Having an 'eye' to learn computers

Five-day workshop for visually-impaired to conclude today

Having an 'eye' to  learn computers

A man on a wheel-chair was teaching a classroom about Microsoft Excel. However, a majority of the students in the classroom were impaired enough to never have set their eyes on a computer all their life.

Yet, these pupils were learning and scribbling notes, as the man on the wheel-chair touched upon the short-cuts on the key-board that would help them work on a computer.
A five-day workshop on ‘Orientation Course on Computer Applications for Visually Impaired’ is being held at JSS Polytechnic for Differently Abled here on Thursday.

The workshop, organised by the National Institute for Visually Handicapped, which will conclude on Friday, comprises of students from two blind schools, participants from NGOs working for the blind and home-trainers for specially abled children.

The trainer on the wheel-chair was Shankar S, a lecturer at the polytechnic college.
He, along with other lecturers, has strived to build a mental picture for operating a computer in the minds of the visually impaired over the past three days.

Screen reading software

Training was conducted largely using screen reading software called JAWS, short for Job Access With Speech. The software assists the blind in hearing what they type or on what is the cursor pointing in the computer.

Demand

However, the participants were not satisfied. Shekar, a participant, stood up during a class and requested that such programmes be conducted for a longer duration, so that they could learn more about computers.

Other students echoed his opinion. The enthusiasm of the specially-abled to master computers did strike a chord of inspiration for other participants attending the workshop, who smiled in agreement.

“The task of training VIPs is not an easy task. We try to educate by providing them with either Braille or audio notes,” said Shankar.

“VIP means visually impaired people, a term we use here to motivate the blind, so that their disabilities do not impair them for learning”, he added.

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