Panel – Brian Norton, Belva Smith, Josh Anderson, Wade Wingler | Q1Elevating a keyboard for a one handed typist Q2 Resource for AT terminology Q3 Accessible apps for editing audio Q4 Training materials for Microsoft Office Q5 Android training resources Q6 Reminder systems with verbal feedback Q7 Are Chromebooks the future of AT?
——-transcript follows ——
WADE WINGLER: Welcome to ATFAQ, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host Brian Norton, Director of Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. This is a show in which we address your questions about assistive technology, the hardware, software, tools and gadgets that help people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Have a question you’d like answered on our show? Send a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ, call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The world of assistive technology has questions, and we have answers. And now here’s your host, Brian Norton.
BRIAN NORTON: Hello and welcome to ATFAQ episode 68. My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show. We are so happy that you’ve taken time this week to tune in with us. Before we get ready to jump into the questions you sent us this past month and a half – we’ve really been out for a while.
WADE WINGLER: We are all a year older now.
BRIAN NORTON: I apologize. We’ve been off for about six weeks. I was out sick a week and then the holidays happened. Now we’re just ready to get back started with the new year. Thanks for not leaving us and joining us again.
BELVA SMITH: We hope they haven’t left us.
BRIAN NORTON: Hopefully I’m not just talking to myself today.
WADE WINGLER: Do we even remember how to do this?
BRIAN NORTON: That was the question when we first came in the studio today.
BELVA SMITH: This is all new, isn’t it Wade?
WADE WINGLER: Belva is rubbing her chin as if she had a beard. Yeah I grew my goatee into a full facial beard.
BRIAN NORTON: Nice.
WADE WINGLER: Jenny asked me to do it.
BELVA SMITH: It looks nice.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s always nice when people can grow beards. I never gone to that point yet.
WADE WINGLER: Somebody said they liked my Papa Smurf beard because of the way I have it trimmed. Then I realized it’s got more white in it. New year, new beard.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. For those who can’t remember six weeks ago, like me and us, I do want to take a moment to go around the room and introduce folks and let you know who’s on our panel today as we jump into your questions. First off, we have Belva Smith in the office, in the studio today. She is the team lead for our vision team here at Easter Seals crossroads. You want to say hey?
BELVA SMITH: Hey everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: And we also have Josh Anderson. He’s the manager of clinical AT here. Josh, you want to say hey to everybody Cree
JOSH ANDERSON: Welcome back everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: Perfect. And also Wade Wingler who is here. He’s the VP of all things —
BELVA SMITH: With a full beard.
JOSH ANDERSON: The recently bearded.
BRIAN NORTON: You want to say hey?
WADE WINGLER: Happy 2018 everybody. Welcome to the new year.
BRIAN NORTON: I was just looking, this is our episode 68, so we’ve been doing this for I want to say close to three years now.
BELVA SMITH: Wow, really?
BRIAN NORTON: it’s going to be three years in February, right?
WADE WINGLER: I can look into what the original release was.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s been a while.
BELVA SMITH: Do we currently have any orders know listeners?
BRIAN NORTON: Maybe.
WADE WINGLER: We might.
BRIAN NORTON: Let us know if you are an original listener to the show.
WADE WINGLER: First episode came out in March 2015 so we are just a few weeks away from our three year anniversary.
BELVA SMITH: So if you’ve been with us the whole time, let us know. That would be interesting to know.
WADE WINGLER: That would get you a prize.
BRIAN NORTON: That would be fun to know.
WADE WINGLER: You’ll get Brian’s Diet Coke.
BRIAN NORTON: For those folks that are new to our show, I just want to let you know a little bit about it and how it works. This is a show that is really questions and answers. We collect or find questions in various places over the weeks, and then we come together as a penalty try to answer the things we find as best we can. We entrusted the questions back to you guys as well. If there are things to know and want to contribute to those, if you want to provide feedback in some way to add some color to our commentary, let us know. Definitely let us know. There are a variety of ways for you to get back in touch with us. There is a listener line set up, 317-721-7124. We also have an email address. It’s tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. We also have a twitter — not a twitter, a hashtag on Twitter. ATFAQ. We monitor that hashtag to collector questions as well.
It’s also not just a great way to contribute with feedback on questions that we are entering today but also send us your questions. Without your questions, we really don’t have a show. We would love to hear from you in that way as well. If you want to tell your friends about ways to find us, we are all over the place. You can go into iTunes. We have a website set up, ATFAQshow.com, or you can go to stitcher, Google play, and a variety of other places. Check us out. We would love to continue to have you guys join us every other week.
BRIAN NORTON: Our first question today is, I am developing computer adaptations for someone who has a left arm only. The job involves the data entry and he uses a 19 inch regular wide keyboard. It forces him to overreach one typing on the right side of his keyboard. I found a 13 inch mini keyboard that reduces reaching distance, so that works for him, but I would like to angle the keyboard so the back edge is higher than the front edge, and that way he can better see the keys. I’m not sure what the optimal angle is cop on my guess is the back edge should be elevated somewhere between 1 and 1.5 inches. Any thoughts on how I might achieve that angle using inexpensive and easy to handle materials?
