H810: Week 8: Activity 16.1
I am writing this using narrator which I do not find to bad provided that I write slowly. If I type at my normal speed, I find that I cannot hear the letters that I am typing. I am a little confused though as I cannot get any of the control functions to work. For example, Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar is meant to read the entire selected window but doesn't. I also cannot get it to read any web pages. Can anyone help? I was hoping to try to use narrator and magnifier with a student I work with who is having problems getting Supernova to work with the Windows 7 version of Power Point.
H810: Week 8: Activity 16.2/3
In my context, training is supplied by the support workers from the specialist agency and these are paid by the student's DSA. Training is supplied on the campus and can be over several sessions.
This sounds ideal but there are several important problems occurring:
- The Access assessment is not sufficient to identify any technological needs as it just asks the student if they are confident users of a particular technology. This results in there being no money made available for training. Kennedy (2007), discussing Australian students, suggests that they have more confidence in their technological skills than is actually justified. I also find this to be the case as many of the students I work with report that they are expert users of screen readers and then I find that they are having great difficulty navigating more specialist applications like library databases.
- I have been working for a specialist agency where some members of staff are trained in teaching touch typing or Supernova. This means that we can supply training for students where necessary. Most agencies are not specialist and do not have staff trained in these areas.
- Students and support workers are very busy. It can be difficult to fit in enough time to provide study support to ensure the student can keep up with the course. There is no way to shoehorn in any extra time for learning or improving technologies. I am currently working with a young lady with very little sight. She is studying law so has a fully packed timetable. She uses Supernova for both magnification and narration but cannot find her way around the law databases such as Westlaw or LexisNexis. Currently she is struggling with her workload so much that she insists that her support worker finds cases for her as it takes her so long to do it herself.
Thinking about the adoption and rejection of assistive technology reminded me of some of Roger's work on innovation. It was quite a while since I have looked at it so I had to do some more research:
Rogers, E.M. (1995) Diffusion of Innovation. New York, Free Press
The easiest format to see these ideas in on julesm0722 YouTube lecture:
Timing of adoption
Innovators - [risk takers] younger, more educated, higher disposable income, socially mobile and involved, network well
Early adopters - [perceive risk] research before purchase, opinion leaders, self-confident
[Chasm to cross before majority join in]
Early majority - [interested in application] need concrete reason to purchase,
Late majority - [not as comfortable with technology]
Laggards - [Fear new technology] only buy when buried inside another project or forced to buy
How likely people are likely to move from trialling to adoption of a technology
Relative advantage - performance of the tool - is it better than the way I did it before?
Compatibility - can we use with things we already have?
Complexity - may need resources in place to use (training) before adopting
Trialability - see if you like it first
Observability/Communicability - can you see it in use and discuss it with others in your peer group
My thoughts on this are that we can be dealing with many categories of people including the 'laggards' who have been forced into the adoption of the technology due to their impairment and can often be worried and frightened of the technology they have to use. The manufacturers of any new technology do not consider this small proportion of the population but we have to as there may need to be extended trial periods and extra support to deal with the complexity of the programs/equipment they are using. Currently I am trying to encourage one of my students to contact another experienced Supernova user to build up peer support.