How many out there are in school districts where a smart board or  Promethean board with flipcharts are used? These are graphic pictures that anyone with sight can easily see, but to a blind student, it is empty space. Many paraeducators have to take the pictures and turn them into text or braille for the blind student to read. There is the long way to do this, typing one character at a time ( as you cannot copy the images)  or a fast way.

Here is the fast way. You can download a personal  viewer from the company to load on your machine. Open the viewer then the flipchart, go to file, then to print. When the print box opens, you will see the "export as PDF" so save it as such. Place a folder on the desktop with these PDF files, so they are easy to find, especially if you are going to teach the blind student how to do this, and after all, that is what we want. Open Openbook or Kurzweil and go to open file. Go find the file on your desktop and have your OCR program open it. After it opens, go to launch it into Word and it opens in Word. All the great text is there. Now be aware, all those pictures will not translate…they will turn out as a list of letters and symbols, so just go through and delete out what was meant for a picture. Now, all that needs to be done is those pictures are created 3-D by the para to go with this work.

One huge advantage I have discovered is on test day, the students can use their notes. If the flipcharts are in text format, then the blind student can do a quick "find" command on their computer and jump to the theorem they need ….actually faster than a sighted student pouring through their notes visually. Once they have the theorem, they alt+tab back to the exam and continue on answering all the problems.

Now this is just 1 way, but where there is a will there is a way to make the world more accessible

Youtube video: Dr Robinson teaches-Making a Promethean Board flipcharts (smart board) accessible to blind students

Many students were fortunate and acquired an iPhone or IPod Touch for Christmas. Frustration soon turns to success with a few lessons. Learning how to use features in Notes makes these students successful any where else on their iTool. Once they can learn how to Turn contractions on and off, use auto correct features, use the rotor, move around with characters, words, lines,  edit, copy, paste, delete, move and undo mistakes, then Email note to whomever they desire their frustration turns to joy, then they stretch their wings and begin exploring other parts of their iTool.

Lesson at: iPhone, iPod Touch-VoiceOver, using Notes and the refreshabraille

I think all math classes can contribute great knowledge to all children. When parents and teachers ask, "Is it important for this blind student to take Geometry?" which is a VERY visual class, I always reply –YES! Yes, it will be more challenging, but the information they learn applies greatly to life. Blind children should take ALL the same classes as sighted children if they are to acquire the same knowledge.

Here is where talented Para educators come into play. They ask how to design those 1-D or 2-D flat graphics in print or embossed on braille sheets that come from the braille companies (BTW, it is very difficult for blind children to read those flat "embossed pictures") and I describe the methods. We use stiff paper and braille paper works great here for area or a plane, with pipe cleaners sticking through the paper for the angles that will be made. Extra long Slate n stylus embosses the angle points on the paper for the student to read and wikki sticks line the plane or area. This method makes those flat images come to life for the student. The Para holds the design in the air and describes it, as the student feels every angle and area.

In biology and math class, students are asked to draw many figures. A draftsman tool kit is always on hand for these designs that students need to create. The Para assists the student with the design, or if the teacher thought ahead, a tactile design was already created and the blind student can feel it then recreate it on the draftsman. After the student draws the figure, they place the paper in a brailler or use a slate n stylus to braille the labels around the figure. Watch Draftsman Video:

From kindergarten and beyond, when students can create these figures themselves, they grasp the concepts so much easier. The earlier you start using the above method, the easier pictures will be to understand as the student ages, but that is true for most instruction.

Lesson and article to help you

Beginner Drawing of Pictures on a Brailler

and article Beginner Drawing of Pictures on a Brailler

Many students want to just use their adapted laptop or refreshabraille display to braille in content and move around. Click on this link: WORD and BRAILLE DISPLAY to see lessons to help you and your students learn how to

Go in and out of typing mode or braille mode

Using contracted and uncontracted mode

Navigating your pages

Moving around characters, words, sentences

Selecting and unselecting characters, words, sentences

Save, open and print

Moving around the ribbon and inserting a picture

Speech Recognition has come a long way. If for any reason you cannot use your hands or fingers, giving verbal commands to make your computer do what you want it to do if just a matter of learning the commands. If you are blind and need the same benefits. J-SAY provides both speech recognition and verbal feedback.

This is a quick demonstration of the power of speech recognition. This program is already built into Windows 7 already, so get going. Watch same video at : Speech Recognition

Click to watch JSAY video

The Braille Note is an incredibly easy technology tool for the blind. Light, fast on and off; create file, folders, recordings with quick keystrokes. you can do math calculations and insert the problem with answer write into a document. The new Apex has a fast connection so you can answer all your emails directly from it as well as surf the Internet.

If you would like multiple lessons to get you going on how to do these skills, then here is the lesson for you: Braille Note Lessons to take you through the Basics to more advanced skills

Learn all the skills to create a perfect electronic signature so you can insert it into any document that needs to be emailed, created in Word or other documents. Once the signature is created, you can use it anywhere you need on computer programs. The fastest way to achieve a professional document quickly, especially when your signature is required.

Watch YouTube video: How to make your Signature Electronic and insert it into a Document

For text lesson in full detail of lesson, go to: How to make your Signature Electronic and insert it into a Document

Using simple methods, a student learns the keyboard quickly within 5 hours over 5 days. Tune eyes out with a blind fold to tune in the ears to type fast. Poor vision will slow you down if you try and use it and you will continue to do work slower than everyone else.  By the next week, they will be in their classroom typing their lessons…slowly at first, but you will see the speed pick up quickly as they do their work everyday on the computer.

 Before you know it, they will be typing faster than everyone else. It is daily typing that makes the difference.

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