Professionals

Creating Accessible Books Using Pages

Emerging readers should have access to fun digital books - just like their peers! The books can be read aloud to the student, the student can listen to the book using VoiceOver, or the student can read the book using a refreshable braille display (with or without VoiceOver announcing the text). For emerging readers, the image description or an auditory clip can provide hints - just like the images provide hints to students with vision - about the text on the page. Emerging readers love books with repetitive or predictable phrases.

Google Classroom using NVDA/JAWS Part 3

Google Classroom is a free service which teachers use to send assignments, communicate with students and to monitor individual student progress. In one month (March - April, 2020) Google Classroom users doubled to over 100 million users as schools began to shut down due to COVID-19. With remote instruction, online classes, and hybrid classes, many students with visual impairments are also using or learning to use Google Classroom to access their coursework - including students who rely on NVDA or JAWS.

Introducing the Keyboard - CVI Lesson and Tips

This lesson can be adapted to any age group from about five years and above. You will see this in many of my lessons, why, because this is a tool, use it to fit your needs. It is a jumping off point to develop many lessons/units as needed. 

Note: This lesson introduces the keyboard using the free typing club kids on-line called Jungle Junior Typing Club with a Bluetooth keyboard.

I have researched many keyboarding programs and found these to be the best for us: 

Battle of the Tools!

A creative TVI, Mallory Carr, shares how she engaged her dual media learner in the conversation about using tools in class and the benefits of these tools. In this mini learning media activity, the student compared how fast she could complete similar 2-digital math problems using two tools: the abacus vs. paper (and pencil).

Editor's Note: This same activity can be adapted to compare any two classroom tools!

White Cane Day!

On October 15, 1964, White Cane Day became a national observation in the United States to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired. White Cane Day also brings awareness to motorists to identify and yield to people using a white cane or guide dog.

So, what do students think about the white cane? Jessica McDowell, TVI and O&M, shared that she recently gave a first grader a long cane and the student's response was, "This is amazing!" This inspired Jessica to write the following poem:

ObjectiveEd: Auditory Awareness

The ability to localize sound is a critical skill for orientation and mobility students. ObjectiveEd has created a fun game to teach auditory awareness and localization - Audio Astroid! this game should be played with stereo headphones or ear buds in order to hear the directional sounds. For added fun, the student can sit in a swivel chair to spin and face the approaching astroids!

In the ObjectiveEd whiteboard video below, Sara and her student Jose, demonstrate how the Audio Astroid game is used in hybrid O&M scenario.

Google Classroom Using NVDA/JAWS Part 2

This video tutorial series provides step-by-step instruction on how to navigate and use Google Classroom with NVDA or JAWS. In the Part 1: Google Classroom post, April Bahl (SixDotMath) shared:

  • Video 1: How to Join a Classroom
  • Video 2: Classroom Overview
  • Video 3: Dealing with Pop-Ups
  • Video 4: Classroom Dashboard

This post will share the next three videos, covering the three tabs in a class: Stream Tab, Classwork Tab and the Class People Tab.

BrailleBuzz App Review

Teachers are buzzing about APH's new beginning braille letter app, BrailleBuzz! This is a sister app to the popular stand-alone BrailleBuzz toy. Both games include exploring braille letters and hearing either the braille letter dot combinations or hearing the letter sounds (phonics). Both games have the 6-key Perkins style keyboard to input braille letters. The BrailleBuzz app goes a step farther as it can be paired with a braille display enabling students to feel the braille letters as select or type a letter!

Access and Engagement Survey Results

The Access and Engagement Survey examined the impact of COVID-19 on the education of students birth-21 with visual impairments, their families, and professionals in the United States and Canada in the spring of 2020. While led by Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum (Director of Research at the American Foundation for the Blind), there were 10 authors (representing 8 different entities) and 20 organizations and companies that collaborated on this project - which led to an amazing 1,432 usable responses!

ObjectiveEd: Assistive Technology

A common IEP tech goal for beginner VoiceOver users is to learn how to make the VoiceOver gestures. In this whiteboard video, ObjectiveEd explains how two of their games, Speed Gesture and Simon can be used to teach VoiceOver gestures during hybrid lessons. TVI's can quickly and easily monitor the student's progress through the ObjectiveEd Dashboard.

Sara and Kamal demonstrate the Speed Gesture game in the video below:

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