Science for Students who are Blind or Vision Impaired

This workshop is for students! It will provide hands-on training for how talking scientific data collection devices can work in the science laboratory for students who are Blind or Vision Impaired.


  • Tuesday, 3 September, 2019
    4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Course Code:   CPE19SSTEM

Course Information

This workshop has been designed for students! It will provide hands-on training for how talking scientific data collection devices can work in the science laboratory. How this technology can be used for both science laboratory classroom use, but also in research experiences will be discussed. All participants will have the opportunity to conduct at least one science experiment under sleep shades if requested to experience how non-visual access to scientific data collection can be conducted. The importance of fully understanding the limitations of the talking science data loggers is just as important as knowing how it works. This will allow students with visual impairments to informatively delegate tasks they cannot do to other laboratory group team members. Information about how to acquire these talking tools will be presented upon the conclusion of the workshop if requested.

Feedback on possible new features will be collected and considered for future releases of the scientific data collection software. The importance of the relationship between the science teacher, teacher of the visually impaired, and the student with a visual impairment will be presented. It is this synergistic relationship that will help to promote a hands-on science learning experience for the student with a visual impairment.

This event is suitable for senior primary and secondary school students, their parents and teachers. The workshop will be held in the science laboratory at the RIDBC Thomas Pattison School. There is parking outside the school (use the drop off zone parking as school will have ended).


  • Cary Supalo
    I am the president and founder of Independence Science: a small assistive technology and accessibility consulting firm based out of the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Indiana. My mission is to alter the societal paradigm of STEM education for students with disabilities by promoting hands-on science learning for all learners. We currently collaborate with partners such as Vernier Software & Technology to develop the next generation of talking and audible science laboratory tools which promote multisensory hands-on learning experiences for students with print disabilities. I seek to work with educators, researchers and organizations all over the world that believe in the core emancipatory philosophy of empowering individuals through an equitable education. My academic research interests include: the impact of text-to-speech scaffoldings on the learning experience of students with print disabilities; the positionality of special needs education in STEM teacher education and global education policies; the impact of 21st century learning policies and practices on students populations with print disabilities; assessment, curriculum development and modification for the science laboratory in the area of special needs learners at the secondary and post-secondary levels. I am active within the print-disabled community at both the local and global level. Currently, I serve as chair of the chemistry subcommittee of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) and also serve on the chemists with disabilities committee for the American Chemical Society.



361-365 North Rocks Road, North Rocks, New South Wales, 2151, Australia


North Rocks, Sydney, Australia

Sydney is located on Australia’s south-east coast. With an approximate population of 4.5 million in the Sydney metropolitan area the city is the largest municipality in Australia. Sydney is easily accessible by air, rail and road networks from other Australian cities.

Located approximately 26 km north-west of the city centre, Renwick Centre is accessible via private and public transport to metropolitan areas such as Epping, Parramatta, Hornsby and the city.

North Rocks is a suburban area of Sydney and is the home of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children since 1961.

Public Transport

There are several public transport options for getting to and from the Renwick Centre within the Sydney metropolitan area.


Cityrail train stations are located in Epping (6 km away) and Parramatta (7km away) and have connecting bus services (refer to Buses section below) to the Centre.

Epping train station is on the Northern, Newcastle and Central Coast lines with a journey time of approximately 30 minutes to the city (Central, Town Hall and Wynyard stations) and 20 minutes to Strathfield or Hornsby stations.

Parramatta train station offers frequent services to the city (about 40 minutes of travel time) and is located on the Western, Cumberland and Blue Mountains lines.

Both stations are wheelchair accessible.


There is a bus stop directly outside the RIDBC campus – services to Epping and Macquarie Centre – and another across the road outside the Westfield Shopping Centre for services to Parramatta and Blacktown. For latest info on these routes, please visit the Sydney Buses website.

Route Destination Wheelchair Accessible
549 Epping Most
546 Epping via Carlingford Most
546/549 Parramatta Most
630 Macquarie Centre No
630 Blacktown No
610/619* City Few
610/619* Rouse Hill Few

* Access to these bus services is from the M2 motorway at Barclay Road bus stop, a 20 minute walk (1.4 km) from the Centre.

Sydney Airport

Sydney Airport has domestic and international terminals and is approximately 35 km south-east of the Renwick Centre.

Cityrail train stations are located within the domestic and international terminals. To get to the centre, you will need to change trains at Central to an Epping or Parramatta service and then either take a taxi or bus the remaining distance to the centre. Journey time by public transport is approximately 90-120 minutes.


Companies providing a taxi service in the Sydney area include Premier Cabs (Phone: 13 10 17), Silver Service (Phone: 133 100), Taxis Combined (Phone: 8332 8888) and RSL Cabs (Phone: 132 211).


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