Recently, Michigan State University introduced GoodMaps to campus, improving accessibility in indoor navigation. Leslie Johnson, Assistant Director of Assistive Technology and coordinator of this initiative, explained that GoodMaps is a digital mapping app that uses LiDAR (3D laser scanning), image recognition, and positioning technology to create maps for indoor navigation. This allows students to have accurate, turn-by-turn directions when searching for a specific location within a building.
MSU students take large strides in advancing technology for the ALS community. The team, consisting of Claire Kendell, Jessica Stevons, Sean Arnoldt, Don Gorton, Nicholas Boblet, and Brennan Koehler, sought to upgrade the original MSU SCATIR (Self-Calibrating Auditory Tone Infrared) Switch. The team was led and sponsered by Stephen Blosser, former RCPD employee.
Over the past month, the MSU IT Academic Technology team offered several webinars for educators that focused on accessibility. Of the nine webinars offered, three were accompanied or led by RCPD staff Leslie Johnson, Assistant Director of Assistive Technology, and Ashley Maloff, Chronic Health Ability Access Specialist.
In 2020, Tower Guard members were introduced to Impact Teams, which serve as smaller focus groups within the larger membership. Each team is dedicated to a specific area of service to the RCPD, giving Tower Guard members the opportunity to understand the depth of disability services in a better light. One team that stood out this year in terms of their accomplishments was the Assistive Technologies Impact Team.
The RCPD’s Braille Technology Advantage Program provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to read and learn with braille on MSU’s campus, with innovative efforts driving the ability for braille to be delivered to students wherever they may be located. Now thanks to the Canute 360, the world’s first multi-line braille e-reader, RCPD students are granted even more educational possibilities.
Freedom Scientific is the world’s leading assistive technology manufacturer for people who are blind or visually impaired. Home to the renowned JAWS (Job Access with Speech), a robust screen reading software, and the Focus 40 Blue, a compact refreshable braille display, Freedom Scientific empowers independence for people with disabilities around the world. Recently, RCPD Director Michael Hudson was interviewed during a podcast by Freedom Scientific’s Glen Gordon, the architect behind JAWS, discussing the resource center, his experience with being blind, and the Braille Technology Advantage Program.
The Accessible Learning Conference (ALC) at Michigan State University is annual event designed to provide a range of sessions exploring universally accessible courses, websites, and content. What began as a one-day “Making Learning Accessible Conference,” has transformed into a two-day commitment to student involvement and opportunity. With hundreds of attendees from various universities and educational organizations, ALC works to help students, faculty, and community members provide an accessible Spartan education.
On a campus known for accessibility innovation, Michigan State University’s College of Engineering is a longstanding partner with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). Working together, RCPD and Engineering faculty facilitate projects that inform students of universal design and the life-changing role that well-designed technology plays in providing access.
Michigan State University is an institution that strives for diversity and inclusion both at home and abroad.
With the help of the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities and an MSU Creating Inclusive Excellence Grant, one recent MSU graduate was able to contribute to these efforts by designing an improved method of teaching English to students with visual impairments. A recent MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) graduate and Columbian Fulbright scholar, Maritza Medina G. faced difficulties as a blind student when learning phonetics. She received a Tinker Field Research Grant from the MSU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and wanted to conduct her thesis research on phonetics through assistive technology’s universal design.
As RCPD Assistant Director for Assistive Technology Innovation, Leslie Johnson oversees an exciting opportunity to enhance the experiences of students, staff, and faculty on campus. Since taking on this role at the beginning of 2020, she has empowered new opportunities for MSU students and employees, using a wide range of technologies to maintain an accessible environment.
Every year for one week in June, Big Tech titan Apple Inc. hosts the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) showcasing new and innovative technologies for software developers of all skill levels. The event is a chance for attendees to gain early access to the future of iOS through diverse presentations delivered by Apple employees as well as hands-on experience with Apple engineers. One such engineer is Jordyn Castor, an MSU Alumna who began her career at Apple as an intern in 2015 shortly after receiving her undergraduate degree in Computer Science.
The Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities is pleased to announce a brand-new initiative launching Fall 2020: RCPD will provide electronic braille displays to incoming blind students who use braille at no cost to them – the first program of its kind at any university in the United States!
The RCPD is thrilled to announce a new iOS app called Munch. Designed at the RCPD in partnership with RHS and IPF to make dining at MSU simple, Munch can help you find food you want to eat, make informed decisions about what you eat, and connect with new friends along the way!
Each semester, students participate in the MSU College of Engineering’s Design Day, a celebration of their hard work and a chance for them to display their engineering projects as well as compete against each other for recognition.
The purpose of the RCPD is firmly centered on maximizing the opportunities at Michigan State for students of all abilities. In this spirit, we are working ardently to produce results with the help of a new grant. “The 2017-18 Creative Excellence Grant” supports our “Enhancing the Accessibility of Mathematics and Symbolic Content” initiative.
Michigan State’s campus is becoming more accessible for students with disabilities. Thanks to a collaboration between Recreation Sports and Fitness Services, the RCPD and MSU Bikes students are gaining more freedom and independence through accessible bikes called hand cycles.