I added this tool to my toolbox of instruction awhile ago as it always takes time to work out the bugs. I have a very excited diligent student that always wants to help with the new ways of technology. We started with Skype as she really wanted to use the mouse, so we enlarged everything on her screen and gave her an enormous mouse to find where she needed to go, but it took her a long time to read the text compared to her JAWS reading it to her.
We tried other video chat options. But one lesson changed everything, as I sat on my mountain and she in her house, I told her to use FireFox, Jaws talking software and GMail to do video chat. When I texted her and JAWS read it back, her elation was felt through the text box, as she texted several dozen !!!!!! Being low vision, her response time was still not quick enough when she tried to use her eyes and she knew it. After a lesson, I told her I needed to go back to Skype to figure out all the hotkeys for her. She texted back very quickly that she wanted to keep using the mouse in Skype. So I said that was fine and I would just do the hotkeys for the other kids. A minute later (I could tell she was thinking) a text came back and said, "Well, I am moving so much faster using Jaws maybe I should use the hotkeys too." I smiled–if you give a child permission to want what they want, they usually turn your direction fairly quickly. I texted her back and said that was fine. I would give her the hotkeys to Skype too and she could decide what method she would use.
The huge advantage of this is when the student is in class and they run into a problem, they can immediately text for an answer without bothering anyone in the class. How powerful is that! A teacher of the blind can instruct so many more kids at a constant given time no matter how far apart the students are in the country. It is virtually bringing all the kids to the teacher's door–or rather computer. 🙂 -smile
Lessons that help teach