[bct] Re: Frustrations with how AT is taught

  • From: "Mary Emerson" <maryemerson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 19:03:23 -0800


This problem isn't just found in access technology instruction, but in all areas. I spent more time hand-holding people through mainframe problems than you'd believe. I was very concerned when I left IBM that people wouldn't know what to do in given situations and would end up trying to build test machines with the wrong commands. Since people know even less about the "big stuff" than about the PC world, immeasurable damage can be done with just one command to a mainframe if somebody has authorization they should never have gotten, but ended up getting because of the lack of support people and the willingness of newly hired people to get involved in something they haven't been adequately taught (and probably never will learn well.) Good training is de-emphasized and on the job spontaneous training is encouraged, primarily due to schedule requirements. In other words, the typical job situation isn't much better than the academic environment. I am amazed that people know so little about the technology they have, and it's not their fault.

Besides the lack of trainers and the time to get proper training, people have a lot going on in their lives and have no time to learn basic screen reader access skills and computer concepts and how to blend and use the concepts and skills. Part of the problem, in addition to what I've mentioned before, is general lack of experience. Another part could be that some people are just not cut out to use a computer; I have known quite a few people who were hired because a company thought they would make wonderful programmers, but they wound up on the street because, for lack of a better way to say this, they just didn't "get it", on the job, or during the training they were given. When I attended computer school, half the class was gone after the first third of training; because, as much as patient explanations were given, there was only so much anyone could do to teach people who just didn't have the aptitude to learn the concepts. (I almost left also, because the pace was so hectic).

I certainly have no answers, but just wanted to point out that you're not alone in your frustration; I hope your specific situation can be remedied in some way, and I certainly feel sorry for that student who lost four hours of work and didn't have anyone to help him print his document.

Mary Emerson
E-mail: maryemerson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Skype name: mkemerson
Podcast web site: http://www.emerson.libsyn.com
Podcast feed: emerson.libsyn.com/rss

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