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PHNO SCIENCE & INFOTECH NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports)

BY EDEN ESTOPACE: HOW BLIND, LOW-VISION YOUTH LEARN TO USE COMPUTERS


SEPTEMBER 5 -Microsoft YouthSpark program Coding for Accessibility aims to cultivate computer science skills among young people with visual impairment. September 5, 2016 -A non-governmental organization in Cubao, Quezon City has embraced a difficult mission to teach blind and low-vision youths to use computers. The Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of the Visually Impaired (ATRIEV) has been doing this for years, but a new partnership with Microsoft Philippines has allowed them to give the training for free for one year, and the school now has the latest software for classroom use. ATRIEV currently has 14 students enrolled in the program, which started last Aug. 15. The program has three phases – digital literacy, introduction to computer science and web publishing, and one-on-one coaching for programming. As of last week, the students were already done with the Windows basic module under the digital literacy program. Chito Pabin, lead trainer at ATRIEV, says that means they can now navigate the different elements of the Windows environment – they know how to navigate the desktops, they can go to the different icons and the start menu, they can switch between open applications and do multitasking as well. READ MORE...

ALSO: Digital Literacy for the Blind & Low Vision


Two female students share the same earphones, smiling as they use a screen reader software translate to audio whatever is displayed on their computer screen. Two other students, male, in the same table work intently on their laptops.
ATRIEV, in partnership with Microsoft YouthSpark, invites you to: •Learn Windows operating system and Microsoft Office applications •Use a screen reader or screen magnification software
•Keep your computer safe from common threats, like viruses and malware •Join workshops on life skills and presentation and platform skills
OPEN to persons with visual impairment, with or without computer background: CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Microsoft Commitment to Accessibility


Bill Gates "Our vision is to create innovative technology that is accessible to everyone and that adapts to each person's needs. Accessible technology eliminates barriers for people with disabilities and it enables individuals to take full advantage of their capabilities." —Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation Accessibility Mission & Strategy
Learn how Microsoft is striving to build products that are accessible to everyone and helping people realize their full potential. History of Microsoft Commitment to Accessibility For more than two decades, Microsoft has focused on developing products and services that enable people of all ages and abilities to realize their full potential. CONTINUE READING...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

How blind, low-vision youths learn to use computers


SEPTEMBER 5 -Microsoft YouthSpark program Coding for Accessibility aims to cultivate computer science skills among young people with visual impairment.

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 5, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Eden Estopace (The Philippine Star) September 5, 2016 -A non-governmental organization in Cubao, Quezon City has embraced a difficult mission to teach blind and low-vision youths to use computers.

The Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of the Visually Impaired (ATRIEV) has been doing this for years, but a new partnership with Microsoft Philippines has allowed them to give the training for free for one year, and the school now has the latest software for classroom use.

ATRIEV currently has 14 students enrolled in the program, which started last Aug. 15.

The program has three phases – digital literacy, introduction to computer science and web publishing, and one-on-one coaching for programming. As of last week, the students were already done with the Windows basic module under the digital literacy program.

Chito Pabin, lead trainer at ATRIEV, says that means they can now navigate the different elements of the Windows environment – they know how to navigate the desktops, they can go to the different icons and the start menu, they can switch between open applications and do multitasking as well.

READ MORE...

It’s still a long journey, but like more than a thousand others who have trained under ATRIEV, in a digital world, digital literacy is a must for everyone, including persons with disabilities.

Tony Llanes Jr., executive director of ATRIEV, says the organization has already produced graduates who went on to become medical transcriptionists, computer science teachers, software analysts, SEO managers, call center agents and more.

“We train not only blind students, but also blind and non-blind trainers such as special education teachers, rehabilitation specialists, and barangay workers so that when they go back to their respective communities, they can share the knowledge and skills,” he says.


Microsoft Philippines executives pose with teachers and students of ATRIEV, or Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of the Visually Impaired.

Under the partnership deal with Microsoft, ATRIEV gets cash covering all of the phases of the training, and software (Windows 10 and Office Professional Plus).

The tech firm will also expand ATRIEV’s Digital Literacy training curriculum and will develop a trainers’ training curriculum to groom at least 10 visually impaired participants who will be qualified as trainers by the end of the program.

Aleandre Kwan of MSFI says that this is because they need to ensure that the program is sustainable after the end of the partnership. “We don’t want it to end when the project ends, we want it to last. So we put a premium on training the trainers. It is also about capacity building,” she says.

