Posts

Showing posts from November, 2011

Making Your Digital Marketing More Accessible

I had an opportunity to sit down with Jason Falls and talk about accessibility. Jason recently posted the following to his blog, Social Media Explorer and I wanted to share it here. Making Your Digital Marketing More Accessible by Jason Falls There are two million people in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired. That number is sure to grow in coming years as Baby Boomers, and their eyes, age. That’s a lot of people. Ever wondered how they “see” your website? What about how they navigate and use social media channels? Unless you are visually impaired, you’ve probably not thought about it.Last week I spent a half day with several staff members at the American Printing House for the Blind talking about how the visually impaired use social media, websites and technology in general. The sad truth is that as cool as our blogs and websites look to us, many people can not only not see them, they often can’t decipher what’s there because we forget, or don’t know how, to build our site…

Brainshark: Add Voice to Powerpoint & Word Docs

MyBrainshark is a cool web tool for enchaining your presentations online. It lets you upload PowerPoint presentations, videos, image slideshows or documents and effectively increase their interactivity by adding voice narrations.
Making voice presentations is easy. Just upload your file and then record your voice by calling a phone number provided by MyBrainshark. This tool has support for several video, audio, and document formats, so you won’t have a problem dealing with file conversions to make this service work for you.
MyBrainshark’s core functions are catered to businesses. The app is useful for corporate trainings, business presentations, product demos, proposals, and lectures. But if you are a blogger looking for a personal show-and-tell tool, Brainshark will also work well for your needs. You can also view other presentations from MyBrainshark’s rich content library.
You can register an individual account for free or you can view their small business and enterprise …

1,500 Free Childrens Braille Books from Temple Beth El Sisterhood Braille Bindery

Temple Beth El Sisterhood Braille Bindery will ship, for free, to a child's home or school any of 1500 children's and early teenager's books in braille. Many age levels are included, both in contracted or uncontracted braille. You can view and order from the various book lists by following the link below. Contact Earl Remer for further information at 248-669-3038 or emailing attyremer@sbcglobal.net.
All books are free, and donations of Braille paper in boxes are always appreciated.

Click this link to visit the TBE Sisterhood Braille Bindery website.

Daily Deals for Dog Guides

Not just for dog guides, but any dog really! For folks like you and me, there's Groupon. For dogs, there's DoggyLoot.com. On DoggyLoot.com, nothing but treats and toys for dogs are offered. Both local and national deals are featured and by submitting your email address, you'll begin receiving them in your inbox. Bully sticks, dog cookies, pet bath sponges, you'll find all that and more on this site. As a matter of fact, you can even find items such as costumes for your dog when events like Halloween come around. You can save 50% to 90% with their daily deals and the items ship for free! Yes, that's right, you don't have to worry about S&H costs, that's included in the price listed on the deal's page. There's plenty more to DoggyLot.com than just buying products for your pet. The site goes beyond the typical content of other daily deal websites by providing users with lots of tips and guides for making the lives of their four-legged companion…

10 Low Fat Ways to Use Leftover Turkey

When Thanksgiving or Christmas is done and you still have lots of turkey left, you may wonder what you can do with it all. Actually, quite a lot. First, chop, dice or shred your leftovers and store them in resealable plastic bags in the refrigerator. That way, you can reach for a bag or two as you need them. Then you'll be ready to try one or more of these 10 Low Fat Ways to Use Leftover Turkey. Soups Add 2 cups of chopped leftover turkey, a selection of chopped vegetables and 1 cup of uncooked rice or noodles to 3 cans fat-free, low sodium chicken broth.
2. Salads Add leftover turkey to a mix of arugula and spinach, sliced mushrooms, cranberries, shredded carrots, sliced red onions and a sprinkling of heart-healthy walnuts. Toss with your favorite low fat or fat free fruity dressing or vinaigrette.
Sandwiches and Wraps Use slices of leftover turkey to make all kinds of sandwiches. Be sure to use whole grain breads and rolls, and low fat or fat free fillings. If you don't like…

