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Friday, February 10, 2012

Making a Promethean Board flipcharts (smart board) accessible to blind students

How many out there are in school districts where a smart board or  Promethean board with flipcharts are used? These are graphic pictures that anyone with sight can easily see, but to a blind student, it is empty space. Many paraeducators have to take the pictures and turn them into text or braille for the blind student to read. There is the long way to do this, typing one character at a time ( as you cannot copy the images)  or a fast way.

Here is the fast way. You can download a personal  viewer from the company to load on your machine. Open the viewer then the flipchart, go to file, then to print. When the print box opens, you will see the "export as PDF" so save it as such. Place a folder on the desktop with these PDF files, so they are easy to find, especially if you are going to teach the blind student how to do this, and after all, that is what we want. Open Openbook or Kurzweil and go to open file. Go find the file on your desktop and have your OCR program open it. After it opens, go to launch it into word and it opens in Word. All the great text is there. Now be aware, all those pictures will not translate...they will turn out as a list of letters and symbols, so just go through and delete out what was meant for a picture. Now, all that needs to be done is those pictures are created 3-D by the para to go with this work.
One huge advantage I have discovered is on test day, the students can use their notes. If the flipcharts are in text format, then the blind student can do a quick "find" command on their computer and jump to the theorem they need ....actually faster than a sighted student pouring through their notes visually. Once they have the theorem, they alt+tab back to the exam and continue on answering all the problems.
Now this is just 1 way, but where there is a will there is a way to make the world more accessible.

Watch Video: Dr Robinson teaches-Making a Promethean Board flipcharts (smart board) accessible to blind students

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