Llanes affirms that blind instructors are proven more effective in teaching the blind computer skills. With the subjects led by the blind for the blind, fundamental concepts can be better explained in the context of the students’ special learning needs.

How does one teach the visually impaired, for example, the concept of fonts, colors or even the cursor?

Pabin says technology plays a crucial role in making it easy to teach computer skills to the blind and those with low vision, whether the teacher is blind or sighted.

One of the software ATRIEV is using is Screen Reader, a non-visual desktop access or NVDA (a free sofware from the internet) created by a visually impaired for the visually impaired. Basically, the software converts into voice whatever one is doing onscreen.

“If you type A or B, it will read A and B also to the user,” Pabin explains. Windows 10, according to Llanes, also now has a Narrator feature, which reads text on the screen aloud and describes things on the desktop such as notifications or calendar appointments.


SCREENGRAB PHOTO OF Carol Catacutan. Meet her in the video below.

Carol Catacutan, ATRIEV operations manager, says that this is an exciting year for ATRIEV as it will be the first time that they will be introducing lessons such as HTML, CSS, phyton programming and web accessibility.

“The class will be handled by one of our visually impaired graduates who is a magna cum laude graduate of Informatics,” she says proudly.

At the end of the program in August next year, there will be a hackathon for the blind, which will allow not only ATRIEV students but computer science students from various universities and science high schools to create solutions for the blind and those with low vision.

Raul Cortez, Microsoft Philippines’ director for corporate, external, and legal affairs (CELA), says that there is no exclusivity as far as developing solutions for the visually impaired is concerned, so the hackathon is open to everyone.

“However, the whole project is really about providing the youth with the necessary skills to either continue school or seek employment at the end of the program,” he says. “We believe that technology is the great equalizer. By giving access to as many people, we achieve our overall mission of empowering every organization and every person in the planet.”

Cortez stresses that ideally, there should be no distinction between the blind and the sighted when using technology. “People have different abilities, not disabilities,” he says.

For the entire duration of the project, Microsoft and ATRIEV hope to train 90 youth with visual impairment, 30 of whom will proceed to take formal IT courses in mainstream schools.

The project is part of the Coding for Accessibility project, a Microsoft YouthSpark program increase access to computer science education for all.

According to Kwan, another project which Microsoft is running this year is developing computational thinking skills among the youth through its partnership with Gawad Kalinga.

“We are bringing these computational thinking skills seminars in underserved communities in Iloilo, Davao, and Compostela Valley.

Like the partnership with ATRIEV, it will also have multiple phases and a trainers’ training module for teachers and youth leaders.

Another phase is the social business camp, which will train the youths to create social enterprises and social businesses,” she says.

 
https://youtu.be/F0ZbV1oWnXM
Carol Catacutan delivers an inspirational message on inclusive education ATRIEV
ATRIEV
Published on Nov 19, 2012
Carol Catacutan, totally blind writer, speaks about her personal experiences on inclusive education during the launch of the Knowledge for Development Center at the Central Philippine University in Iloilo held on May 7, 2009.


FROM THE ATRIEVE BLOG
https://atriev.wordpress.com/

Digital Literacy for the Blind & Low Vision


Two female students share the same earphones, smiling as they use a screen reader software translate to audio whatever is displayed on their computer screen. Two other students, male, in the same table work intently on their laptops.

ATRIEV, in partnership with Microsoft YouthSpark, invites you to:

•Learn Windows operating system and Microsoft Office applications
•Use a screen reader or screen magnification software
•Keep your computer safe from common threats, like viruses and malware
•Join workshops on life skills and presentation and platform skills

OPEN to persons with visual impairment, with or without computer background:

CONTINUE READING...

•high school and college students, preferably those who will specialize in IT
working professionals
•6 weeks, Aug 15 – Sep 23, 2016. Mon-Fri, 830am-530pm at the ATRIEV Training Center, Quezon City. 

Register now. Call Babes Buendia. Tel +632 725 4191, 370-5699. Mobile +63 9183046118, 9173958202, 9333018154

Registration fee – 500 pesos. Lodging available for those who come from outside Metro Manila.

In ATRIEV, we teach the blind how to use computers

And we help the blind develop life skills so they can live independently, find a job, work in a team, and communicate well.


