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Register now for the POSB Math and Science Institute!

Sunday, April 2nd 

 6:00-7:00 PM

Happy hour hosted by the Crowne Plaza Hotel


Monday - April 3rd

8:30-8:45 AM


8:45-9:45 AM


Do the Math: Effective Accommodations and Tools + Accessible Educational Materials = Opportunity to Succeed

Jan McSorley, Vice President of Accessibility, Psychometrics and Testing Services, Pearson, Austin, TX

Have you ever found yourself wondering why many of our politicians and policy makers seem surprised when students with disabilities don't perform well on grade-level standardized assessments?  These are usually the same people who think that inclusion just means that we have to put students with disabilities into the same physical classrooms as students without disabilities and then magically everything will fall into place.  If we would just decrease the number of students in special education and put more students into general education classrooms with high expectations, somehow the Fairy Godmother of Education would wave her wand and the effects of years of inequity in instruction and a lack of access to equally effective educational materials would magically disappear.

Unfortunately, accessibility and equally effective access to the general curriculum are not fairy tales.  They are the law, but that doesn't mean they are easy to bring to fruition. Equally effective access to the general curriculum is exponentially complicated by the fact that educational materials are moving in droves to digital formats.  This is especially true for STEM education.  We are literally living in the Wild West of the Digital Age where anyone can be a content creator without any understanding of students with disabilities, the laws that protect them or the tools they use for accessing digital content.

Fortunately, the 2017 POSB conference is being held in Texas, the home of the Texas Rangers who are arguably the greatest law enforcement agency in the world. We will use their historic example of strength and tenacity to learn how each of us has the capacity to stand our ground and fight for equally effective access to education.  Students with disabilities have the right to overcome the effects of their disabilities and pursue opportunities alongside their peers.  To bring this right to fruition, we all need to do our part, even when we are up against very difficult and entrenched obstacles.  Texas Rangers are known for succeeding against great odds and we can do the same.  We just need to arm ourselves with the facts and stand together with students and parents to demonstrate how accessibility adds value and supports personalized learning for everyone.

9:45-10:15 AM

Break and Vendor exhibits 

10:15-11:15 AM

Breakout Session 1

Nemeth at a Glance: A Math Resource, Grade-Level Chart, and Evaluation Tool

Maylene Bird, Math Instructor, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX,

Jeri Cleveland, Curriculum Teacher, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX, and

Susan Osterhaus, Math Consultant, TSBVI Outreach Programs, Austin, TX

Presenters will introduce a new Nemeth support booklet that contains a Nemeth symbols chart that is arranged by grade level, a companion testing protocol, sample problems by grade level, and other resources supporting tactile math instruction. The protocol allows teachers to gather accurate data for IEP planning and instruction.

Shifting Paradigms, Emerging Standards, and the Evolution of the Notetaker: the Future is Now!

Dave Wilkinson, National Education Manager, HIMS, Austin, TX

HIMS will demonstrate fully accessible mainstream apps including Office for Polaris. We will show how our combination of accessible mainstream apps in a notetaker setting will exponentially expand the realm of possibilities for today's blind student without sacrificing core principles such as proper entering, displaying and printing of mathematics and science symbols.

11:15-11:30 AM

Transition to next session

11:30-12:30 PM

Breakout Session 2

Curriculum for Teaching Students the Nemeth Braille Code: Making it Fun, Easy, and Meaningful

Dr. Tina Herzberg, Associate Professor, University of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg, SC,

Sara Larkin, Math Consultant, Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Vinton, IA, and

Susan Osterhaus, Math Consultant, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired Outreach Programs, Austin, TX

The presentation will begin with an overview of the Nemeth Code Curriculum that has been written to date. This curriculum includes lots of hands on activities and games for younger students and a searchable database complete with examples for older students. Bring your computers and let's get excited about Nemeth!!

Donum Visi: Tiny Tools, Shiny Schools 

Manasa Hari Bhimaraju, Vice President, Donum Visi and 

Divija Bhimaraju, President and Founder, Donum Visi

We want to introduce the audience to various tools, including: The Elementor to teach the periodic table, an iPad brain teaser game, and The Medicine Management Kit to assist in taking and monitoring medicines. We also want to provide insight into our nonprofit organization's efforts exploring new ways of learning for the visually impaired.