BELVA SMITH: I actually recently had to do this as well. I got to use something that was very cheap and expensive. The shipping Styrofoam, the black Styrofoam that comes with a lot of our CCTV’s, I was actually able to take some of that, cut it to the perfect length, and shave it down to the right height. We started higher in breakdown to the correct height. Since doing that, I recently learned about the flexible Lego tape. That’s amazing stuff.
BRIAN NORTON: I’ve not played with that stuff before.
WADE WINGLER: My six-year-old got some in his talking this Christmas.
BELVA SMITH: It’s very inexpensive.
BRIAN NORTON: What is that?
BELVA SMITH: It’s tape that is made like Legos. You can actually stacking up to whatever height you need and can get it at Target, pretty much everywhere, for $11.
WADE WINGLER: So you know how you do Lego sometimes, you have that big platform that you build Lego kits on? It’s just like that but is a strip of tape. My little boy has a on the side of his bed. You can put Legos on it and can build whatever you want. A
BRIAN NORTON: That’s cool. I didn’t know that was a real thing. Lego tape. For me I’ve done different things like that. I’ll find whatever I can around the office, whether it is foam or even a piece of wood, stacking up rulers. I’ll find a lot of different things around the office to help raise or something to the right height.
I also found there are things that are designed for laptops the you can set your laptop on. Those actually do give you variable angle that will give you a bundle you can push and slide the laptop up and increase or decrease the anger that you have. I think you would probably need to include some sort of a wrist support because it does raise the keyboard up off of the service that you are on. I know I’ve gone those for ten, fifteen bucks at different times. They are pretty inoffensive as well as far as getting that adjustable and variable height for folks.
JOSH ANDERSON: I think you bring up a good point about some sort of wrist guard. You do need to be careful, if you have it up at that angle, you’re not causing any strain on the wrist.
WADE WINGLER: Thinking ergonomically, you want to make sure that regardless of what you use to raise it, they you’re staying in those neutral wrist positions. You don’t want somebody to extend one way or the other too far and start causing other kinds of problems. That neutral position is important.
BELVA SMITH: I also want to suggest using sticky keys. That might be helpful.
BRIAN NORTON: For that range of motion issue? getting back and forth amongst the keys? For those that don’t know, sticky keys is an option built into Windows and has been around for ages. I think it was originally and Mac.
WADE WINGLER: It was an DOS originally.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s a been around for ages. That allows you to hold down not only the control, shift, alt key but also all of your modifier keys while you are pressing of the keys so that if you don’t have the dexterity or fine motor control to be able to stretch her fingers across overreach those things, you can press one key and let go, reach over and press the other key, and it will do a keystroke combination for you. Very easy to use.
BELVA SMITH: It’s in ease of access. If you want to quickly turn it on it, if you press the shift key five times, it’ll make a funny sound and you will know that it came on because, if you look in the system tray at the bottom right corner, you will see an indicator that sticky keys has been turned on.
BRIAN NORTON: Let me ask about the Lego tape. Can you take Lego tape and fix it to the back of the keyboard?
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.
BRIAN NORTON: And build upon that?
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.
BRIAN NORTON: So then you can even use a little Lego pieces —
BELVA SMITH: What I would do with the keyboard situation is I would put one on the back of the keyboard and then I would put one on the desktop, connect those two together, and determine do I need to add more or is this good.
BRIAN NORTON: I’m just thinking if you have Legos around, they come in really thin size. You can also get bigger blocks. You have variable sizes of Legos to stick back there. That’s an interesting thing.
WADE WINGLER: You can make anything. You can make a car out of it. I world is full of Legos. They hurt my feet.
JOSH ANDERSON: They hurt your feet, but man, are they fun to put together.
BELVA SMITH: You can even use it in a wheelchair situation to attach a remote control to the arm of the chair or even the seat of the chair if you need to. There are a lot of things you can do with that. I don’t know who invented it, but it was a pretty great invention. And it’s cheap.
WADE WINGLER: I’m looking at Amazon right now, and there are generic versions of it for five dollars a roll.
BRIAN NORTON: We’ll have to get some of that around here. That would be a fun. That’s very cool. I learned something today.
BELVA SMITH: You did your job.
BRIAN NORTON: Belva — just for everybody who is listening, she said I’ve got three good answers for today. Was that one of your good answers?
BELVA SMITH: That was one of my good answers.
BRIAN NORTON: Perfect. It was really good.
WADE WINGLER: If the question roll out in the right order, you can just take a nap for part of the show.
