Accessibility

Topics: Blindness, Screen reader, VoiceOver Pages: 6 (2456 words) Published: July 23, 2013
Accessibility can be described as the ability to access or benefit from a system. It is the way in which a product, service, or device, is made to be available to the many people using it. Georgia Academy for the Blind is a school in which provides services to children and youth whom are visually impaired or suffering from other disabilities. The school uses an assortment of technology services for those students who are visually impaired such as, Braille Note takers and keystone products to aide students. One of the students’s who attends the school named Malik, showed many things he can do with the products which was quite interesting. I loved the fact that he was also so passionate about his music and the way he was still able to make beats. I’m a music lover myself and it’s amazing how he didn’t let his impaired vision disrupt his dream.

The school gives students the will power and the knowledge to go out and do things and to not feel sorry for themselves. Malik took charge during the video by showing the group how he uses the technology. He’s a very intelligent young man and his teacher even shared how smart and passionate about school Malik is. In the video Malik showed the different games he was also able to play. The games didn’t include any graphics, but it did include sounds and from Malik’s perspective it didn’t make a difference and he was still able to play all the while knowing there weren’t any graphics.

Screen readers were also mentioned in the video and the one in which the school uses is called JAWS. JAWS for Windows is a Screen Reading Software that was developed by Freedom Scientific which is the largest worldwide manufacturer of assistive technology products for people who are blind or have low vision. JAWS is the most popular screen reader. It reads out loud what’s on the computer screen and also gives the user a unique set of tools for navigating through sites and accessing Web pages. JAWS is compatible with Microsoft Office, MSN Messenger, WordPerfect, Adobe Reader, FireFox, and many other applications that people use on an everyday basis. JAWS also provides Braille support which means that if someone wants Braille output instead of speech then the product would be able to deliver that service to the user.

Student’s with low vision love the larger monitors, but the teacher in the video mentioned that some teachers don’t quite like the large pull down screens because they haven’t gotten use to them yet.

During the video, a female teacher at the school described how excited everyone was about getting the textbooks required for each class on CD’s. She showed a copy of one of the textbooks and I had no idea each Braille book has its own volume. I was very shocked to see and hear that whenever they reached a certain chapter or lesson in the book then they would have to get another book with the next couple of chapters. I couldn’t imagine carrying four or five big books like that to class and having to switch out of the book every few weeks. I remember when I was in school and almost every textbook came with a CD in the back of it. The CD’s back then didn’t come with a voice over for each chapter but they did include other learning technologies that as students we were able to access. Some of my college textbooks now have CD’s in the back that you can access learning games like word puzzles or videos that describe certain portions of the lesson.

The school also teaches keyboarding for students with low vision. Many people are familiar with the home row and like the teacher said in the video many of us can type many words with our eyes closed because we have taken keyboarding classes. I remember taking keyboarding classes a while back and we were required to type with our keyboard pushed all the way in so that we couldn’t see the keys. In the beginning I was skeptical, but after doing it for so long I got used to it. I guess that would be the same way people with low vision would perceive...

Cited: Accessibility. http://www.apple.com/accessibility/iphone/vision.html. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
Blindness. http://www.humanware.com/en-usa/products/blindness/braillenotes.Retrieved April 21, 2013.
JAWS for Windows Screen Reading Software. http://www.freedomscientific.com/products/fs/ JAWS-product-page.asp. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
What is the National Federation of the Blind?. https://nfb.org/who-we-are. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
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