Friday, December 05, 2008

Personal update

Sorry about the lack of posts of late. Aside from the Thanksgiving week break, during which I was gone for a 6-day cruise with my family, I’m also working on a couple of projects. Both of these undertakings are similar in that they involve me teaching assistive technology.

First, I have recently begun working with a local school district to teach their blind and visually impaired students how to use the JAWS screen reader and some other assistive technologies in which I’m well versed in. I’m so impressed with the range of skills the students possess, not to mention their desire to learn. I’m doing this a couple of days a week with students from elementary to high school age. The teachers and administrators keep thanking me for doing this, but I keep feeling that I should thank me for being able to contribute to the education of these kids. Maybe I’m idealistic, but what I teach them might be the very skill that helps them excel in college or land that job they want. Only time will tell what dividends are realized out of my time investment with these students.

The second undertaking I’ve been working on is a structured curriculum for teaching VI professionals on how to teach their students how to use JAWS. I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by a VI professional from another school district. He asked if I could teach him and a fellow colleague on how to instruct their students on this. He said that they have to know several different technologies to fit a variety of skill sets and visual acuities, but doing this usually means being a jack of all trades and master of none. To teach JAWS, though, one must have more of a skill level than what they have and he said that the practical experience I have is a very sought after skill.

Doing both of these teaching projects has sparked an inspired fire within me. Using JAWS and other assistive technologies are skills I’ve learned out of necessity, but mastering these and staying up to date on latest innovations in assistive technology was a self serving method for me to maximize my experience and abilities. However, I’ve realized that I have become a resource on using various technologies that many of my friends who are also users of these turn to when they need help or looking at purchasing new equipment. It is that realization mixed with a desire to help that have pushed me to embark on my latest efforts.

The down side of all this is that I’m winding up with less time to write here on Access Ability. Don’t worry, though. I’m still here and will be tending this fire as well. It may be a bit less frequent, but writing here will definitely be something I continue. After all, it was a passion to share resources that drove me to begin this blog in the first place, and that fire still burns.

I just feel that I needed to let regular readers of this blog understand why I’ve been a bit absent of late.

More soon…

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