BRIAN NORTON: That was really good. I hope that brings some ideas that you want think about as far as getting a keyboard a little bit higher. I would love to hear from folks. If you have other low-tech, low-cost option for folks to increase that angle on a keyboard, get it into a position that folks can get pretty good access to that, that would be great to hear. Definitely chime in. We have a variety of different ways to do that. I’ll throw out our listener line. We love to hear from folks because then it means we can play your voicemail on the show. The listener line is 317-721-7124. Give us a call. We would love to hear from you.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is a phone message. This message is from Dan in California. I’ll go ahead and play that for you.
SPEAKER: Hi, this is Dan calling from California, and this is for the ATFAQ show. First I want to thank all of you for answering my question about the assistive technology terminology versus mainstream technology terminology. I like that answer. My follow-up question is if I want to find out a resource to compare between those terminologies, between assistive technology and mainstream, where do I go to look for them? Or does a project like that not exist yet? That’s my question, where can I find a resource for terminology so I can study them. Before I go, I want to wish you in the show a very happy holiday season and best of health. Thank you very much. I enjoy your show very much.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s a good question.
WADE WINGLER: Which is what Brian says when we don’t have an answer.
JOSH ANDERSON: Good question. We are going to send that out to the callers. Next.
WADE WINGLER: I don’t know if there is a standardized glossary of assistive body terms. If you Google around and look at assistive technology glossaries, if you just put those search terms in, you’re going to find that a lot of organizations have started a glossary or have something. They seem to be pretty specific. I have one appear now from Colorado State University that is a very computer based assistive technology glossary. It includes things like alternative keyboards and braille translation software and FM systems. There are a lot of those out there.
I guess that a lot of times there are academic resources. Here, many of us are ATPs, so we will study for that exam using textbooks like Cook and Hussey which has a lot of terminology as well. That would be a great graduate school project for somebody to create a definitive online glossary or Wiki of assistive technology terms. But I haven’t found a centralized place for that.
BELVA SMITH: PerkinsLearning.org also has what they consider an assistive technology glossary of terms, but that’s probably going to be primarily vision it related from what I’m looking at.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s primarily what they do.
BELVA SMITH: I don’t think there’s going to be just that one source.
WADE WINGLER: Because assistive technology falls into so many different disciplines, you’re going to find those as well. There is a pretty good special education dictionary that’s going to have a lot of special add terms like 504 plans and adequate yearly progress, and it’s going to include some assistive a lot of stuff. I think you are going to be googling a lot. We should start a hashtag on Twitter, ATdictionary, or ATglossary, and get people to put terms out there so you can search the hashtag and find it that way.
BRIAN NORTON: It is a challenge for folks. We all talk in acronyms that make a whole lot of sense to me and you and other folks, but if you are new to the field, the acronyms don’t make any sense. You’re not quite sure what folks are talking about. Having some sort of universal glossary of terminology and words and what they mean, video magnifier, what you’re talking about when you are talking about those kinds of things. It would be helpful.
BELVA SMITH: Here’s another one I found. Again, it started with a Google search. Disabled-World.com.
WADE WINGLER: I’ve seen that one.
BELVA SMITH: That seems like a pretty good one. It looks like it might be pretty broad.
BRIAN NORTON: I’m just going to say — those are just a couple of them. Colorado State, we talked about Perkins.
JOSH ANDERSON: RESNA
BRIAN NORTON: RESNA would be a good place. Belva, what was last when you mentioned?
BELVA SMITH: Disabled dash World.
BRIAN NORTON: I know it a while ago there used to be AbleData.com. Used to be up to go there to find a point to resources about assistive technology.
WADE WINGLER: I don’t know the status of that. That project is one that has been off and on again for years it seems.
BRIAN NORTON: It seems when I go to search there, I get a lot of outdated information and products and stuff like that. I’m sure it is difficult. Things change so quickly and devices change so quickly that it’s probably hard to keep up-to-date unless you have someone who is dedicated to doing that. It might also be a place for folks to check. I’m just wondering what other folks might think of this. Our listeners, if you guys have suggestions for the Dan about where people can go find a list of different terminologies not just for assistive technology but also how it might compare to mention technology and that world as well. That would be a good thing to toss around. Maybe we should do that hashtag, ATdictionary. That would be interesting feedback to get.
WADE WINGLER: It’s interesting. We are sitting here talking about the fact that we don’t know what AbleData is doing these days, but they’ve been tweeting recently. I’m just now realizing that a couple of days ago, they treated the top five assistive technology blogs, and we are in the top five.
BRIAN NORTON: Look at that.
BELVA SMITH: Yay!
JOSH ANDERSON: Woo-hoo!
WADE WINGLER: That’s awesome. So they are doing that.
BRIAN NORTON: Let us know. A great way to send us the information, the listener line I mentioned before, but also you can send us an email at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. We would love to hear from you guys and get Dan more information, if are other resources that you guys might know of, to be able to grab onto different terms and terminologies for assistive technology.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is a phone message again. This one is from Ali, referring back to a previous podcast that we had done, episode 66. I’ll play that message for us.
