PEOPLE NOT TECHNOLOGY
EASI is a non-profit organization, committed to the belief that students and professionals with disabilities have the same right to access information technology as everyone else.
Everyone who completes an EASI course will receive an EASI document of completion for that course. Those completing 5 of these courses will earn the EASI Certificate in Accessible Information Technology.
(Registration is $350 with a discount for EASI Annual members and for participants from overseas)
Schedule for 2018: April 2, Oct. 1
register from this link using check, PO or Credit card
Train the Trainer is being revised again. New and revised assistive software is being created and old applications are being revised changing the landscape. It is hard to keep up with these developments and even difficult to know which applications are best and most important. It is difficult to make a list of applications assistive software trainers need to know. Depending on the demographics of your organization and the commercial software your institution uses most commonly, each of you may have somewhat different needs and concerns.
As before, the course will urge you to obtain free or demo software and gain hands-on experience with them. Because of the rapid increase of applications available, you will have the ability to select the exact products you want to learn. The course will point you at lists of products from which to select those that most suit your situation. You may also know products we do not list, and you can decide to work on that product.
The goal is to give you hands-on experience on a variety of products that support people with diverse disabilities. This means, instead of merely walking through the course content, you will be engaged in tailoring your work for yourself.
Computer technology has the potential to provide the most level learning space and working space in history for people with disabilities. However, many users arrive on campus or at work with inadequate training on this technology. Either the K-12 system failed to provide them with the appropriate tools and training, or they may have only recently received the disability. They will need help in identifying the technology that will enable them to achieve more independence and need training to use it effectively. Your institution will need to have someone equipped to provide this training. The information in Train the Trainer will provide a staff person with the know-how to provide this support. EASI believes that such support requires a joint effort between the trainer and the trainee. While the trainee needs help to get started on using complex adaptive technologies, after an initial introduction, EASI believes that the trainee has the responsibility to become a skilled user independently.
The task of the trainer is made difficult because he or she will need to have at least a beginner's skill on several different adaptive technologies and have a broad understanding of various disabilities to provide such people with what they will need to know to get started on using today's information technology. This course will provide that broad, basic learning. The trainer may also need to provide a beginner understanding of adaptive technology to other staff such as lab assistants and librarians.
The course is month-long and is entirely taught over the Internet. There will also be several modules using multimedia, video, audio, PowerPoint etc.
(To earn the course completion documentation, participants will have to do all lessons and submit the assignment at the bottom of each lesson.)
The course is not intended to make support staff be advanced experts in any of the technologies on which they provide training or experts in understanding all the variety of types of disabilities they may support. Instead it aims to make support staff facilitators to help students with disabilities begin to learn what they need for success in their studies.
Introducing trainees to major hardware components:
mouse or touch pad
ports and perriferals
Introducing the trainee to understanding and using the operating system
desktop and menus
configuring the system for personal convenience
navigating using the mouse and/or keyboard
using the system help
experimenting with the operating system accessibility features
This course will begin to include the apps being used on tablets and smart phones. While these are becoming universal for personal use, they are only beginning to become part of college and university work. K-12 schools are moving to using them, but higher education has been lagging behind.
Students with visual impairments have problem accessing the computer output displayed on the computer monitor and sometimes difficulty in seeing the letters on the keyboard. Obviously, they need technologies giving them an alternative access to that information. The course will limit its training to 1-2 of the major screen reader and screen magnification systems. Other packages function similarly and have similar command systems so the basic training will carry over to those applications. Participants will spend time actually using both a screen reader and a screen magnification package. Several have demo versions for download.
changing font type and size
changing foreground and background colors
using targets to help keep oriented to the page context
learning different ways to personalize the display
selecting the voice and adjusting its speed
learning most basic keystrokes to manage the screen reader
Learning basic keystrokes to navigate the display
experiment with 2-3 popular software applications
(The next lesson has no real hands-on work permitting splitting this hands-on work over 2 lessons)
While this population does not really need special adaptive technology to use the computer, there are many applications that do provide special support for these users both in their personal and professional lives. E-mail opened up communication with their heiring acquaintances, and now, texting from smart phones is an integral part of their social and professional networks. Support staff will not have to train them in special software, but, on occasion, these staff members may be called upon to assist a hearing impaired person with more general computer issues. Understanding them could be a useful skill and awareness.
The accessibility issues related to information technology that relates to the hearing impaired is the provision of captions for multimedia and real time captions using computers of live lectures.
Learning disability covers a broad spectrum of impairments and strengths. Applications which help them read include some sophisticated and somewhat costly software and others that are inexpensive or free. Often the application will synchronize the text being displayed with synthetic speech vocalizing the same content. Some common tools support both reading and writing. These include:
The free and open source applications include tools that read Web pages with synthetic speech, and simple products that turn text documents into MP3 audio files using synthetic speech.
The free and open source products will provide hands-on experiences for this class to test.
LESSON 6: Writing Support Technology For Persons With Learning Disabilities
Some applications support writing including:
Commercial mainstream tools often fill a special support for writers with learning disabilities:
Course members will acquire hands-on experience on such software and come to understand how it is an important aid.
Users whose impairments interfere with their effective use of the keyboard require other tools to improve their ability to input information into the computer.
Common computer applications which support students with motor impairments include:
As a trainer, you will have a basic understanding of the technology support needs of people with disabilities and of the technologies that are required to assist them. Some of the things the institution should do include:
providing awareness training for faculty and support staff
developing policies guaranteeing students with disabilities an equivalent learning experience as provided to others
developing policies covering computer hardware and software purchases to monitor their accessibility
providing adequate financing too achieve the support of students with disabilities both on campus and online
(progress always happens best where there are clear policies and some system of accountability)
register from this link using check, PO or Credit card