Dr. Manju Banerjee of Landmark College Gives Keynote at Columbia University
By Lydia Liebman
Recently, Columbia University School of Social Work presented the enlightening Assistive Technology Seminar. The daylong affair included various breakout sessions associated with disability services as well as a keynote address delivered by Dr. Manju Banerjee.
The first round of breakout sessions featured a lively discussion led by Andrew Cioffi, Assistant Director of Disability Services at Suffolk University entitled “Accessible Course Content: Charting New Territory (and bringing others with us), as well as a presentation entitled “Ditching the Old Fashion Pen and Pencil: Note-taking in a Digital Age”” led by Columbia University Learning Specialist Sandra Gomez and Reginald Coupet, who is a Disability Accommodations Specialist at Baruch college CUNY Assistive Technology Series. The final breakout session, “Best Practices for Compliance and Accommodations in the Digital Learning Environment”, was presented by civil rights attorney Salome Heyward. With over 35 years of experience, Heyward is considered a leader in her field and is frequently sought out to give guidance on issues relating to disabilities.
The second set of breakout sessions tackled more issues relating to disability services including an “Ask the Experts” Panel with Stacy Pommer, Health System Specialist in the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Academic Affiliations, Columbia graduate Matthew Shore, Lehman College graduate William Medina and Mailman School of Public Health doctoral student Brennan Rhodes. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Loring Brinckerhoff, who is a nationally recognized authority on learning disabilities and ADHD. 3Play Media founder Josh Miller presented “Navigating Captioning: Out of the Living Room and into the Classroom” and Dr. Manju Banerjee presented a compelling program on apps that are helpful for those with learning disabilities in “Know Your Apps: Rubrics for Evaluating Apps Using Universal Design Principles.
Dr. Banerjee expanded upon the topic during the keynote address entitled “Assessing Student Competency and Disposition Towards Access Technologies.” A 29 year veteran in the field of learning disabilities, Dr. Banerjee is the Vice President of Educational Research and Innovation and Director of Landmark College Institute for Research and Training. In her keynote address, Dr. Banerjee highlighted the prominence of technology in today’s modern classroom and how many classrooms fail to adapt these technologies to students with learning disabilities and ADHD. She discussed the various methods that can be used to assess student skills, disposition and “tech match”. Her informative presentation highlighted many useful apps and tools. In a particularly interesting segment, Dr. Banejeree showed various “hacks” of Adobe Reader that could be of assistance to students with LD including the abilities to embed sound recordings.
The day finished with a final round of breakout sessions that included another “Ask the Experts” panel, this time with various Assistive Technology experts including Kelvin Mahabir of Columbia University, Shivan Mahabir, manager for CUNY Assistive Technology Services and the Media Accessibility Project, Jill Roter of NYU SPS’s Center for Academic Excellence and Support, Athanasia Kalaitzidis, lead captionist for the Media Accessibility Project and Andrew Cioffi. Also presented was “Technology, Internet Addiction and College Students” by Sean X. Luo M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Luo is a board certified psychiatrist and researcher with his own private practice/consultancy located in Manhattan. #