Photo of Dieter alighting from a jeepney
Dieter, an ATRIEV graduate, alighting from a jeepney, on his way to work


ATRIEV’s pool of trainers and staff, many of them wearing the organization’s signature colors yellow and violet, wave happily to mark ATRIEV’s founding anniversary in 2013. ATRIEV was established on October 23, 1999

Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of the Visually Impaired (ATRIEV)
3rd Floor, 1680 Corner E. Rodriguez Sr. Boulevard and Los Angeles Street, Cubao, Quezon City 1111, Philippines
Telephone +63 2 725 4191

Email atrievorg@gmail.com

Like us on facebook.com/atriev

Subscribe to our eNewsletter

Explore our blog @ https://atriev.wordpress.com/


MICROSOFT INC
https://www.microsoft.com/enable/microsoft/

Microsoft Commitment to Accessibility


Bill Gates "Our vision is to create innovative technology that is accessible to everyone and that adapts to each person's needs. Accessible technology eliminates barriers for people with disabilities and it enables individuals to take full advantage of their capabilities." —Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation

Accessibility Mission & Strategy

Learn how Microsoft is striving to build products that are accessible to everyone and helping people realize their full potential.

History of Microsoft Commitment to Accessibility

For more than two decades, Microsoft has focused on developing products and services that enable people of all ages and abilities to realize their full potential.

CONTINUE READING...

Research About Accessibility

Microsoft conducts and commissions research with a goal to enhance the user experience on computing devices. Read about the current research projects that will make the computer more accessible, and easier to see, hear, and interact with.

Microsoft and Section 508

Microsoft believes our commitment to accessible products and solutions will allow us to support government in making accessible technology choices. And, we believe, Section 508 reinforces the best practices that our organization already performs.

Guides

Accessibility Guides for Businesses and Government Organizations Developing an Accessible Technology Plan


These guides from Microsoft provide information about accessibility and accessible technology to help organizations worldwide ensure that everyone has equal access to information and services.

Identify the Right Assistive Technology Products
Identifying the best assistive technology solution often requires an in-depth needs assessment to understand how a difficulty or impairment impacts computer use.

There are many types of assistive technology products and hundreds of products available. To be sure you have identified the right product to meet your needs, locate an accessibility center in your area or use a needs assessment tool.

Microsoft Accessibility Resource Centers are available to help you identify the right assistive technology before you purchase a product, and to help you set up your computer and train you on how to use the new product. Many of these centers have lending services, so you can try a product before committing to purchasing it. These centers provide expert consultation on assistive technology and accessibility built into Microsoft products. Each center is equipped with video demonstrations and accessibility tutorials that show you how to make computing easier, more convenient, and more comfortable.

The following assessment tool helps organizations and individuals select accessible and assistive technology products.

Assistive Technology Decision Tree by UnumProvident (738 KB) leads you through questions based on the type of impairment to identify assistive technology products that you might consider.

UnumProvident is a company dedicated to helping people with disabilities by providing income protection and back-to-work products and services.

Assistive Technology Products


WATCH MICROSOFT VIDEO: https://youtu.be/i5lPjZCOcng
The blind Saqib Shaikh (Awesome) Published on Mar 30, 2016 Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/groups/Windo... Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/wpandpc/ Site (Bulgarian language) - http://winapps.webnode.com/ Category People & Blogs

Types of Assistive Technology Products
Assistive technology products are designed to provide additional accessibility to individuals who have physical or cognitive difficulties, impairments, and disabilities. When selecting assistive technology products, it is crucial to find products that are compatible with the computer operating system and programs on the particular computer being used.

Below are descriptions of the various types of assistive technology products that are currently available on the market today. You may also want to use a tool to identify the right type of assistive technology that might be useful.

Descriptions of Assistive Technology Products
Alternative input devices allow individuals to control their computers through means other than a standard keyboard or pointing device. Examples include:

Alternative keyboards—featuring larger- or smaller-than-standard keys or keyboards, alternative key configurations, and keyboards for use with one hand.

Electronic pointing devices—used to control the cursor on the screen without use of hands. Devices used include ultrasound, infrared beams, eye movements, nerve signals, or brain waves.

Sip-and-puff systems—activated by inhaling or exhaling.
Sip-and-Puff or Sip 'n' Puff (SNP) technology is a method used to send signals to a device using air pressure by "sipping" (inhaling) or "puffing" (exhaling) on a straw, tube or "wand." It is primarily used by people who do not have the use of their hands. It is commonly used to control a motorized wheelchair by quadriplegics with very high injury to their spinal column or people with ALS. Devices that use SNP technology require specific amounts of air pressure to be "sipped" or "puffed" by the user. With the assistance of an aid or technician, the user will program the SNP device to recognize their body's ability to produce hard sips/puffs and soft sips/puffs. Once this calibration process is complete, the SNP device will only recognize the user specific sips and puffs that have been saved into the SNP device


Wands and sticks—worn on the head, held in the mouth or strapped to the chin and used to press keys on the keyboard

Joysticks—manipulated by hand, feet, chin, etc. and used to control the cursor on screen.