12:30-1:30 PM

Lunch provided on the TSBVI Campus

1:30-2:30 PM

Breakout Session 3

Preparation of teachers of children with visual impairments: What is missing?

Dr. Robert Wall Emerson, Professor, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI and

Dr. Dawn Anderson, Assistant Professor, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

Two university professors who train teachers of the visually impaired (TVIs) engage in a conversation with the audience about how prepared new TVIs are to adapt math and science for students with visual impairment, and what areas need improvement.

Optimizing Braille Efficiency in the Math and Science Classrooms with the BrailleNote Touch

Greg Stilson, Product Manager, HumanWare, Champlain, NY

Attendees of this session will be introduced to the BrailleNote Touch and will learn three accessibility techniques it uses to make access to mainstream content more efficient.  Participants will also witness how the new math translation functionality offers students a smooth math braille to print experience with their sighted classroom teachers. 

2:30-3:00 PM

Break and Vendor exhibits continue

3:00-4:00 PM

Breakout Session 4

Upcoming Products in Math

Dr. Li Zhou, Core-Curriculum Project Leader II, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Attendees of this presentation will gain detailed information about several upcoming math products from American Printing House for the Blind. Their comments and suggestions toward product development will be appreciated.

New Science Products From APH

Dr. Rosanne Hoffman, STEM Project Leader, American Printing House for the Blind

The DNA-RNA Kit and its new sister product, the Protein Synthesis Kit, will be demonstrated along with tips on how to use these products in the classroom. The SALS (Submersible Audible Light Sensor) App, accessible with an iPhone or android device, will be presented along with other APH science products, if time permits.

4:15-5:15 PM

Tour of TSBVI Campus

For Institute participants who would like to see a little bit more of the Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired campus, this optional tour will begin in the Foyer area of the James C. Durkel Conference Center in Building 605. Groups will have an opportunity to visit with TSBVI Math and Science teachers in their classrooms as part of this tour. 


Tuesday, April 4th

8:30-9:15 AM

Welcome and Breaking Barriers: Mathematics Made Easy - A Project of ICEVI with the support of The Nippon Foundation

Dr. Mani Malla Nanja Gowder, CEO, International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI), Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

The goal of this project is to contribute to the worldwide improvement of mathematics education by developing a set of accessible multi-media instructional materials designed to assist teachers of children and youth with visual impairments. These materials will adapt and present key concepts that are commonly agreed to be difficult to learn.

9:15-9:30 AM

Transition to next session.

9:30-10:30 AM

Breakout Session 5

Using Advanced Technologies to Read and Write Math

Dr. Derrick Smith, Associate Professor and Chair, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Madison, AL

This presentation will demonstrate the MathHear software and its uses for writing mathematical syntax for students with visual impairments and blindness. Uses for the software will focus on its ability to be used for local and distance education for students with visual impairments.

Quick and Easy Adaptations for teaching science concepts: Wikki Stix and more!

Kate Fraser, Science Teacher, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA

You are in your class room when you realize that a couple of your students are struggling to understand a concept. You have no time to prepare a tactile graphic, and no 3-D model is available. What materials do you have on hand to help you out ? Or your students want to show you their understanding of a concept. How can they do that without writing something?

10:30-11:00 AM

Break and Vendor exhibits continue

11:00-12:00 PM

Breakout Session 6

inTACT Worksheets for Interactive Math Exercises

Joshua Coffee, President, E.A.S.Y. Tactile Graphics, Burlington, VT and

Dr. Michael Coleman, Vice President, E.A.S.Y. Tactile Graphics, Burlington, VT

The presenters will showcase brand new interactive tactile worksheets for Algebra, Geometry and other k-12 Mathematics courses. The inTACT Worksheets are the first ever interactive tactile graphics for B/LV students. These exercises allow students to interact with their tactile graphics by drawing on and annotating them to complete the assignment. 

