Google Keep

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Google keep has been around a long time. For those with organisational needs it is brilliant in lots of ways. Colour helps to differentiate the subjects but you can also add labels and make that a way to organise your page. You can have to do lists with check boxes and you can draw. Brilliant  for students who want to collaborate together it would via Google Suite so would interface with Google Docs as well. You can archive when the current work is complete. I confess I am not good at doing this!

Finally, it is free and on all platforms through Google Chrome. Which means I can access it anywhere with the webaddress:-

https://keep.google.com/#home

Using Instagram to get your message out

I run a few websites for organisations and discovered that Instagram can be a powerful tool for sharing images and short captions to Facebook and Twitter. It is possible to use your mobile and be able to send a message out to your other social media outlets using this method as you can see by this screenshot:-

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These accounts have to be connected up to Instagram which is a simple matter to do on your mobile. Create your message and then choose where you would like to send it. This screenshot from my desktop shows your options.

Have fun!

Tackling Dyslexia

Last week was Dyslexia Awareness Week and the focus was on Assistive Technology as well as removing the stigma associated with being dyslexia. The following link takes you to an article on how AT is tackling dyslexia:-

https://www.londonnewsonline.co.uk/technology-assists-in-tackling-dyslexia/ 

Productivity Tools & Enabling Technologies – to Infinity & Beyond!

Terms are rife in the world of technology. One that resonates in the workplace is productivity tools. It’s another phrase for Assistive Technology which has a kind of medical feel to it. I like Abi James’ phrase she uses which is Enabling Technologies. This refers to the empowerment Assistive Technology brings to the lives of individuals.

At AccessAbility Solutions we believe in the enabling and empowerment that technology can bring to individual lives, like the author who has macular degeneration and may need to rely on speech recognition in the future if it deriorates further.  It also applies to the dyslexic learner who may need text to speech in order to decode words and also their meanings. Linking the sound of the word and its constituent letters to the visual word is a powerful aide to the dyslexic.

Abi also referred in her recent webinar for the need to understand beyond what current products to use to the wider need for strategies to employ for successful integration. Abi works on the BDA New Technologies group and along with her colleagues have come up with a strategy called STREET. It’s process led and can be jumped in on at any stage.

STREET

At a time in our education system where ICT is not being promoted so much and often questioned of its value we have a problem Houston. In the UK we do not have a m,ain source of impartial help and advice that is available that relates to Schools. We used to have this. It was called BECTA , now we don’t ! So where can schools go to to receive appropriate advice? This issue in my opinion needs urgent attention and so I would love to hear any educationalist suggestions you may have.

Back to the STREET strategy. If all the  areas are covered it is likely that a new technology will be introduced successfully. I know from my own experience that “simple is best” and that when the technology is matched to the needs and preferences of the user it will work.

One blind lady I have worked with was given the chance to use an Echo Dot. She loved the experience and before I knew it she had bought herself one. She uses it to play games, listen to music and books.  Not only that she bought a second one for her bedroom so that she could have quiet music to go to sleep with. Is the Echo Dot a specialist equipment? No, it is a mainstream, off the shelf device that is being used to enable someone with a severe sensory deficit to access things she loves and activities to her life. That is enabling technologies at work and the trend in the future is going to increase with the advent of AI.

The Shape of Things to Come

This was the title of a 1933 sci fi classic. Whether all the predictions about Artificial Intelligence become true or not what is clear is that it will be good news for the disabled. Seeing AI and Soundscape are 2 apps that show the potential of being able to navigate  successfully your environment .  But we will enter the world of our technology knowing what we want to do before even we do! This could have a massive impact on our lives particularly older people who through disability may need technologies that anticipate need before it happens.

To some extent this is already happening. An Apple watch saved someone’s life when they were having medical problem  before they new it. An alert was sent to the person’s watch to seek medical help immediately and he took himself to the hospital where it was discovered he had ruptured an ulcer. Click below for the full story:-

http://uk.businessinsider.com/apple-watch-saves-life-doctor-says-2018-5

The downside or upside depending on your viewpoint is that has more people wear smart watches that measure heartbeat more and more people are finding our their heartbeat is irregular and going to the doctors to discover they have Atrial Fribulation or AF!! The incidence of AF is being discovered as more widespread than anyone knew!

https://www.tomsguide.com/us/smartwatches-saving-lives,review-5488.html

Wearables is the generic term and we all recognise their usefulness. I personally like to track sleep patterns as I am really poor at getting a good night’s sleep. How else can you know how long you’ve slept. You’ve been asleep, right?  It’s not just the sleep but the quality of sleep – how much was light? How much was REM? These devices graphically show this. So although none of these devices can solve your medical or personal issues it does give you useful information you can act on, make goals for.

One negative effect of wearables is distraction. Great as it is to be notified it does cause you to break off conversations inadvertently (or intentionally!) which my wife says is most infuriating!!

So the future beckons!

 

#21st Century Dyslexia

So many great tools are now embedded into mainstream products which is good news for the dyslexic learner. Did you know that in Word Office 365  you can:-

  • hear definitions when you right mouse click over a mis-spelt word
  • you can also have the definition read back to you with a sub menu and “Read Aloud”
  • you can Review your work under Learning Tools now embedded in Word and have it read back in Syllables, have the background change colour  and the page layout can be altered to suit.
  • you can use speech recognition to enter text directly into your document without the need for additional speech recognition software

For a  short video presentation  of more assistive tools for writing and reading , click on the link below:-