Para educators going Virtual

Para educators going Virtual

I was asked an incredibly exciting question this morning. One of my para-educators, who understands she needs to develop her skills to be a benefit to students, asked how she could check on her visually impaired student without going into the class room. She has watched the student and I work virtually and loves how the student has immediate access to me.

So, this morning I got the para set up on SKYPE and the video plugins for Gmail. She can now text the student using chat and ask how she is doing (while everyone else in the class is completely unaware of their conversation). The student can now text back the para and say "I need the next braille volume for math class" "I need a braille ruler", and so on.

I have my students keep their Gmail or SKYPE open all the time (depends on what districts allow–they allow either one of these). The student also opens and works in WORD, or reads from the braille page, and when they have a question, they do a quick ALT+TAB back to the chat area and text me the question. I text them the answer and they are off. When their school work is complete, it is quickly emailed to the teacher.

Within minutes the student has the tools she needs in class without having to go track the para down. At the same time she is chatting with me through text and asking me what the command is for doing exponents. I text back the answer and she is sailing away in class without stopping her work. There is nothing worse then sitting there doing nothing because she does not have the tools or answers she needs.

In time, this is the goal for all the paras. The students feel more independent and confident in their abilities when they know they can do it on their own but if they do have questions, it is a quick chat away.

Lessons that help teach and JAWS-Eight lessons to get you moving

GMAIL- Everything you need to use in basic HTML or standard view

JAWS and Internet—how to get Going and Moving


Remote Access using SKYPE


SKYPE—for Regular Vision, Low Vision, and Blind


Skype texting and making a Video Call—with additional JAWS scripts


Skype texting and making a Video Call—no additional JAWS scripts


GMAIL-Google Talk, Firefox, and Chat


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