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Assistive Technology Needs for a Student with a Visual Impairment

Just in case you are having trouble figuring out what technology is out there for a student with a visual impairment, here is a resource that could help you out while making your supervisor (or the one who has the money) nervous. It was compiled by the good folks at the California School for the Blind:  Jerry Kuns, James Carreon and Adrian Amandi.  It is quite an extensive list. The file is a downloadable Word document and is listed as one of the links labeled "What's Available in Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairment-March 2011".   It has been updated to include iOS and Mac accessibility.  Of course, your student(s) may not need "everything" but this is a good reference for what type of technology is available.  Besides this resource document, included on the web page are various assistive technology topics.  It is quite a wealth of information. http://www.csb-cde.ca.gov/technology.htm Happy reading. Patrick Van Geem, TVI Assistive...
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Using Audacity with JAWS

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use and multilingual audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to: Record live audio. Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs. Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files. Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together. Change the speed or pitch of a recording. Many teachers are using Audacity to create audio files for students to use in the classroom yet there are very few students creating audio files themselves. The students can now create their own audio files using a website with detailed instructions on how to create audio files using Audacity with JAWS. The instructions were written by David Bailes and can be found on the  Jaws Guides page of the VIP Software Guides website.
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Voiceover How-To Resources

While this website has more than VoiceOver screen reader for the Mac and iOS, tutorials it also contains other computer information. I just wanted to point it out as an excellent resource with tutorials for VoiceOver. The site's name is Tech-Ease. Another good site for VoiceOver with iOS is AXS Lab maintained by Daniel Göransson.
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The Accessibility of Four Types of Electronic Documents

Accessibility of electronic files as supplements for online courses or lessons is an important issue for students with disabilities.  General education teachers, who actually do most of the electronic production for students, do not seem to understand the accessibility issues of these documents.  If a document is not made accessible, the user with disabilities can experience difficulties in: document navigation, clarity of content, searching for specific information, and user fatigue due to the complex document layout.  There are four major types of electronic files that are used for online or off line lessons. The Four Types of Electronic Documents Electronic documents are used for various reasons, such as: activities, reference material, supplemental information, worksheets, and other assignments.  Students get the documents through email, by downloading them from learning management systems or through a file sharing system. Depending on the author, accessibility of these files can vary greatly.  The electronic documents...
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iPad Apps to Investigate

Dropbox - Free online storage. Get documents from any internet ready device. (computer, iOS device, Android device). Can pay for more storage monthly. Evernote - Free note taking app; also free online storage. Can add Webpages, pictures, text. When webpage added, links still work from the evernote document. Can pay for more storage monthly. Quickoffice Pro HD - Create, edit and share Microsoft® Word, Excel and PowerPoint files; access and manage email attachments with the most popular file formats; get to your files remotely via cloud storage services (MobileMe, Dropbox, Google® Docs, Box.net, Huddle, SugarSync, Evernote, and Catch); file support-ms office (97-2008) DOC, DOCX, TXT. Moe's Notepad - $0.99. A notes app. Audio - trim, change volume, strip silence, reverse, change speed; visual - organize any number of images and/or videos; image - crop, resize, change brightness; drawing - rectangular box or freehand; video - trim, create thumbnail, grab frames; text...
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Free Software for Students

Many of our students have full access to screen reading software in their school, but they do not have access to their computer at home. Does this scenario sound familiar? Now your students can have their own screen reading software at home on a USB drive. One of the software programs is open-source, which to some people means free, when in fact that is not how it is defined. "Open source software is the shared intellectual property of all developers and users and, thanks to the collaboration, achieves a higher level of quality than software produced using conventional means. " (http://www.directimaging.com/). The opensource screen reader is NVDA, which stands for NonVisual Display Access. Being opensource, the speech engine available for use is not as advanced as commercial screen reading software, but that is also improving with each revision. Download NVDA here: www.nvda-project.org. The next screen reading software available for free is...
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