Re: My Note to the Blind Trainers Mailing List Regarding the Need for Training Materials For New or inexperienced Users


I don't know what is currently available in any detail. Kathy Anne Murtha's material is designed for new users of Windows who know nothing or almost nothing. They need to know how to type and that's about it. They may be priced high enough that many people wouldn't buy them, but if someone really wants that kind of thorough training, her material is very good. Hadley School may have material for free. I don't know what they offer, but I know they offer training material.

We need to have discussion of what is available now, if people know. I don't know whether new material should be created or if its just repeating what is already available.


-----Original Message-----
From: David Goldfield
Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2020 8:02 PM
Subject: [TechTalk] My Note to the Blind Trainers Mailing List Regarding the Need for Training Materials For New or inexperienced Users

One of the mailing lists to which I'm subscribed is for trainers who
provide technology training to the visually impaired. Truth be told I
haven't done regular formal training in over four years but I do provide
training and assistance to friends and I regularly help out on various
lists and other forums where I can. Anyway, I posted the following
message to that list regarding what I think is a real need for good,
comprehensive training products for users who are either new or
inexperienced with Windows. There is a surprisingly small amount of such
products and I feel that it's time for that to change. Please consider
reading the below message and let me know what you honestly think, even
if you feel that there really isn't the need for this sort of material.
Here is what I posted.

Hello. I am working with a couple of friends who are new or at least
inexperienced in using Windows 10 with a screen reader. One user has not
used a Windows computer in quite some time and so she would need a
tutorial to guide her not only with introducing her to a screen reader
but to the Windows operating system itself. In the early days of Windows
3.1 and the Windows 95/98 era there were a few such products in
existence. I am honestly amazed at how few of these tutorials are
actually available today covering the use of Windows 10 from the
perspective of a very new visually impaired user. I realize that there
is no shortage of competent trainers but some users may not be able to
afford the services of one on one training. However, they might be
willing to purchase a prepackaged tutorial. I realize that there are
perhaps many challenges to a one size fits all approach and some might
very correctly argue that having customized one on one training is
ultimately better for the user since the trainer can more easily adapt
to the needs and learning style of the user. This is certainly a valid
point and one which I would not debate. However, I have fond memories of
some very good training materials from some very talented trainers. The
"Speaking Of" series from Krista Earl comes to mind and I had the
opportunity to meet Krista about four years ago and I wasted no time in
telling her that this new generation of computer users needs her
talents. Braille tutorials would also be nice and would be very
inclusive for those who are deaf-blind. I'd love to produce one myself
but I not only detest the sound of my own voice but I'm a bit of a
newcomer myself when it comes to audio production.

I guess that I'll finish up with two questions. First, what tutorials
are currently available covering Windows 10 from the perspective of a
total novice? Second, have any of you considered producing one? I can
almost guarantee that you'd find that many people would gladly purchase
it. I realize the irony of the catch 22 situation where promoting such a
product on the Web might not actually reach the very people being
targeted since many of them aren't savvy when it comes to Web
navigation. To that objection I offer the following responses for your

First, if your tutorial or tutorials are thorough many people who are
already online might still purchase them if they feel that they will be
able to learn even more or to perhaps fill in any missing gaps in their
knowledge. For that matter I'd likely purchase it myself if I knew it
would be comprehensive even though I've been using Windows competently
since the Windows 3.1 days as there are always new things I know I could
learn or perhaps more efficient methods of performing certain tasks that
I already perform. I acknowledge that I'm good at what I do but I also
acknowledge that I don't know everything.

Second, people like me or others in the assistive technology field would
surely be happy to promote anyone's product if it's good, presented well
and if it's comprehensive and user friendly.

Third, you could always advertise in periodicals such as the Braille
Forum or the Braille Monitor which reaches a very wide and diverse
audience. You could ask an organization like Computers for the Blind to
mention you as a potential resource by including your information along
with every computer they sell. In fact, you could create a mini tutorial
for free and ask if they'd be willing to distribute it with their
computers and the tutorial could mention a more complete package with
your company's contact information.

I'd welcome your input on this topic. I think there is a real need for
good, comprehensive training materials either in Braille, in an audio
format or, ideally, both. I will likely attempt to do this myself but in
my case it's likely going to take a bit of time.

David Goldfield,
Blindness Assistive Technology Specialist
JAWS Certified, 2019

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