SPEAKER: My name is Ali. I called for episode 66. My question is for the show ATFAQ. On the last show, what I meant to ask about is audio editing apps instead of video editing apps for Mac, now that I understand the difference. Are there any apps that are voiceover accessible where I can record my teacher’s lecture and edit parts as I write each thing into my notes? Lastly, what are some cheap and affordable ways to learn Windows and Microsoft Office that keep the visually impaired and mind when writing their books? Thank you.
BRIAN NORTON: I think there are two questions with that. The first question is back in episode 66, I think we had interpreted your original a voicemail as looking at a video editing apps that were accessible. I think we are looking more at audio editing apps, which is a little bit of what we do here. This is a podcast so we’re just recording audio.
WADE WINGLER: Is that what this is?
BRIAN NORTON: We use Audacity. Is that right?
WADE WINGLER: We use Adobe Audition. Audacity is a freeware/shareware tool that will do that.
BRIAN NORTON: How do you feel about Adobe audition being accessible?
WADE WINGLER: They are all going to have a challenge because you primarily use a visual way for them to do editing. If you just need to do some basic stuff like cut the beginning off of a recording and cutting and off of a recording, you can use your ears, fast forward, rewind, and then sort of highlight and copy and paste. Audio software is designed primarily to be measurable, at least of mainstream stuff. When we are talking about more accessible tools, I don’t use those so I don’t have a ton of information.
BELVA SMITH: When we got this question, I said if we were talking about audio recording, I would recommend is getting one of the digital recorders instead of trying to use the Mac to do the recording. Again, some of those will come with software when you connect it to the computer that you can use. More than likely, you are going to be able to cut the beginning or the end, but getting in the middle of it and taking things in and out — and I want to remind the caller that it is very important that she has permission to do the recording. Often times — I want say oftentimes, but I have seen where professes will not allow you to do audio recording.
BRIAN NORTON: Especially in the school setting. Sometimes they will keep you from doing that.
JOSH ANDERSON: That’s something I said too, was recording lectures for notetaking, when something like audio note or notability do it? I don’t know if they are trying to post them or have them like that. If they are just trying to do audio editing to make bookmarks or keep information, when something like that work?
BELVA SMITH: That’s a good answer.
WADE WINGLER: Maybe so.
BRIAN NORTON: I did look at AppleVis. We’ve mentioned this on the show previously. They are great resource. They tend to look a lot at Apple products and apps that will work with Apple. They also comment and have commentary on PC related applications as well. A couple of the responses they have given to folks with regard to audio editing apps, one would be using Audacity with the iPhone, just using voice memos on the iPhone to record messages and porting them over to Audacity on the computer and being able to then edit within audacity. They mentioned that as a possibility for folks. There is one — I’m sure I won’t pronounce it right — Hokusai. They also mentioned what about GarageBand to do that stuff as well. Again, I’m not sure what the accessibility is in those, but those workable option for folks. There is also one called Sound Forge.
BELVA SMITH: Sound Forge is very good.
WADE WINGLER: More professional quality.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s good for both PC and Mac. You can create and do some editing with than those. Just a few suggestions for folks.
WADE WINGLER: I’m looking around here. Access World Magazine from AFB has a fairly recent review where they talk about Amadeus Pro for the Mac which is about a $60 program that works pretty well with voiceover. I don’t know if this is current, but the Texas School for the Blind had a tutorial about using Audacity with JAWS. This article is from a few years ago. I don’t know if it continues to have some compatibility. Both of them describe pretty basic kinds of editing, that high-end audio, but if you are just taking lecture notes and slicing them and passing them, that would probably be a good thing to look at.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. Hopefully those are good suggestions you haven’t heard before. Maybe if someone in our listener audience has a suggestion as well, you can let us know. Send us an email at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org, or me believe was a voicemail at our listener line, 317-721-7124. We would love to hear from you guys. Maybe you’ve had some experience with a different app or application for PC or Mac that we could pass on.
BELVA SMITH: We don’t want to forget part two of the question.
BRIAN NORTON: There is a second part to the question. I’m guessing that’s probably because Belva has a really good answer to the question.
BELVA SMITH: Good answer number two.
BRIAN NORTON: Ali also asked are there cheap and affordable training materials for learning Windows and Office that keep visually impaired in mind.
BELVA SMITH: Hadley School for the Blind.
JOSH ANDERSON: That’s what I was going to say.
BRIAN NORTON: We can have you guys arm wrestle.
BELVA SMITH: That’s free online courses the you can sign up for and take at your own pace. They have a whole list of different courses, but they do have some that focus specifically on Windows and then the different Office programs.
JOSH ANDERSON: Everything from Excel, Word.
BRIAN NORTON: How much does it cost? Free?
