Learning What you Need

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Skype, Google Talk, Texting

Skype and Google Talk are tools that allow students to talk to one another using the Internet. People can communicate with each other using talking software program calledJAWS.

One of my students was moving through her lessons quickly and thought it was time to move her to the next level of technology. I have all my students tied together with email, so they can "talk" with their new friends anywhere and anytime. This particular student is low vision and has a really good friend, who happens to be sighted, a couple hundred miles away. I thought if I could teach her how to video chat, she and her friend that she has never met in person could take it to the next level of friendship—virtually meeting.

My student learned how to use SKYPE with the mouse. Everything VERY enlarged so she could read it. She was slow to respond to text messages because it was very laborious to read. Her favorite part was the actual video where she could talk as if standing next to each other.

Because of the slow response in texting in Skype, I decided to switch her to Firefox, Gmail with a video plugin, Google talk and texting. JAWS talks everything in Gmail. Her texting became very quick because JAWS would read the reply from her friends and she could quickly text back.

In our lessons, which are virtual, with me at my home and hers a distance away, I told her she was doing great with Firefox, texting and her video, but I needed to go find all the hotkeys for Skype and JAWS. She text back very quickly that she loved using the mouse. I replied, that was fine and I would just create a lesson on Skype hotkeys for my others students. About 2 seconds later, she text back that maybe she should have them too since she moved so much faster with the keyboard then trying to read the text. I replied that was fine and she could use any method she wanted when she choose.

Choices: Life is about choices and having many tools in your toolbox of learning.

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