Winter Wrap-Up, Episode 2

Overcoming adversity in the science classroom: A conversation with Joe McCormick

In this episode, Eric sits down with Joe McCormick, director of engineering at SplitSpot. Joe shares about the experience of losing his central vision in high school and the transition into college at Harvard. Eric and Joe chat about self-advocacy within the classroom, and scaffolds that worked for Joe as he learned how to navigate the world with his disability. Eric also learns about beep baseball, the adapted national pastime for the blind and visually impaired, and the importance of its community in Joe’s journey to become an engineer. Lastly, Joe talks about accessibility tools, college acceptance, and how to motivate students to love computer science.

Meet our guest(s):

Joe McCormick

Joe McCormick is the Director of Engineering at SplitSpot. In his senior year of high school, Joe started to lose his vision due to a rare genetic condition, Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). Rather than letting that stop him, Joe went on to study Computer Science at Harvard University, advocating for the support he needed. Joe is heavily involved in beep baseball, an adapted national pastime for the blind and visually impaired. He currently plays for the Boston Renegades in his spare time. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and son.

Meet our host: Eric Cross

Eric Cross is a seventh grade science/technology teacher, grade level lead, and digital learning innovator for Albert Einstein Academies, International Baccalaureate schools. He is also an adjunct professor of learning and technology at the University of San Diego and a Google certified innovator. Eric earned a bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific University and a Master of Education from the University of San Diego. He had 17 years of experience working with at-risk youth and underserved populations before becoming a middle school teacher. By building relationships with students, colleagues, and the community, he has become an empowered leader in and out of the classroom. Through meaningful learning experiences centered around student agency, STEM has become accessible to students through highly engaging lesson design, thoughtful integration of digital tools, and culturally relevant pedagogy.

Transcripts and additional resources

Show notes:


Being disabled, it’s like trying to find someway to be flexible and find some workaround, because there’s always some way to get there, it’s just going to be a little bit different and little out of the box. - Joe McCormick