BELVA SMITH: It’s totally free.
JOSH ANDERSON: They will send you materials in braille. You can do it all online. I think you have to complete so many assignments per month or something like that.
BELVA SMITH: First of all, to get enrolled, you to provide them with written documentation that you are visually impaired or blind, and then you get a lesson. That lesson has to be turned in before you can get your second lesson. They do like for you to turn them in less than 30 days. If it goes longer than 30 days, they might ask what’s going on and maybe even pull you from the program. You don’t want them to do that too many times or there might be consequences to pay.
BRIAN NORTON: There is an enrollment process?
BELVA SMITH: Absolutely.
BRIAN NORTON: You have to send them documentation. But it’s also a training that builds on itself. Take a lesson one, then you can move to listen to.
BELVA SMITH: I looked briefly before we started recording. They’ve added a bunch of iOS trainings. It’s definitely something to look at.
BRIAN NORTON: I think a lot of the software does that. Freedom Scientific — it’s not the VFW —
WADE WINGLER: VFO.
BRIAN NORTON: I came back from vacation on the holidays. I was off for two and half weeks. I realize my tongue doesn’t move the way used to and I’m kind of stuck in molasses. These things that are on the top of my tongue just never come out correctly know. Hopefully that’ll all come back.
WADE WINGLER: Too many Christmas cookies.
BELVA SMITH: Brian, you’re right. You can go to FreedomScientific.com and look at their free webinars or training courses. Some of them you have to pay for; some of them are free. Whether they are going to be specifically about Word or not it’s hard to say, but you may find one about Word or Excel. You can also go to Microsoft’s website. They also offer some free training. Are they going to be giving you keystroke commands? Probably not. But hopefully you know enough about your screen reader that you can adapt those.
BRIAN NORTON: If you use ago, I found something that was interesting and I loved. It was Microsoft Office, when they did a drastic remake of Office. I found training online, it was a video the you could fast-forward or rewind and go back and forth, but it was here where this particular tool was in the older version of office and here is where you will find in the ribbon. I think it was when they moved to ribbons. I thought that was cool.
BELVA SMITH: I’m not sure about the accessibility, but there is a Linda.com.
BRIAN NORTON: That the subscription, right? Is that my understanding?
WADE WINGLER: It is. It’s a great service. We use it for all kinds of things. I mentioned to get into the accessibility of products when they do their training. There are a few accessibility topics, but I’m not sure they are going to do a “Here is Microsoft Word for a screen reader user.”
BELVA SMITH: Right.
BRIAN NORTON: You can get varies product specific training if you go to the website you’re using. If you’re using ZoomText or JAWS, go to their product websites. A lot of times that free tools and resources for you to use. I know ZoomText, on the install, you can ask them for the video to be installed with the installation.
BELVA SMITH: They have ZoomText University that is full of —
BRIAN NORTON: They don’t get into Windows, using Windows and Office. It’s more about the tools built into the software. I know freedom does that.
BELVA SMITH: I would say look at YouTube. Go to YouTube and say how do I use Word with JAWS 2013.
BRIAN NORTON: There are some pretty good resources out there. That’s a good one.
JOSH ANDERSON: These are very good.
BRIAN NORTON: Great suggestions, great answer Belva. Josh. Everybody.
BELVA SMITH: I’m done.
JOSH ANDERSON: She stole it.
BRIAN NORTON: I would ask if you have other resources or know of other libraries for folks to get access to, let us know. We would love to hear from you.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question came through email. It Maranella. This is, “I am across platforming and Android with a Galaxy Tab E things to my phone carrier giving it to me. I’ve been noticing it’s been very jumpy want to use a keyboard and stylus. I tried looking at training through blind services –” which is an offshoot of VR in a lot of states. They call them life services. Is that right?
BELVA SMITH: Yes.
BRIAN NORTON: “But it is not being supported for vocational rehab clients, and I’m not sure what else to look for training.” I think there has been some issues, but she looking for training and Android and is finding a lot available for folks. Do we know of any training resources for Android specifically?
BELVA SMITH: No. And it and I were trying to come up with something, and we couldn’t find anything specific, but we were able to find different YouTube videos on how do I get to the Google play store. And also I’m wondering if this individual is using it with talkback —
BRIAN NORTON: What kind of accessibility are they using?
BELVA SMITH: Yeah. Because that’s what you would probably want to try to first look for. As far as the jumpiness, what could be done to fix that, I don’t really know.
BRIAN NORTON: It almost sounds like it could be a connection issue between Bluetooth or wireless.
BELVA SMITH: That’s what I was going to say.
BRIAN NORTON: I think of a Mac platform, there is a hardwired Logitech keyboard that will use the lightning connection to go ahead and hardwire a keyboard to your iOS device. I’ve seen it used before. At the Logitech keyboard that comes with the lightning cable that you can plug into the bottom and allows you to use as a keyboard. I’m not sure if there is one that can get rid of the wireless connection.
