Mac with Lion OS system and Voice Over are truly giving the PC with talking software a run for its money. Mac has truly become accessible right out of the box. Voice Over is able to access information with a flick of a finger or a key command.

If you are a PC user and want to make a switch, you must be ready for a learning curve as everything you learned on the PC will not transfer over to the Mac, other than you will be using the keyboard. You will also be using the Track Pad. There are great features worked into the Mac that with a simple finger gesture you can sail across a page

To get you going and moving on the Mac with Voice Over, download lessons at iTools

One of the most exciting things to happen in instruction is pairing the Iphone with a braille display. This is not just for the blind, but more importantly the deaf/blind. Over a year ago, one of my students asked about the correct phone he should buy–voice was not enough–he could not hear it. We had gone to the phone store with his mom, showed him the iphone and went over the cost of it. Mom saved his money from his SSI and around March he came in with an iphone that could pair with a tiny braille display. He can easily carry around both. For the first time, he could text his friends and they could text back. He could and can now communicate with the world. The elation I still feel over this and watching him get so excited about what this means for his life and socialization skills overwhelms me. This is why I teach. Someone comes to me with a problem and I need to figure out the best solution, then see the joy on the student's face when they realize what power there is in this tool keeps me going and searching even further and wider for all things possible. What a truly exciting time we live in!!
Lessons to help you learn
 at iTools

Learn how to insert comments into documents and edit work, making tracks through work on a PC with talking software. The teacher grades the students' work, emails it to them and their talking software goes through every comment and correction. Students edit work as needed, hear their grade and if needed email work back to teacher for further corrections or higher grade. Blind students can now do work from start to finish, creating a document, email it, teacher grades it and emails back, student hearing their own grade and making changes as requested by teachers. Blind students can easily make tracks in peers papers also, for peer review.

Send the teacher their version of track changes at the start of the year, so they know how to do this for the blind students in their classes. Watch video: Dr. Robinson teaches-Track Changes-inserting comments and editing work

Lessons to help the student and teacher

Seven Lessons on TRACK CHANGES for students and teachers-everything you need

Learning how to print will enable blind children to understand the world more completely. Whether it is understanding basic concepts, such as a U-Turn, a C-clamp, V-angel, T-intersection and so much more, to advanced math concepts, print will help blind children relate to their sighted peers and understand life's' concepts with more ease. Understanding a T, H and U will really help them travel and navigate the world. If they can comprehend the layout of a building or street, nothing can stop them.

When I was interning decades ago with the most incredible blind teacher I had ever met, he taught me these valuable skills. The teacher or sighted students could easily draw figures on the blind students' hands to describe what was seen. This was especially helpful in math class. Blind children also found it easier to interpret those line design drawings in their braille books if they understood letters, pictures, shapes and designs.

Get a bag a magnetic letters that can go on the fridge, so while you are cooking, your child can be rearranging the letters and making words. Get the letters that have braille on them, so they can learn the braille and the print at the same time. Flash cards with braille and print shapes make it easy to take learning in the car or working in a room. Creative Adaptations for Learning has many types of options

You can pair up students and each will spell a word then hand the word to the other person and they have to figure out the word. Then they can take a tactile board, such as a Draftsman toolkit and practice writing it out. There are many ways to do this to make learning fun. Some of the easiest is just have them write in the sand, use sandpaper letters, write in pudding-especially great for young children so they can taste their results–make sure they help you make the pudding.

Learn how to use an iPad with Voice Over and a Bluetooth external keyboard. If you need something more tactile and easy to use, this is it. These lessons will teach you how to pair the keyboard to the iPad, then take you to Notes word processor and show you how to type and edit information. Once you learn the basics of using the rotor and commands, you will then move onto using the Internet and learning about more commands that will help you move faster. These are Voice over commands so can help you use your Mac with Voice Over too.

Text lessons and audio/visual lessons are offered at:  iTools


JAWS talking software and a PC offer wonderful options to becoming a great speller….Between the applications key and the numpad, you too can become a stellar speller.

How to Begin: Watch video at Youtube: Learn How to be the BEST speller
The student's braille list is brailled out using contracted and uncontracted braille. They practice brailling the words, using contractions on their braille tool, whether a brailler or adapted note taker. Then they go to the computer and braille out the list in preparation of taking the spelling test on the computer. Once they finish taking an exam, they can email the test immediately to the teacher, when the teacher collects the other students' test. It is all about the ability to finish work in the same space of time as their peers. This is a great example to show them they can do a task just as quickly.

When practicing their spelling words, they type out the word, using insert+2 and use the words and characters options, so JAWS speaks every character and every word as the student types. After they type the word, I have them double check it by going to the numpad and hitting insert+5 so JAWS says the word again, then they hit insert+5 twice quickly to have the word spelled to them. If they have difficulty with the word, they will then type it out 10 times to remember the correct spelling.

If the student struggles with spelling, I have them use the applications key which is a standard key on any PC keyboard, so anyone can use this feature. They type a word, hit the applications key which will give them the correct spelling (if the word is not too poorly spelled) and they arrow to the correct options. They then type out the word even more times, then double checking with their brailled spelling list. Of course, they know they cannot use this option while taking a test, but this will be a life long skill to use when writing.

Being dyslexic, reading and writing have always been a struggle for me. When I learned about the applications key, I truly thought this was a gift from God and HIS grace. I teach this option to any of my students who struggle with spelling and the sighted students quickly want to use the same feature. With technology, we can enhance our abilities that are buried beneath us, but we cannot get out for one reason or another. A disability becomes an ABILITY through technology.

Lessons to help teach:
Office 2003-Word-Students who need to create a spelling list
Office 2010-Word-Students who need to create a spelling list

Spell check as you type—finding the secrets to spelling

Word-getting rid of auto formats in documents

Watch an audio/visual lesson to help you use the: iPad with Voice Over and a Refreshabraille braille display and using the Internet –all braille displays work the same way so you can use the same techniques

Learn the minor and major aspects of using the iPad with Voice Over and the APH Refreshabraille Braille display (commands are similar with other displays also). Learn how to set it up right out of the box then learn more advanced skills like editing in notes and using the Interent.

Continue to advance your iPad and braille display skills and use Notes and edit information within the note, whether deleting, auto-correcting, selecting and unselecting information and the all important, how to undo what you just did when you make a mistake. Continue learning as you go into the Internet and learn how to easily move around pages, select and copy text then paste it into Notes or your word processor program, then edit as needed.

Lessons to help at iTools

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