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Fall 2003 Table of Contents
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Strategies for Passing the BCIS (Business Computer Information Systems) Class
By Holly Cooper, Outreach Technology Consultant, TSBVI, Visually Impaired Outreach
Abstract: This article is a list of pointers for teachers and other service providers who are supporting blind and visually impaired high school students taking the Business Computer Information Systems (BCIS) class.
Key Words: blind, deafblind, technology, computer education
Business Computer Information Systems (BCIS) is a required course for a high school diploma in some districts. In all districts in Texas, it is recommended for students pursuing a college preparatory high school diploma. To succeed in BCIS, students with visual impairments must be able to learn in this fast-paced class with content typically presented in a visual style. When using a computer, students must be proficient with the use of special technology such as screen magnification or screen reading software. In a collaborative effort with Outreach staff and local teachers of the visually impaired, we generated the following suggestions to assist teachers supporting visually impaired students taking this class.
- Student should have a good background in computer use and use of other technology for people with visual impairments prior to taking BCIS.
- Student should be a good advocate for his or her own special needs and modifications.
- Student has a textbook in accessible format (large print, braille, voice, or electronic text).
Possible Instructional Modifications
- Student completes assignments which are shorter than his or her classmates.
- Example: Student uses smaller subset of data to complete a data base assignment.
- Student completes fewer assignments than his or her classmates.
- Example: Student completes one project demonstrating skill instead of multiple projects.
- Student completes assignment with a peer.
- Example: Sighted student reads non-accessible portion of the website.
- Student works on a project in a cooperative learning context.
- Example: Visually impaired student contributes equally to the completion of the work.
- Student completes an alternative assignment which demonstrates the same skill sets.
- Example: Student is not required to use column format, but learns different formatting skills.
- Student demonstrates skill has been achieved and is not required to do the assignment.
- Example: Student shows sample of work previously completed.
- Student uses completed assignment from one class to fulfill the requirements of another class.
- Example: Student uses PowerPoint project for a history class to receive a grade in BCIS class.
- Student may use a different software application to complete a project.
- Example: Microsoft Word is used instead of a desktop publishing software that is less accessible.
- Student may use different media, more appropriate to their sensory needs, to complete a project.
- Example: Instead of photos, student adds recorded sound, music, tactile graphics, or objects to his or her presentation.
- Student completes assignments with additional instruction, tutoring or assistance from the vision teacher.
- Example: Student notifies the VI teacher of a need for additional assistance and arranges a meeting before or after school or other at some other time.
- Student completes assignments with the assistance of the computer teacher or content mastery staff.
- Example: Student arranges for additional assistance from the content mastery or computer teacher.
- Student works primarily in a self-paced format, completing assignments which demonstrate mastery of TEKS or other skills.
- Example: Many BCIS classes utilize a self-paced format, and students complete assignments independently or in cooperative learning groups.
- Student receives the basic content of a project from teacher in electronic format, and the student adds to it to demonstrate mastery of skill.
- Example: Computer teacher made CD containing sample projects to which VI student added content demonstrating skills.
Resources for Teachers
TEKS Technology Snapshots
http://www.esc20.k12.tx.us/cut/materials/tek_snapshots.htm A quick reference guide to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology for grades kindergarten through twelve. This resource lists examples of projects students might do to demonstrate mastery of skill levels.
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Applications:
http://www.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/ch126toc.html The state standards for technology for grades kindergarten through twelve.
The following are some websites that sell books, tapes, CD's and similar products for blind users who wish to learn computer skills. Whether you are a sighted teacher supporting a blind student, or a blind individual, these are good resources for learning computer skills using text to speech technology.
Iowa Assist: Iowa Department for the Blind, Accessible Step-by-Step Instructions for Speech Technology with Windows
http://www.blind.state.ia.us/assist/ Tutorials for Windows users who are visually impaired on a variety of applications. These are products which must be purchased, but are low cost.
Access Technology Institute
http://www.accesstechnologyinstitute.com/catalog/courses/index.html Courses are available with a supporting textbook and CD ROM. See website for sample lessons.
National Braille Press, computer publications
Microsoft Accessibility: Technology for Everyone
http://www.mcrosoft.com/enable/default.aspx This site contains keyboard shortcut lists, product information, tutorials and other information about Microsoft, its products, and adaptive issues.
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