BELVA SMITH: It that’s what the problem is.
BRIAN NORTON: It could be the keyboard itself.
BELVA SMITH: Maybe the batteries in it are weak. Who knows. With a stylus, who knows? There is no connection with that. That’s just a touch device.
JOSH ANDERSON: It shouldn’t cause it to be jumpy at all. I’ve had different styli work better. Some of them have it find point and work well. Some of them have the center point. Some of them don’t seem to work worth a darn. That should cause the jumping.
BELVA SMITH: I for good reviews on the galaxy tablets.
BRIAN NORTON: Those are the ones we use in our loan library. We send out devices to folks for a 30 day loan, let them try something up before they buy it. We have galaxy tabs and other devices. We haven’t had the jumpiness issue at all. Most of our training is one and one here. Usually when we have a training need, they go to our clinical department. We have trained professionals who will come out and spend time with you setting it up in providing the training that you need and is required by whatever funding source you are working with.
BELVA SMITH: That’s good that you bring it up. We do also do a private pay. This individual is saying that Voc Rehab is in supporting the training that they need, but they could try contacting their local support and find out if they would do a private pay with them. I personally have gone to individuals’ homes and did one-on-one training for the iPhone and the iPad because they weren’t consumers of VR, but they had gotten a device and needed to know how to use it with voiceover. That’s a possibility, private pay.
BRIAN NORTON: On our website, if you go to EasterSealsTech.com/states, you’ll find a listing of all the AT Act projects. That’s what we are, we are one of those. We are Indiana’s, the INDATA Project. If you are in a different state, you can go to EasterSealsTech.com/states and find your local resource. Hopefully they’ll be able to point you towards agencies or places where you can do that one-on-one training and maybe even private pay or find some way or connection to get it paid for. I’ll throw that out as an option as well.
BELVA SMITH: I know with the Apple devices, you can go into the Apple store and get training, but I don’t know that you can do that with any of the Android devices.
BRIAN NORTON: I don’t know.
WADE WINGLER: I haven’t had that experience.
BRIAN NORTON: I do know the Apple store, they have an accessibility guy, at least at hours here in Indianapolis, and I’m sure other places as well, where that is what he does. He handles accessibility questions that come through the doors.
WADE WINGLER: It’s interesting as I’m looking around the web as we’re talking about this, the AFB has a whole section of their technology website dealing with accessibility and Android. It points to resources that are gone, dried up. It talks about the Android show podcast that was around for a while. It talks about accessible and in some of the blogs. They all seem to have sort of dropped away. Maybe there is a gap that we are identifying with this question. There seems to be a lot of resources that all pooped out about two or three years ago or three or four years ago, some of them. Interesting.
BELVA SMITH: It’s just so shaky, that Android world, with accessibility. It really is.
BRIAN NORTON: Have because looked at Hadley? I know you mentioned in the previous question that they have a lot for iOS.
BELVA SMITH: I do not specifically look for Android. It would be worth going to look. Like I said, they have a new category with iOS, but I do not specifically look for Android.
BRIAN NORTON: That might be a place to look. Maybe the consensus for us all is there are not a lot of great resources. Belva, I think you mentioned earlier those phones are changing, the tablets are changing, the operating system changes. It’s really hard. There is nothing consistent when you did by Android and what it’s going to look like from device to device and from version to version. It’s probably hard to come up with training materials that have a long lifespan. There lifespan is pretty short. It’s probably hard to do that. Whereas in the iOS world, you have a little bit more consistency to build upon each other. What is there now was probably there before but they’ve added a few extra things that folks and access to.
That’s a good question. For our listeners, this is something I with her out to you guys. If you have some great Android resources for Maranella, that would be great. We would love to hear about that, not just for the listener but also for us. We would love to know about that too. That’s a great thing.
WADE WINGLER: That’s a stumper. We should do a segment on the show called you stumped us, and you get a prize. You can have Brian’s Diet Coke.
BRIAN NORTON: That a lot of Diet Coke.
WADE WINGLER: Get them to sponsor us.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is I am looking for a reminder/alarm app to provide auditory verbal feedback when the alarm goes off. The ones I found so far requires the user to touch the alarm/alert notification before the voice is played. Does anybody have an easy to use app that fits the bill? This is for a sixth grade student. Thanks in advance.
I’ll throw out two that I have used that have voice alarms. The first one is Alarmed. It’s for iOS. I believe it does allow you to do voice alarms. The other one is Aida reminders, another one you can get for iOS. I also believe it is available for Android. Those allow you to do a whole bunch of stuff. You can only do voice reminders, but you can set up recurring reminders, one-time reminders. It comes with a calendar so you can have multiple reminders in a given day or week. It gives you a lot of options. They are very similar apps. I think they do a lot of the similar things and just have different controls and looks.
BELVA SMITH: Can you spell that?
JOSH ANDERSON: No, he cannot.
BRIAN NORTON: A-I-D-A.
WADE WINGLER: It’s named after an opera by Giuseppe Verdi where elephants walk across the stage.
JOSH ANDERSON: Fancy.
BELVA SMITH: I see one that is Aiday 64?
BRIAN NORTON: Probably not that one.
WADE WINGLER: This is Aida Reminders.
JOSH ANDERSON: I’ve used both of those and it depends. There are a lot of different ones. Do you just want it to read what is on the screen? Some of them will allow you to record your voice and have those come up. It says for a sixth grader, so maybe remember to do your homework, remember it’s time for mom to come pick you up. You can have that person’s voice they are used to instead of the robotic voice on the phone.
BRIAN NORTON: I would recommend that over other stuff. Sometimes I’ll even record — if they respond better to mom’s voice than my voice as their AT guy, I’ll let mom record reminder and have her voice go off.
WADE WINGLER: Somebody they are afraid of.
JOSH ANDERSON: For Android or iOS, there are a lot of ops that will let you do that. Almost all of them have three versions, at least the ones I found, see you can try them out. Lot of them, the free one might meet your needs. A lot of times the limit on the free is maybe it can only do 10 different lines. If you only need five, you don’t need to pay for it.
WADE WINGLER: Aida is the one I like. It’s AidaOrganizer.com. It also says on their website that they are voiceover compatible. They are paying a lot of attention to accessibility.
JOSH ANDERSON: In fact, that’s the only one I’ve used it, I think, with voiceover if I remember correctly.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s really good. It’s got a lot of options available to you. One time, recurring voice reminders. It even gives you a picture icon so it helps people associate a task with an icon. If you look at that icon, you know it’s coming of based on what the icon is. It’s not just preloaded pictures. You can also take a picture of something. If they need to read their textbook, you can take a picture of the textbook and stick it in there. It’s a really good. It’s Aida Reminders.
WADE WINGLER: A-I-D-A.
WADE WINGLER: And now it’s time for the wildcard question.
BRIAN NORTON: Don’t forget to let us know if you have a different audio reminder app that does use verbal feedback when the alarm goes off, we would love to hear but those as well. We are going to jump into our last question of the day, the wildcard question. That’s where Wade asked us an off-the-wall question that we haven’t had any time to prepare for. Wade, what have you got?
WADE WINGLER: In the light of the fact that we are in a new year, I thought we would talk about resolutions today. No, out we’re not.
JOSH ANDERSON: That would be really quick.
BELVA SMITH: I didn’t do one.
BRIAN NORTON: For the last 30 years, I’m going to lose 20 pounds.
BELVA SMITH: I want to know what everyone’s new piece of technology was.
BRIAN NORTON: For the new year? For last year?
WADE WINGLER: We may do that one next time. I did have the wildcard question though. Do you have some new technology you are excited about? No?
BRIAN NORTON: Your Roomba, you got that this past year.
JOSH ANDERSON: She’s had that for a while.
BELVA SMITH: I’ve had that for a while.
BRIAN NORTON: But on the last year, right? That would fall into the category.
BELVA SMITH: I like my show too.
WADE WINGLER: Your Echo Show.
BRIAN NORTON: Oh, I was like what TV show have you got?
BELVA SMITH: I got everybody a Google Home, so we all have Alexa and Google.
WADE WINGLER: Speaking of Google, that’s where I’m going with the wildcard question. This is about Chromebooks. I’m seeing more and more, I teach special educators about assistive technology. I read recently that in schools, over 50% of the technology in the classroom are Chromebooks. In my role as an IT person, we had a staff member say if I had a Chromebooks, what I be able to use Remote Desktop and get in and check my email with that kind of thing? My question is, what do you guys see out there when it comes to the prevalence of Chromebooks, the accessibility of Chromebooks. You can buy them for $2-300 dollars. Is that where we are going in the school world? Should I be buying that for my kids instead of the next iPad? What are you guys seeing when it comes to Chromebooks? And are there places when they are not the right answer?
BRIAN NORTON: I have a 15-year-old daughter. She’s a freshman in high school. I also have a seventh grader. She’s in middle school. They both use Chromebooks. I think because of the cost, I think a lot of schools are moving towards that type of technology because it is less expensive than a full-fledged laptop and is not quite as prone to break us some of your mobile technology, your tablets and stuff like that. I think the prevalence is 50%. That doesn’t surprise me a bit. I think as far as accessibility is concerned, you have a lot of accessibility available to you through the chrome book store or whatever it is, so as long as you have the rights to be able to add things to the web interface that you find on a Chromebooks, I think you can get a lot of tools.
Are they as good as some of these things that we have for a full-fledged Windows, JAWS, NVDA, other kinds of screen readers, more traditional assistive technology? I don’t know. I do know there are lots of add-ins and add-ons to the chrome browser that you can get a fairly good amount of accessibility.
BELVA SMITH: I with her that based upon the fact that you told us in this room that both of your daughters were using Chromebooks — one of the podcast I listen to, they highly recommend the chrome book. It’s a lot to do with the security. Chromebooks are supposed to be more secure than your Windows PC, plus if it crashes you don’t lose everything bigger stuff notion
WADE WINGLER: Is that what the security is about? It’s all in the clouds so you are basically running a souped-up web browser on your computer?
BELVA SMITH: Based on that information, I did buy both of my grandkids, the older ones that are in school, a Chromebook for Christmas. They are really powerful Chromebooks with the 15 inch screen, $249 is what I paid for them.
BRIAN NORTON: They are really inexpensive. Most of these places are using online learning management systems. Canvas is what my daughter uses.
BELVA SMITH: Both of the kids, immediately within five minutes, we had them set up, locked in, and they were on their school website through their online learning stuff. Not only that, but right out of the box it has voice.
BRIAN NORTON: It’ll talk you through the setup.
BELVA SMITH: And you have a screen reader ready to go. We have one here that I set up a while back. It’s been a long time, but I set it up and created an email account. With no additional software, I’m able to use that Chromebook.
BRIAN NORTON: It has Google Docs. If you log into your Google account, it’ll have Google Docs. You have spreadsheets, a word processor, PowerPoint or slides.
JOSH ANDERSON: I agree. My stepdaughter went to a school that had those and now they have MacBooks.
WADE WINGLER: That cost 10 times as much.
JOSH ANDERSON: I don’t know if it cost that much. I don’t see that bill. I have a cousin who is a teacher, and they use nothing but Chromebooks. A lot of the reason is the control the teacher can have. They can see everything the student is on every time. If the kids are smart, you can block as many sites as you want and they are so going to find something else to watch. You don’t want to punish the kid who is reading ESPN who has an A as opposed to the kids who aren’t there. I know that’s one reason they keep those. As far as accessibility, as long as you can use the built in, I think you are fine. If you have to put any other accessible software on there, I don’t know if they have the power to run it well.
WADE WINGLER: What if you need switch access or keyboard access or voice input? Do they have some sort of dictation tool?
JOSH ANDERSON: I never used that. I’ve used some of the add-ins. Read and Write has a pretty good at in that you can put right in there that will read most of the stuff online and most of the stuff on Google docs and stuff like that. If you need to create a word document, that’s going to be a little bit different, but you’re probably not using those Microsoft programs.
BRIAN NORTON: There are dictation add-ins.
BELVA SMITH: I do know that as part of the iCanConnect program, we have talked about whether or not the Chromebooks would be a good answer.
BRIAN NORTON: Tell our listeners what iCanConnect is.
BELVA SMITH: iCanConnect is a program that we are in partnership with Perkins School for the Blind to provide the services for. It is a program that is funded by the FCC to provide technology to individuals that are both hearing and visually impaired. We’ve discussed whether or not the Chromebooks would be a good option for these individuals. In some cases, we’ve decided that they would be. Not in all of them, but like anything else, it works for some folks but not everybody. It certainly is an option to be considered.
BRIAN NORTON: I really do like my daughters’ Chromebooks. They are very lightweight, very durable. I think very good option for folks. I think the challenge becomes finding the right add-on that’s going to work for you. You’re going to have to try different things. Lot of stuff is free. They are pretty much locked down from the school, but I’m thinking most computers from the schools are going to be locked down anyway. You’re going to have to go to somebody and ask them to give you permission to add something to it. I think they work really well.
BELVA SMITH: For me, shopping for it, the first hurdle was figuring out which one I wanted to buy. It’s kind of like the world of Android. I thought there was one Chromebook, but everybody makes it. And they are all just slightly different because they have — it’s not even RAM. It’s ECC or whatever.
BRIAN NORTON: My daughters have a Dell Chromebook.
BELVA SMITH: The was about were HP Chromebooks.
BRIAN NORTON: that’s our show today. We made it through.
WADE WINGLER: After a long winter.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s been six weeks. Not too many tongue twister is but we made it through. I want to say thank you for tuning in and listening to us. Please send us your questions, your feedback. We love to hear from you. We have a listener line that is 317-721-7124. We also have a hashtag set up, #ATFAQ. You can email us at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org we really want to hear from you guys and enjoy hearing from you. Without you guys, we really don’t have a show so be a part of it.
WADE WINGLER: Information provided on Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions does not constitute a product endorsement. Our comments are not intended as recommendations, nor is our show evaluative in nature. Assistive Technology FAQ is hosted by Brian Norton; gets editorial support from Mark Stewart and Belva Smith; is produced by me, Wade Wingler; and receives support from Easter Seals Crossroads and the INDATA project. ATFAQ is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more of our shows at www.accessibilitychannel.com.
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