Today, you no longer have to have just 1 operating system on 1 computer. Since I am writing lessons for people who use XP and Office 2003 and Windows 7 and Office 2010, I have both operating system on one machine. Windows 7 is my main machine and I have XP running virtually. With 2 monitors, I run XP on one monitor and Windows 7 on the other and can quickly write the lessons needed by having both operating systems on 1 computer.

Mac is the same way. You have Mac OS on one side and with a Command Tab you switch to Windows 7, which operates virtually. This way you can use as many features as you want. You download products according to which side you are using.

What I suggest to people who really want to switch to a Mac but have always been PC users, is…get both. Buy the Mac and put the virtual Windows 7 on it too, so when you just can't get something done while learning the Mac, you can switch to the PC side.

Same thing for switching from XP to Windows 7. Have both and when you just can't figure out how to do it on the Windows 7 side, switch back to the XP side.

Just more options for getting work done.

Little fingers can easily press the keys on a Mountbatten brailler–watch YouTube Video. Learn quickly and easily so by kindergarten blind children can read and write just as much as their sighted peers.

Lessons and articles to teach skills

First Steps in Great Braille Readers

Beginner Braille Reading

Braille Instruction begins at 3 years old

Braille Cheat Sheets

How to STOP scrubbing While reading Braille

Fast Braille Reading

Tricks to Learning Braille in your Teen Years or Later

Free Braille Books-Where to go to get Books

The Synchronicity of Braille & Technology

Braille Rap Song Lyrics

Rap Song to Learn Braille

 

Anyone who has elementary students most likely knows about AR tests. Accelerated Reader (AR) is a program where children read books and then take tests on a computer system called AR. Each book is assigned a certain amount of points depending on their difficulty. Children in class compete to see how many points they can earn within a certain time period and by the end of the year.

Accelerated Reader (AR) tests can be accessed with JAWS 12 and above and a Braille Display. I had to laugh yesterday as I was teaching one of my students how to move through the pages. She has incredible listening skills and her JAWS works at about 400 wpm. Her fingers cannot read that fast, so she would bypass the braille display and quickly listen to each page and take the test. She could finish 3 tests before a sighted student even finished their first due to the speed at which she operated the site. For full instructions on how to take AR tests with talking software, go to Accelerated Reader (AR)

Where once upon a time, a sighted reader had to read these tests to our blind students, it is no more, which is true for so many areas of their lives, due to technology.

Lessons to help you

Jaws-connecting the Braille Note to the computer for a Braille Display

Refreshabraille 18- brailling in Word using this display with JAWS

Setting up the RefreshaBraille 18 with JAWS talking software

APH Refreshabraille Braille display, JAWS and Word #1

APH Refreshabraille Braille display, JAWS and Word practice #2

Refreshabraille-JAWS 12-brailling a lesson in word

Refreshabraille-JAWS 12- adding typing mode for 1 hand users

Watch video: Braille Instruction begins at 3 years old

This young man on the video from the above link, began braille and technology instruction at 3 years old. A year later he knows his braille alphabet and typing on a keyboard. When he reached kindergarten, he had as much reading/writing knowledge as peers

Lessons and articles to help you:

First Steps in Great Braille Readers

Beginner Braille Reading

Braille Cheat Sheets

How to STOP scrubbing While reading Braille

Fast Braille Reading

Tricks to Learning Braille in your Teen Years or Later

Free Braille Books-Where to go to get Books

The Synchronicity of Braille & Technology

Braille Rap Song Lyrics

Rap Song to Learn Braille

 

Whether fully sighted, low vision or even blind, I have students and friends who love using the video call feature with the Iphone and Ipad.

The way to make free calls on either device but more importantly you can use this as a phone feature on the Ipad, is to download SKYPE and SKYPE wireless to go with it. Go to the app download section of your product. Once the programs are downloaded, you can use voice over with the programs to make and receive calls with a new twist.

This happens to be a great feature for virtual teaching also. Just another way to connect and do what you need to do to teach a lesson.

Lessons to help you learn about iPhone and iPad at iTools

If you are looking for a major resource for materials adapted for blind students from the earliest age, The American Printing House for the Blind is for you.

Founded in 1858, the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is the world's largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are blind and visually impaired.

If you need something adapted to blindness or low vision, go to APH.org and there is a good chance you will find it there in their catalog.

Order your free catalog from them to have all this valuable information at your fingertips when a situation comes up and you need a tool.

Schools can use Free quota funds which are designated for blind/low vision children. The government has allocated a certain amount of funds for each child per year, so this helps the districts with their budgets too.

You can also call them at: 1-800-223-1839

There are many areas that are inaccessible in Office 2010 for a blind user, but you can make them accessible with a quick command.

As soon as you open a document, do a CTRL+S to save, name the file, then TAB to save as Type and down arrow to word 97-2003 document, then hit ENTER. (You can make this change permanent if it works well for you)
Now, when you want to insert pictures, graphs, Wordart and other graphics, you will have the ability to left, right or center them where you want. If using Office 2010 in the .docx format, you will have to use the arrow keys, which is just guess work if you are blind and you have no idea where you are truly placing your object.

Another trick: Most commands you memorized in Office 2003 can be used in Office 2010. So if you want to insert a picture, Alt+I, then hit P then hit C to clip art and your clip art options open.

Enlarge the screen: Just ALT+V, then hit Z, then hit 2 for 200% and you have magnified your screen.

Just keep moving through the keystrokes and they work with or without talking software

Lessons to learn more skills

12 Office 2003 Lessons that teach you how to make your papers look BEAUTIFUL

12 Office 2010 Lessons that teach you how to make your papers look BEAUTIFUL

Everything to get you going in WORD Office 2003 and XP

Everything to get you going in WORD Office 2010 and Windows 7 with JAWS

Everything to get you going in WORD Office 2010 and Windows 7 with Window EYES

With all the different types of software and downloads from the Internet, you may have experienced your computer crashing or slowing. If you use talking software you may notice compatibility issues after you downloaded a particular program.

Here is a quick easy fix. Every PC offers a restore of your system. If you are on Windows 7, you can just hit the start key and type restore and down arrow to restore your computer to an earlier time. When the dialog box comes up, look back at all the dates and make note of when your computer worked well and restore it to that date. When my talking software stops working well, I can see a particular type of update was made on my computer and now I know which update knocked my talking software out…. I then go and hide that update in my update folder so it will never occur again. You can do the exact same thing in XP but you will have to go into the control panel to do so.

You can also set restore points. Last week, one of my students went on vacation and her laptop had been having major issues, so I took it for the week to overhaul. After I fixed it, I set a restore point with an original name, so as problems occur down the road, I can talk them through how to easily restore her computer back to the date last week. It is like getting a brand new computer right out of the box, but just loaded with all the blind software and ready to use.

Restore is a wonderful feature However: If you set a restore point on your computer on Oct 1 and you loaded another program on Nov 1, found issues on Nov 5 and restored back to Oct 1, any program you loaded after that Oct 1 date will be gone. Your files are still there, it just takes away programs—but the new added program could be what was giving you problems, so this is decision time, if you do a restore. It is something major you are doing to your machine.

Always backup your files before doing something like this. Backup, just means, make another copy somewhere else, like on a thumb drive. You should be doing this anyway because technology crashes and you always want another copy of your files somewhere else.

There are a lot of great powerful features on computers, just learn how to take control of them and use the power to your advantage, instead of them taking control of you.

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