Accessible Science - Perkins Accessible Science Curriculum and Website

Kate Fraser, Science Teacher, website and curriculum author, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA  and 

Laura Hospitál, Perkins Accessible Science Website Moderator, Perkins School For The Blind, Watertown,MA

Students learn science best when the concepts are presented in a way that involves as many senses as possible. In this presentation, participants will learn about activities that work well for all students both in special needs classrooms and in the mainstream.  The presentation will focus on the new Perkins Science Curriculum and the Perkins Accessible Science Website.  The website includes a wealth of information on accessible science resources as well as lesson plans, related blogs, Q&A, etc. In this session, participants will be introduced to the site and given the opportunity to sign up for the site. The curriculum provides a variety of activities that teachers can use to to teach science concepts skills to student with visual impairments.

12:00-1:00 PM

Lunch provided on campus.

1:00-2:00 PM

Breakout Session 7

Online Dynamic Accessible Math

Sam Dooley, Pearson, Software Development Manager, Albuquerque, NM and

Dan Brown, Sr. QA Engineer, Blindness Technologies, Pearson, Pflugerville, TX

We present recent advances in the Pearson Accessible Equation Editor, a software tool that supports real-time translation between printed math notation and online Nemeth braille output. Braille input and output of mathematical expressions within surrounding online text, and speech input and output for online dynamic math is also supported.

inTACT Worksheets for Interactive Science Exercises

Joshua Coffee, President, E.A.S.Y. Tactile Graphics, Burlington, VT and

Dr. Michael Coleman, Vice President, E.A.S.Y. Tactile Graphics, Burlington, VT

The presenters will showcase brand new interactive tactile worksheets for Chemistry, Physics and other k-12 Science courses. The inTACT Worksheets are the first ever interactive tactile graphics for B/LV students. These exercises allow students to interact with their tactile graphics by drawing on and annotating them to complete the assignment.

2:00-2:15 PM

Transition to next session.

2:15-3:15 PM

Breakout Session 8

Breaking Boundaries in Tactile Graphics - The Graphiti™

Ken Perry, Programmer III, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY,  

Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY,

Venkatesh Chari, Orbit Research, Wilmington, DE

Graphiti™ is a dynamic tactile touch display that allows students and adults to access a wide variety of on-screen graphics by touch. Graphiti's breakthrough Tactuator™ technology allows graphics to be depicted by means of an array of variable-height pins.

BVI student access to the STEM education pipeline: Mental imagery, working memory, and mathematical visualizations of congenitally blind students in Calculus

Nell Wackwitz, Doctoral Research and Teaching Assistant, Texas State University Mathematics Department, New Braunfels, TX

This study aims (1) to increase access for every blind and visually impaired (BVI) student to the STEM fields, and (2) to assist secondary and post secondary mathematics instructors ability to understand how BVI students learn and process highly visual mathematics.

3:15-3:45 PM

Break and Vendor exhibits continue

3:45-4:45 PM

Breakout Session 9

How to Make 3-D Geometry Problems and Concepts Accessible for Students who are Visually Impaired

Dr. Aniceta Skowron, Founder, Geometro, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada

Discover new ways to make typical geometry problems accessible for students with visual impairments. Learn how to make distances in solids touchable and how to build triangles to solve typical problems. Measure and compare volume, decompose solids to nets and learn how to help  students with visual impairments understand 2-D tactile drawings.

Into the Stratosphere with NASA's Airborne Astronomy Ambassador program aboard SOFIA

Jeff Killebrew, Science Instructor, New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Alamogordo, NM

Climb aboard NASA's SOFIA aircraft to explore the universe in infrared and learn about NASA's Airborne Astronomy Ambassador program. NMSBVI's Jeff Killebrew – the nation's first TVI selected as a NASA SOFIA Airborne Astronomy Ambassador will take you on his mission aboard SOFIA to see the invisible universe.

Wednesday, April 5th

9:00-10:15 AM

Keynote – Cracker-barrel: Issues and Answers in Math and Science

Please join us for this rare opportunity for teachers and product developers to meet to discuss issues in Math and Science and to look for answers to the challenges in teaching these subjects to students who are blind or visually impaired.  We will end this session by announcing the location and date for the 2019 POSB Math and Science Institute!

10:15-10:30 AM

Break and Vendor exhibits continue

10:30 AM 

Bus leaves for San Antonio

Participants who are using our bus service to travel to San Antonio for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics 2017 Annual Meeting and Exposition will depart from the Foyer area of the James C. Durkel Conference Center.