Black Blanket Background is Best for Teaching Students with Cortical Vision Impairment

by Kristie Smith-Armand, M.Ed, CTVI

The other day, I was thinking about the musical, “Chicago”. I for some unknown reason was singing the song, “Mr. Cellophane”. My random brain began thinking of how often the most important items that make a huge difference are often overlooked. As Pablo Casals once said
-The truly important things in life - love, beauty, and one's own uniqueness - are constantly being overlooked. Look at the words that the author of Mr. Cellophane sang wrote:
If someone stood up in a crowd
And raised his voice up way out loud
And waved his arm and shook his leg
You'd notice him
If someone in the movie show
Yelled "Fire in the second row
This whole place is a powder keg!"
You'd notice him
And even without clucking like a hen
Everyone gets noticed, now and then,
Unless, of course, that personage should be

Invisible, inconsequential me!
Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane 'Cause you can look ri…

Listen to Our Kids

by Donna J. Jodhan In the normal scheme of things, we feel that it is our kids who need to listen to us but sometimes; we need to listen to our kids. Whenever we think that they are not paying attention then guess what? They are and much more than we think. Whenever we think that they are shutting us out, it is we who are doing it, not them. In November of 2010, I was invited to visit the Grove Community School by two teachers of a grade one class. Shannon and Velvet wanted me to meet a group of my youngest supporters in my present court case against the Canadian Government. Before I visited, Shannon told me that these little ones had sent a letter to the Prime Minister asking him to make the government of Canada websites accessible to the blind. Just imagine my surprise as I sat among these young minds listening to their questions. They were not afraid to ask me anything. Their questions were intelligent, intuitive, and you know what? They had not been coached by anyone. S…

Technology Becoming More Difficult

by Donna J. Jodhan Two steps forward for mainstream technology, but unfortunately, just one for access technology. What I mean is this; the evolution of technology is like a runaway freight train. It changes literally by the minute and we all have to find ways to keep up with it in our own way. For the blind, the challenge to keep up with it is made even more difficult because of having to wait for access technology to catch up and when it does; mainstream technology has already left the building so to speak. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what access technology is; it is the technology that is used by people with disibilities to help them access software, the Internet, plus more. Access technology includes such products as: screen reading software, magnifying software, and specially adapted keyboards. There are other types of access technology of course. Access technology is also very expensive in comparison to mainstream technology and often time, it is financia…

Surviving the Holiday Season: a How-to Guide for Couples Everywhere

Oh, the cumulative pressure of the holidays on a couple. There’s really nothing quite like it. Done right, it has all the makings for disaster—the financial pressures of gift-buying and party-throwing; the family pressures to have a really lovely time together even though, after just a few hours, they’ll drive you batty; and the sheer exhaustion from fighting crowds while shopping, spending meticulous hours planning, cooking entire turkeys and eggnog, and partying into the night—and then doing it all over again. In order to get through it unscathed, take heed of these practical tips for surviving the holiday season. Spend time together, alone Among the chaos, make sure you allocate a moment or two to yourselves, to breathe, decompress, and enjoy each other’s company. Start a tradition you both enjoy that you can look forward to each holiday. If you’re really busy, make your alone time productive too, by baking together in the kitchen with a bottle of wine, or wrapping presents…

The "Brailling Signs Is Cool to Do" Song

By Linn Sorge, Hadley Instructor Becky Williams has always enjoyed writing new lyrics to well-known melodies. Her creative work sends forth messages to help to bring about positive change as they lift people up, and bring smiles along the way. I met Becky when she moved to Wisconsin in 1960. We've enjoyed a lifelong friendship with music as an integral part of it. We would toss ideas back and forth about potential songs and lyrics to create just the right song to help a specific cause or brighten someone's day. Becky became an ambassador for The Hadley School for the Blind as part of her employment at the Badger Association for the Blind in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since that time, she has been coping with the challenges of cancer recurrence. I asked her a few months ago if she had any kind of "Make-A-Wish" ideas. The song is one of them. She said it would be so meaningful to her if a professional musician could someday sing and record one of her songs. Two superb…

Preventing Tangled Earbuds

When you're halfway through what could only be called "the worst day ever," it might seem like your impenetrably tangled earbuds are just another message from the Bad-Day Gods. There are ways to prevent this from happening. Dorian Raymer and Douglas Smith at UC San Diego unraveled the mystery in a paper titled "Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String" in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers stuck lengths of string in a box, rotated the box, then opened it to see if knots formed. After an eye-glazing 3,415 trials, they determined that string shorter than 1.5 feet never tangled, but as a string gets longer, the probability of knots shoots up sharply (which is why 10-foot-long Christmas tree lights can melt your soul). There's a million and one solutions on the market for keeping headphone cords in check. There are four things all of these devices have in common. Make a loopYou can't make the cord shorter, but you can bri…

Open Culture: a Source for Audio Books and More!

