Making Classroom Materials More Inclusive for the Visually Impaired
This year, the SD8 International Program was fortunate to host a Grade 12 student from Italy at LV Rogers Secondary School (LVR). The student is blind, so the first job of SD8 staff was to prepare teachers with tools they needed to make the student’s educational materials accessible.
As luck would have it, this past September SD8 teachers were also invited to attend an Inclusive Design workshop presented by the Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI). Jennifer Matosevic, who teaches at both Mount Sentinel and LVR was one of 20 teachers who attended the workshop.
While teachers sometimes rely on Educational Assistants for adapting and digitizing print materials, Matosevic decided to do it herself.
“I didn’t feel like I was doing anything extra. I felt like I was doing what was needed for my student,” Matosevic said.
“[The Inclusive Design workshop] was the starting point and I really built off of that to work on making my documents accessible.”
Her efforts to create a fully inclusive curriculum did not go unnoticed. In February, Matosevic was asked to present her experience at a workshop for braille transcribers.
“Our team at PRCVI was so grateful to have Jennifer join our 'From Print to Digital' session for braille transcribers. Her insights and experiences in creating more accessible digital learning materials for students were both refreshing and inspiring to this group of professionals whose work centres on ensuring meaningful access for visually impaired learners,” said Adam Wilton, Manager of PRCVI.
Matosevic was then asked to give one piece of advice to classroom teachers.
“Collaboration is key. Ensure that whatever you are making is tailored for that student and reach out for resources and collaborate with the Teachers of the Visually Impaired.”
Matosevic has a background in Music Education, Social Studies and Science and teaches Music, Law 12 and Psychology 12 at LVR.
Note: an earlier version of this article published on February 15 contained several errors that have been corrected here.