Blind students compete in Technology Olympics (w/video)

Paden McDonald, 12, competed Friday in the first technology olympics held at the Region III Education Services Center. He aspires to be an inventor and help improve the technology used by the visually impaired.
  • To Learn More

  • To learn more about what services the state provides for blind or visually impaired students, visit the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services website or contact your local Division for Blind Services office. Find the center nearest you ...

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  • To Learn More

    To learn more about what services the state provides for blind or visually impaired students, visit the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services website or contact your local Division for Blind Services office. Find the center nearest you by calling 1-800-628-5115.

    Source: Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services

  • OLYMPIC GAME RESULTS

  • Here are the results of the Region III Education Service Center's Technology Olympic Games for the blind and visually impaired:

    iPad (beginning)

    • First - Katie Pratt

    • Second - Scott Appelt

    iPad (intermediate)

    • First - Asa Padilla

    • Second - Byron Powell

    ...
  • SHOW ALL »
  • OLYMPIC GAME RESULTS

    Here are the results of the Region III Education Service Center's Technology Olympic Games for the blind and visually impaired:

    iPad (beginning)

    • First - Katie Pratt

    • Second - Scott Appelt

    iPad (intermediate)

    • First - Asa Padilla

    • Second - Byron Powell

    Abacus (beginning)

    • First - Case Beken

    Abacus (intermediate)

    • First - Paden McDonald

    CCTV/video magnifier (beginning)

    • First - Ja'Liesha Nathaniel

    CCTV/video magnifier (intermediate)

    • First - Andrew Yeretsky

    • Second - Elias Lopez

    • Third - Stephanie Buesing and Jazmyne Williams

    Calculator (intermediate)

    • First - Amanda Ramos

    Lightbox (beginning)

    • First - Andrew Young

    Notetaker (beginning)

    • First - Case Beken and Paden McDonald

    Telescope

    • First - Stephanie Buesing

    • Second - Victor Garcia

    Magnifiers (beginning)

    • First - John Pawlik

    • Second - Felix Helveston

    Magnifiers (intermediate)

    • First - Amanda Ramos & Jazmyne Williams

    • Second - Victor Garcia

    iPadnonacademic (beginning)

    • First - Andrew Young

    • Second - La'Var Johnson

    iPad nonacademic (intermediate)

    • First - Andrew Yeretsky

    Braille writers (beginning)

    • First - Katie Pratt

    • Second - Kyle Curtis

    Braille writers (intermediate)

    • First - Asa Padilla

    Sequencing

    • First - Scott Appelt

    Source: Region III Education Resource Center

His eyes shifted left to right as Paden McDonald's fingers tapped the Braille keyboard inside the Region III Education Service Center.

McDonald was one of 19 competitors at the service center's first Technology Olympic Games for blind and visually impaired students from the 11 counties that Region III covers.

"It's awesome," said Paden, 12. "I've always been interested in technology."

The event began Friday morning to the beat of the Howell Middle School drum line and hoots from Howell cheerleaders.

Paden listened as Victoria Mayor Paul Polasek welcomed the participants and proclaimed Friday as Technology Olympics Day.

The state's Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Division for Blind Services, H-E-B, Wal-Mart, Papa Johns, the city of Victoria and Bad Boy Graphics of Corpus Christi donated resources to Region III to have the event, said Dina Rogers, Region III education specialist.

"It's been an exciting process, and we hope to do it again," said Rogers, whose department works with about 120 visually impaired and blind students. "We hope to see a bigger turnout next year."

Paden's face lit up when he realized one of his friends was also competing in the games.

"Hey, you doing all right?" Paden asked. "You still using your Apex?"

Socializing, along with being able to demonstrate skills using assistive technology devices, is one of the many perks of hosting an event for blind students in the Crossroads, Rogers said.

"This is like a UIL event for them," Rogers said. "They'll get awards at the end."

Paden inched his ear close to his keyboard, listening for an automated voice message. A black-and-white watch wrapped around his wrist.

At the click of a button, a voice from his watch reads Paden the time and date.

Paden said he hopes to become an inventor of new Braille technology after graduating high school.

"I've already started writing the instruction manual for what I'm going to make," Paden said. "I want to make a watch with a refreshable Braille display."