Have you ever thought that the internet lacks, well, a degree of culture?  That there's too much content that is irrelevant, superfluous, wrong, or pointless? Would you like a portal site that points you to lots more interesting, educational resources? If so, then check out Open Culture, at http://www.openculture.com. It comprises links to lots of free courses, books, audio books, language learning courses, videos, textbooks, and lots more! Access to the site, and to almost all of the content, is free.  Though there are some optional extras, which cost money, such as the ability to print out chapters from certain books (you can still read them on screen for free, and copy the text to your clipboard).

Click this link to visit http://www.openculture.com.

If I Could Dream

by Donna J. Jodhan If I could have just a few seconds to dream, this is what I would dream: That blind kids of the future will have a better shot at enjoying a more mainstream life. That they will be able to have equal access to such things as websites, information, and services. That their parents would be in a position to afford to buy them the necessary access technology that they would need in order to function on an equal footing with mainstream kids. That somehow, they would be able to go out there and literally reach for the stars. That aging adults who are either blind or will be come blind later on in their lives will be able to live their golden years in relative comfort. That being; that they would be able to receive adequate services to help them cope with their blindness and loss of vision. That their golden years will be filled with happiness and joy and that their lack of vision would not be a hindrance to them. that doctors would find a cure for my blindnes…

Different Views From Different Generations

by Donna J. Jodhan A few weeks ago, I decided to take some time to go out there and listen to the views from blind people of different generations. Specifically, what are their views on the issues of such subjects as employment, education, and accessibility. In order to simplify things, I am going to refer to the generations as follows: 35 and under - generation Y and above 35 - as generation X. I will first state the question that I asked and then give the consensus answer. I will hasten to add that my mission was not meant to be a formal survey in any way shape or form but rather as a fact finding mission for my own education. I managed to gather a total of 15 responses from each generation and I would like to thank those of you who took the time to respond. So without much more ado here goes. On the subject of employmentQuestion: Do you think that employment opportunities for your generation are better than they were about five years ago? Consensus from gen…

A Different View of the Screen

by Donna J. Jodhan In most cases, when a blind employee navigates their screen, they do so using their keyboard exclusively. Whereas a sighted employee uses their mouse to point and click, a blind employee uses their keys to do the same. They depend on shortcut keys to get them where they need to be on the screen. For sighted people, their dependence on a mouse is almost exclusive and for a blind employee, their dependence on shortcut keys is almost exclusive. The tab, control, escape, and alt keys are a blind employee’s best friend. Or should I say a blind person’s best friends. Various combinations of these keys are also best friends and of course there is the find command to help a blind person find things quickly. This is how blind people navigate their screen. In the workplace, a blind employee can be just as fast as a sighted person when navigating the screen. The one huge challenge comes when a screen freezes and a blind employee is unable to tell what is going on bec…

The Works of Thomas Jefferson is Online and in Ebook Format

If you're a fan of history, this twelve volume set of The Works of Thomas Jefferson from the Online Library of Liberty will surely interest you. This Set Contains The Following Titles: The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 1 (Autobiography, Anas, 1760-1770)
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 2 (Correspondence 1771-1779, Summary View, Declaration of Independence)
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 3 (Notes on Virginia I, Correspondence 1780-1782)
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 4 (Notes on Virginia II, Correspondence 1782-1786)
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 5 (Correspondence 1786-1789)
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 6 (Correspondence 1789-1792)
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 7 (Correspondence 1792-1793)
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 8 (Correspondence 1793-1798)
The Works of Thomas Jefferson vol. 9 (1799-1803)
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 10 (Correspondence and Papers 1803-1807)
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 11 (Correspondence and Papers 1808-1816)
The W…

