, but try to excite them about science and open up the possibility of STEM careers.
So that’s how I got involved with the center and what I’ve done is that I’ve offered workshops along with some colleagues for Metro State and basically what we do is that we bring some tools and some chemicals and we have them perform a chemistry lab.
The goal is to show them that there are tools that they can use so that they can do their own experiments and try to get them excited about chemistry, I mean that’s my goal, I want to attract as many people to my field as I can.
I think the way to do that is to show them that it can be exciting, if a student goes to a school for the sighted and they’re trying to participate in a chemistry lab, you know a lot of teachers who don’t teach to the blind on a routine basis, they don’t know how to safely involve a blind student in a chemistry lab.
So what happens? You know for lack of knowledge of what they can do and also a little bit of fear of what dangers might present, you know a lot of teachers are reluctant to let a blind student do the chemistry labs.
So what happens is that those students are typically partnered with a sighted person who goes through the lab, does everything and gives them basically a running commentary.
My colleagues and I, what we’re trying to do is to provide the tools and the experiments that can allow a blind student to access the chemistry lab independently.
So we’ve developed baton commonly available laboratory equipment essentially combined that with instrumentation that can speak the readings to the students.
So vernier is a company that makes a lot of tools that are used in chemistry labs across the country in high schools college and they have a set of probes that essentially measure temperature pH absorbance values.
They all connect to the same piece of equipment, so what we’ve on then is that we have put text-to-speech software on that piece of equipment so that instead of winging at the instrument and reading the value, the instrument speaks the value for you.
It’s technology that is all available for sighted chemistry labs and we have essentially done one small jemmott to make it accessible for a blind student, I had one student at a workshop a few years ago, her name was Lauren and we did a polymers exercise.
So we had all these fun gooey things that we were playing with and she goes to a school for the sighted, so she had the experience of being paired with a sighted partner and not being able to access her chemistry laboratory.
So at the end of the session, she asked if she could take what we had done back to her school to show her classmates and I thought that was empowering blind student taking this stuff to her classroom and showing her sighted peers.
You know something new, I thought that was great, you know about working with Metro State that everyone in this department has been supportive of this.
I’ve had several professors in the department that come with me to different sessions and help me out, they helped me prepare the department for the supplies.
They’ve been nothing but supportive and I think that’s great and I think that’s a culture at Metro State that we focus on trying to reach those underrepresented groups and it’s nice to feel that kind of support from an entire department and even the school.