January 19, 2023

Blind teen uses #techforgood to pursue his passions

A blind teen in Murray, Utah is changing the way we look at tech. Maddox Hagemann is legally blind but isn’t letting his disability get in the way of his passions. With the help of his teacher, Jenny Hooper, and a special technology called BrailleNote, he is writing a book with his favorite jokes from the internet

“What did the ocean say to the shore? Nothing. It just waved.” This is just one example of the many jokes that Hagemann shares with his readers and friends who are learning braille too. Not only is he a teenage author, but he’s inspiring others around the country. 

Read on to see how Maddox is using #techforgood. 

Tell me more 

Maddox, a student success story, is writing his book of jokes using the platform BrailleNote. This technology also allows him to use Word, Google Docs, and even email to learn, connect with his classmates, and share his humor. This tech is enabling the high school sophomore to engage in his classes and participate at an even deeper level. 

Sharing humor is something that Maddox is passionate about. When asked about the jokes that he is compiling in his book, he said, “Some of them are funny. Some of them are a little bit cheesy.” Whether the jokes are cheesy or clever, Maddox’s positive attitude and initiative to spread joy and laughter are great examples of how to play to your core and use tech for good.

Maddox, who has a rare condition that will continually make his vision worse over time, started learning braille when he was only 10 years old.

“He’ll share the book of jokes with some of his friends who are also learning braille. It’s challenging, but a little humor can go a long way,” Mike Anderson from KSLTV shared in an interview. 

TSI’s Take

We often take the little things for granted, such as being able to see and share stories and jokes with friends and family. Maddox reminds us of the power of technology and how when we use it for good, we can change the lives of others and the world around us. 

When we use tech for good, we are using it in high-character ways and to promote positivity. Here are 5 examples of how you can encourage your own students to use technology for good: 

  1. Show your appreciation 
    • A phone call or text message showing your appreciation can go a long way! Send a message to a friend, family member, or someone you know and let them know that you are thinking of them.  
  2. Send someone a playlist or song that reminds you of them 
    • We all know a song that reminds us of a friend or family member. Find and share a playlist, music video on YouTube, or a poem that makes you think of someone. 
  3. Share good news 
    • Find an article, social media post, or news story online that inspires you and share it with your friends! 
  4. Bonus: Be kind to yourself! 
    • Being kind to ourselves and our bodies is just as important as being kind to others. We can prioritize our own well-being and mental health by limiting screen time, doing activities that make us feel good, and spending time with those we love.

Find out how you can empower your students to use tech for good by checking out how the Epstein School did in our case study.

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The Social Institute (TSI) is the leader in understanding student experiences and creator of #WinAtSocial, a gamified, online learning platform that equips students, educators, and families to navigate social experiences — online and offline — in healthy ways. Our unique, student-respected approach incorporates topics like social media, technology use, and current events that have a significant impact on student well-being. Lessons teach life skills for the modern day to inspire high-character decisions that support the health, happiness, and future success of students, while capturing data that provides insights to school leaders to inform school policy and communications, and enable high-impact teaching and a healthy learning environment. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities.