EVENTS & WEBINARS
Best Practices in Assistive Technology Training Instruction for Blind and Visually Impaired Adults
David Kingsbury is an Assistive Technology instructor at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts
This presentation focusses on lessons learned over more than three decades of adult assistive technology instruction at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton Massachusetts. Training is conducted individually or in small groups (three to four people) with duration varying from just a few hours to several weeks. Most instruction covers using screen readers and screen magnification (primarily JAWS, ZoomText or Fusion) in the Windows environment. File management, Word, Outlook, Excel, and web browsing are important topics. Smart phone use (primarily iPhone/iPad with Voiceover) has also emerged as an important area for instruction.
Prior to the COVID 19 crisis, all training was provided face-to-face. Since March of this year, training has been conducted remotely, and lessons are beginning to emerge on the strengths and weaknesses of this approach.
Among the lessons learned are:
• Individual or small group training tailored to the specific needs and capacities of participants is most effective.
• Adult motivation to learn is often very strong, especially among those who used computers prior to sight loss.
• Identifying core techniques and topics to be mastered by the end of training is essential, while at the same time creating awareness and providing reference material on important but perhaps less essential topics.
• Providing reference materials in both audio and text format is useful for building skills.
• Identification of ways for participants to continue improving their technology skills after training has ended is critical for fostering future independence.
Dr. Pooja Desai is MHA, DOMS, MBBS.
Covid-Care Webinar Series