Quick Draw Paper: Quickest Draw in the West

by Kristie Smith-Armand, M.Ed, CTVI

“A Drawing is simply a line going for a walk” - Paul Klee When I meet with one of my visually impaired student’s teachers, the first stress from the teacher’s point of view is how to make sure the student understands the concept. Imagine how excited the educator becomes when I take out a sheet of Quick-Draw Paper and make a simple design from a water-based marker. The instructor takes her finger and feels the shape, which is always followed by a huge smile. “Can you supply me with more of this?” The teacher always asks with enthusiasm. Imagine how popular I become when I say, “I can bring you all the paper you would like”. Quick-Draw Paper becomes popular with me as well since I am no longer wearing the scars or paint from tactual paint that always ended up on my clothes, furniture or me. Quick-Draw Paper creates instant tactile graphics for art, math, orientation and mobility as well as many other subjects. The water-based marker swells …

Braille Lasts Longer on PermaBraille Sheets from APH

Image
If you are a TVI, how do you feel when you see your young students scratch out those dots you carefully and painstakingly transcribed? How often have you had to re-emboss material because the dots were just too worn down by so many fingers reading them over and over again? How many times have you wished that you could rescue the brailled pages from the spilled juice, wipe them off, and have clean, useable pages again instead of a puddle of melted pulp?If you are a braille-using adult, are you tired of struggling to read the addresses and phone numbers in your braille address book because dots are worn down from so much use? Are the dots getting faint in those stories you brailled so that you could read and reread them to your toddlers? How often have you had that favorite recipe become unreadable because you looked at it once too often with cake flour on your hands?If you can relate to any of these scenarios, or if you just wish you could store and reuse braille without loss of clarit…

TREKS: The Game of Compass Directions

Image
TREKS is designed to be challenging, educational, and enjoyable. Like a good walk outdoors, it is full of variety. You can change the game to make the play simpler or add rules to make it more complex. And, as each game progresses, your strategy for winning can change!The goal of the game is to be the first player to move all five of your pieces ("treksters") from your own home row into the opponent’s home row across the board.After each move, you must announce the direction and the number of spaces moved by each trekster. For example, "I moved this trekster four spaces east and this trekster one to the south." If you forget to make this announcement, your opponent may call out your omission and undo your move!Included with the kit are print/braille overlays and pieces to use for varying the basic game. They are:an overlay with the four cardinal directions labeled and another with only a north arrow.an overlay with numbered and named streets. With this game variati…

ALL-IN-ONE Board (Magnetic, VELCRO® brand, Dry Erase)

Image
APH's ALL-IN-ONE Board (Magnetic, VELCRO® brand, Dry Erase) is intended for classroom use with students of all ages. This multi-platform, easily-adjustable board can be used in combination with either hook-VELCRO® brand accessories or magnetic pieces (homemade, obtained from APH, or purchased commercially), as well as with dry erase markers to facilitate a variety of learning activities. The ALL-IN-ONE Board can be positioned at a variety of angles, from nearly flat to fully upright. Target populations include young children, students, and adults with visual impairments, as well as parents and teachers working with these populations.
The ALL-IN-ONE Board can be stored and carried in the included carrying-case. A starter package of dry erase markers is included, as well as a Product Information Sheet and recommended Cleaning/Care Instructions, in both print and braille.

Catalog Number: 1-08836-00
Click this link to purchase an ALL-IN-ONE Board.
All-In-One Board: Student Model (Mag…

Animal Shapes and Pages Set From APH

Image
Fun optional product for APH's BOP First Grade, Unit 6! This entertaining and educational animal crackers puzzle was developed from page 51 in the student text, "More Animal Tales," in BOP First Grade, Unit 6, Lesson 33. It includes four copies of the page with nests and four sets of INEDIBLE animal shapes that fit the nests. Each sheet contains nests for 13 different animals. The name of each animal is given in braille, and a tactile symbol before it shows the direction the animal is facing, i.e. < nose to the left or > nose to the right.If appropriate for your student, you can use real animal crackers with this product, which will help children connect the real thing with the activity and may be more motivational than using the inedible shapes. Later, use the pretend animal crackers to play with the nests when the real ones are gone. Be sure that children understand that these pretend crackers cannot be eaten.WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD—Small parts. Not intended for …