TRI Welcomes Mike Bicknell to the National Center on Deaf-Blindness


Research to Practice • Practice to Research

TRI Welcomes Mike Bicknell to the National Center on Deaf-Blindness

Posted on February 3, 2017

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In January, Mike Bicknell accepted a position at the National Center on Deaf-Blindness as a Technology Specialist. He agreed to share a little about himself with us.

Mike Bicknell, wearing a black T-shirt, stands in front of a background of trees and vines in front of a cream-colored stone house.

I was fortunate to start my technology career in 2007 with the Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired Outreach Programs in Austin. I am now thankful for Superintendent Bill Daugherty’s mandate to make all products accessible, as the acquisition of these skills helped to clarify my personal work mission and helped me to become a lifelong advocate for making information accessible, user-friendly, and available for all. I am equally indebted to TSBVI Outreach Director Cyral Miller and her band of merry and mischievous employees, including the consultants and assistants in the Texas Deafblind Project. Spending nearly 7 years with this bunch of creative, smart, and dedicated individuals allowed my fellow media producers and me the chance to create and to disseminate accessible videos, websites, and more for parents, teachers, TVIs, and others to access online for free at their convenience.

I am also indebted to the many good people I worked alongside at the Washington State School for the Blind from 2014-2016. This position as the Digital Research and Development Coordinator allowed me, among other things, to witness the benefit of a distance learning program for students, particularly for braille readers and auditory learners. We enrolled students in classes from middle school math to pre-calculus in Alaska, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. The superintendent and my predecessor had the foresight to champion this program, one that was unique in the nation.

Prior to my role as a technology specialist, I worked at TSBVI with students in the dorms, as a Weekends Home transportation aide, as the Weekends Home Coordinator, and a brief stint as a teaching assistant. I was particularly influenced by the program set-up by Residential Director Garner Vogt and many others whom supported staff in learning how to work with visually impaired students with multiple disabilities.

Aside from my work at schools for the blind, I am a professional photographer, who works in the photojournalistic style. I also love to create documentary and oral history projects that educate and illuminate the under-told stories that grip people’s lives. In my mind, these worlds are not so distant from the orbit of education, thus my interest in both. My B.A. is in History with a minor in Sociology. My M.A. is in Journalism with an emphasis on Photojournalism and Film. Both degrees were earned from the University of Texas at Austin. As you might expect, my education continues online and in books, with the assistance of co-workers, with the help of family and friends, and from travel and reflection.

Welcome to TRI, Mike!

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