[bct] Re: Frustrations with how AT is taught

  • From: "Rose Combs" <rosecombs@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2006 18:03:16 -0700

I too have never had a computer class.  Most of what I know I have gotten
from experimenting, reading manuals and help systems and never have had an
instructor, and for the most part have not needed one.  

If I ever get it together and learn Excel that will change, right now I use
it only to fill in a sheet already created for me, and if I screw that up I
generally have to have help figuring out what I did wrong, I have no clue
what most of the excel terminology means, but I won't have to learn to use
the computer, just the program.  

I have been using computers since around 1981, learned what I needed to
about Tris dos, CP/M, MS DOS, Windows 95 through XP, word processing from
WordStar, WordPerfect and several versions of MS Word, all through reading
manuals, joining e-mail discussions, using the help system and asking some

I have taught myself how to use K-Talker, VideoVoice, Soft Vert, Tiny Talk,
ASAP, ASAW, and Jaws by reading the manuals first, using the help, joining
e-mail lists and asking well thought out questions when necessary.  

I find myself gritting my teeth when I see a response from someone who says
"I cannot do it because my instructor has not shown me that yet."  

When ASAW came out, I bought a copy and Larry had a tape or two, maybe even
more, but I spent a couple of evenings with them, and reading a file or two
on Windows that I had found online and did not feel really uncomfortable in
Windows after that time, maybe four hours total, sure I made mistakes, but I
learned to fix them too.  

When ASAW was failing to meet my needs by not supporting Word, I had to make
a decision, the hospital IT department said that the software they would be
getting in a few months would work with Jaws, so on Thanksgiving weekend
1998 I downloaded a copy, joined the e-mail list, spend time reading the
available manuals, and by Monday morning felt that I was at least a
competent beginner.  By the time the program arrived probably ten days
later, I felt I could be considered an intermediate user.  I listened to the
tapes that came with Jaws, but actually only sat down at the computer to
complete the exercises on the frame creation--something I probably should
use more than I do now.  

I don't think I have ever really wanted an instructor for this kind of
thing, I would probably feel held back by one.  

Rose Combs

-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Lois Goodine
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2006 4:15 PM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: Frustrations with how AT is taught

I agree with Debee and others about how AT is taught.  I am mostly what you
might call "Self taught".  That  is,  i've never attended a computer class
or had a one-on-one live instructor.  Wwhen I received my first computer in
June of 2000, the vendor, who was an acquaintance who built systems, brought
the pc to my home, hooked it up and installed Jaws.  Then he showed me how
to get to shut down, and where  the button is on the tower to start boot up.
So for the first few months I lived with the Freedomscientific tutorial
tapes.  When I got online early in 2001, I soon found other tutorials to
help me understand much more.  I think the bestof those was and still is
Cath Ann Murtha's Immersion into Windows, and there's one on Outlook
Express, as well as others.  I also bought "Windows Explained"from National
Braille Press.  The first year or so with the computer was a nightmare.  But
it has been worth it.  And we desperately need detailed training.  During
those first weeks it would have been so much easier to have had a real live
person to show me around a bit, and instruct me out of situations I didn't
know how to solve yet.  That's why these lists are so very helpful. This is
a two-sided issue though.  I've occasionally attempted to help someone who
doesn't really want to learn on their own.  Some would like to have us do it
all for them.  And if we're going to get effective use from these things, we
have to spend some serious training or study time with them. Just a few
thoughts on the subject. Lois

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