Trackballs—movable balls on top of a base that can be used to move the cursor on screen.

Touch screens—allow direct selection or activation of the computer by touching the screen, making it easier to select an option directly rather than through a mouse movement or keyboard. Touch screens are either built into the computer monitor or can be added onto a computer monitor.

Braille embossers transfer computer generated text into embossed Braille output. Braille translation programs convert text scanned-in or generated via standard word processing programs into Braille, which can be printed on the embosser.

Keyboard filters are typing aids such as word prediction utilities and add-on spelling checkers that reduce the required number of keystrokes. Keyboard filters enable users to quickly access the letters they need and to avoid inadvertently selecting keys they don't want.

Light signaler alerts monitor computer sounds and alert the computer user with light signals. This is useful when a computer user can not hear computer sounds or is not directly in front of the computer screen. As an example, a light can flash alerting the user when a new e-mail message has arrived or a computer command has completed.

On-screen keyboards provide an image of a standard or modified keyboard on the computer screen that allows the user to select keys with a mouse, touch screen, trackball, joystick, switch, or electronic pointing device. On-screen keyboards often have a scanning option that highlights individual keys that can be selected by the user. On-screen keyboards are helpful for individuals who are not able to use a standard keyboard due to dexterity or mobility difficulties.

Reading tools and learning disabilities programs include software and hardware designed to make text-based materials more accessible for people who have difficulty with reading. Options can include scanning, reformatting, navigating, or speaking text out loud. These programs are helpful for those who have difficulty seeing or manipulating conventional print materials; people who are developing new literacy skills or who are learning English as a foreign language; and people who comprehend better when they hear and see text highlighted simultaneously.

Refreshable Braille displays provide tactile output of information represented on the computer screen. A Braille "cell" is composed of a series of dots. The pattern of the dots and various combinations of the cells are used in place of letters. Refreshable Braille displays mechanically lift small rounded plastic or metal pins as needed to form Braille characters. The user reads the Braille letters with his or her fingers, and then, after a line is read, can refresh the display to read the next line.

Screen enlargers, or screen magnifiers, work like a magnifying glass for the computer by enlarging a portion of the screen which can increase legibility and make it easier to see items on the computer. Some screen enlargers allow a person to zoom in and out on a particular area of the screen. [NOTE: PHNO is a ZOOM-TEXT MAGNIFIER user]

Screen readers are used to verbalize, or "speak," everything on the screen including text, graphics, control buttons, and menus into a computerized voice that is spoken aloud. In essence, a screen reader transforms a graphic user interface (GUI) into an audio interface. Screen readers are essential for computer users who are blind. [PHNO is a KURZWEIL 1000 screen reader user]

Speech recognition or voice recognition programs, allow people to give commands and enter data using their voices rather than a mouse or keyboard. Voice recognition systems use a microphone attached to the computer, which can be used to create text documents such as letters or e-mail messages, browse the Internet, and navigate among applications and menus by voice. [PHNO is a JAWS user]

Text-to-Speech (TTS) or speech synthesizers receive information going to the screen in the form of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks, and then "speak" it out loud in a computerized voice. Using speech synthesizers allows computer users who are blind or who have learning difficulties to hear what they are typing and also provide a spoken voice for individuals who can not communicate orally, but can communicate their thoughts through typing.

Talking and large-print word processors are software programs that use speech synthesizers to provide auditory feedback of what is typed. Large-print word processors allow the user to view everything in large text without added screen enlargement.

TTY/TDD conversion modems are connected between computers and telephones to allow an individual to type a message on a computer and send it to a TTY/TDD telephone or other Baudot equipped device.

Assistive Technology Products

Information for Assistive Technology Manufacturers

Microsoft works closely with assistive technology companies to improve compatibility of assistive technology products with Microsoft products, and to help assistive technology companies best utilize the Windows platform for AT innovation.

As a result, computer users with disabilities who rely on AT products will have better AT product solutions. Microsoft works more closely with the manufacturers of assistive technology products that are a part of this program.

For more information email ablecat@microsoft.com


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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