Future Reflections Convention 1999, Vol. 18 No. 4

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Accessible Educational Software for Blind Students

by Bruce McClanahan

Photo of Bruce McClanahan (20128 bytes)
Bruce McClanahan

From the Editor: Bruce McClanahan and Colleen Lines, educators at the Washington State School for the Blind, have done some remarkable, ground-breaking work in the area of creating accessible educational software for blind students. Especially exciting is the work they have done to make some materials accessible to preschool and early elementary children. I was tremendously pleased, then, when they accepted invitations to conduct workshops for parents at the 1999 convention. Due to a serious illness, Colleen could not attend. However, Bruce came, conducted his workshops, and even stayed around a few days to participate in the convention activities and to talk to parents and teachers. Bruce made a favorable impression on parents and teachers at the convention and, apparently, the experience made an impression on Bruce. Recently, I received the following e-mail message and article from Bruce. This is what it said:

Dear Barbara:

I have enclosed an article on the accessible software that the Washington School for the Blind will be making available. The NFB convention was the determining point in my decision to give this software to WSSB. WSSB does have a distribution method for the software through the use of the inmates (who have been trained by Colleen) at the Washington Women’s Correction Center. All of this information will be on the Web soon.

Sincerely, Bruce

Somehow it seems appropriate that we announce this noteworthy gift during the holiday season that honors the unselfish gift-giver. Thank you Bruce, thank you Colleen, thank you Washington School for the Blind. Here now, is Bruces’s article:

If you want access software for
blind students, you’ve come
to the right place!

Washington State School for the Blind
2214 E. 13
th Street
Vancouver, WA 98661
<www.wssb.org>

Overview

Bruce McClanahan and Colleen Lines of the Washington State School for the Blind have been developing specialized access software for the blind since 1991. Now, all of this software can be either directly downloaded from, or ordered from, the Washington State School for the Blind Website: <www.wssb.org>.

Grolier Encyclopedia

Blind students at WSSB have been using the Grolier encyclopedia since 1991. We’ve written custom script files from the JAWS for Windows program that enable blind students to access the encyclopedia. The script files for Grolier 1999 and 2000 are directly available on the WSSB Website. Extensive documentation is included in the package. Download your copy now!

Word Processing Lessons

Numerous word processing lessons have been created for teaching students how to use JAWS for Windows with Microsoft Word and the Grolier encyclopedia. The materials were created for computer skills classes taught at WSSB and for thematic summer school classes that have been taught at WSSB and British Columbia. Feel free to download these lessons and use them with your students!

Orientation and Mobility Lessons

We’ve developed a set of talking orientation and mobility maps using IntelliTools. There are currently 12 talking orientation and mobility maps on our Website, all in the Windows environment. Download a set of talking maps for use with your orientation and mobility students today!

Preschool Software

Want to use early elementary software with blind children? WSSB has the answer. We’ve created the following access software packages for both Macintosh and Windows. IntelliTools software is required for the access packages. Ordering information is on the WSSB Website.

Please note that these are access packages. The software itself must be purchased from Edmark.

Materials for the Macintosh

Math Package: IntelliPics Lessons

* Preschool activity

* Counting activity

* Math drills single digit

* Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division

* Simplifying fractions

Edmark Access Package

Package includes access for:

* Bailey’s Book House

* Millie’s Math House

* Sammy’s Science House

Materials for Windows

Math Package: IntelliPics Lessons

* Preschool activity

* Counting activity

* Math drills single digit

* Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division

* Simplifying fractions

Edmark Access Packages

Package includes access for:

* Travel the World with Timmy

* Mille and Bailey Preschool

Distribution

Inmates at the Washington Women’s Correction Center are doing all of the Braille labeling and "tactualizing" of our overlays. These overlays will be sold at the cost that it takes to produce them. Information on cost will be available on the WSSB Website.

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