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Our Mission:
“To serve as a resource for families, professionals, schools and organizations in meeting the needs of children who are blind or visually impaired.”

Technology Week

Category:Week-Long Day Camp

Project Overview: Students spend the week learning about various types of access technology.

Rationale: Children who are blind can benefit from the use of access technology to assist them in all areas of life. They may not know about all the technology that is available to them. This camp gives them the opportunity to learn about new technology and practice using it in a hands-on setting.

Expanded Core Curriculum Areas Addressed: Use of Assistive Technology, Career Education, Social Interaction Skills, Orientation and Mobility, Self Determination, Compensatory Skills, Independent Living Skills, Recreation & Leisure Skills

Suggested Age Group: 7-12th graders

Description: This camp changes each year, as many of the same students return. It also changes to reflect the most current technological advancements and the needs of students. Following are some of the activities that have been included as part of the camp over the years. The activities included in any given year depend on the campers’ ages and technology needs as well as camp schedule and resources.

The daily itinerary usually follows this format:
10:00-11:00 Presentation
11:00-12:00 Lunch Break
12:00-2:00 Hands on activities

Presentations by AT Companies:
Serotek, Freedom Scientific, and Humanware have all sent representatives to discuss and demonstrate the latest AT products that are offered by their companies. This is a great way for the students to see and try the newest products on the market. Sometimes the representatives are visually impaired themselves. Talking with the representatives provides a great opportunity for the students to learn more about possible careers in the field of AT. As an added bonus, representatives often bring fun freebies.

Accessible Cell Phones:
This session can be led by competent users of accessible cell phone technology. If you can, bring in a representative from a cell phone company to demonstrate what products their company offers to make cell phones accessible for the blind and visually impaired. Many students are already using cell phones, but they may not know all the apps and features that can make their phones more accessible to them.

Taking apart a computer:
Students work together with an adult to take apart a computer. We used a computer that is no longer functional. Students used tools to disassemble the machine while the adult offered instruction and guidance. The various components found inside were described and passed around so everyone could see and feel them. The functions of the various parts were also explained.

This same approach can also be used with other tech devices such as a monitor, mouse, scanner, etc. Of course, it’s a good idea to use equipment that is already out of commission since there is no guarantee that it will still work once it has been reassembled.

Digital Photography:
Students were divided into “teams” with each group having a digital camera to use. There was an orientation session where the students were taught to use the cameras. Students practiced holding the cameras steady and pointing them towards a sound source to photograph. Portrait and landscape orientation were addressed.

Students were given a list of 5 words: nature, play, myself, loud, and quiet. The group traveled to a local park where they could explore and take pictures of things that they felt represented their 5 words. Back at the office they were taught how to download the pictures onto the computer. Next they had the opportunity to edit and manipulate the photos in Adobe Photoshop. Some could view their work on the large screen monitors, others relied on a sighted partner to describe the image. As a final component of the digital photography project, each student selected one of their final photos to enter into a local art show.

View examples of the students’ photography here

Other topics that can be explored:

  1. Careers in Technology
  2. Internet Skills and Safety
  3. Keyboard Commands
  4. Using Social Media
  5. Accessible Computer Games (www.rsgames.org is one web site that featured accessible computer games for the blind and visually impaired.)

Result: Students learned more about various types of assistive technology. They had the opportunity to try different devices and software. They also learned skills that can help them be more independent when using technology that they already have available to them.

A group of kids working with computers in a computer lab. A group of kids listen as one kid navigates through the laptop. A teenage girl uses a screen magnifier on her phone.