Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind programmers

  • From: Jackie McBride <abletec@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2011 18:23:53 -0700

Well, here's perhaps another aspect of this to consider. Instead of a
"school", per se, maybe it'd be better simply to have folks host
training sessions in a tool w/which they're familiar in order to help
blind programmer wanna-be's (like me, for example) get up & runnin so
they can help open source projects dedicated to the blind community
such as NVDA, Orca, or Vinux, just to name a few. &, u know, it's not
that folks like us can't--it's just that w/lots of stuff on our
plates, sometimes it requires a scheduling commitment like that to get
the ball rolling.

I'll just talk about my situation as a start. I'd like nothing better
than to learn about OSM's & such, but the info out there seems pretty
minimal, or at least I haven't been able to find any. I have looked,
maybe just not in the right places. And folks I thought might know
just kind a said, "I dunno of any resources to suggest."

Just my 2 cents, & probly worth exactly what every1 paid for it.

On 4/7/11, Ken Perry <whistler@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Um radio on acb can be interactive a long time back someone invented this
> thing called phones. Grin.
> Ken
> -----Original Message-----
> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John G
> Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 8:25 PM
> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: RE: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
> programmers
> But this would be interactive. For example, a lab
> session on visual studio. the students would be
> given exercises to complete during the session
> while the instructor would be there on hand to
> help those having access issues, that sort of thing.
> John
>>I had thought of doing a programming radio show on acbradio but I thought
> it
>>was to geaky.
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John G
>>Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 5:05 PM
>>To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
>>What does the list think of the idea of a live
>>audio channel as an extension of programming
>>Blind and
>>Skype, TeamTalk offer two ways of achieving this goal.
>>With the wealth of knowledge on this list I'm
>>sure it could become an invaluable source of learning.
>>Interactive sessions, lectures if you like, could
>>range from accessibility matters to straitforward software engineering.
>>for example, programming with VS and JFW or
>>Window-Eyes, the basics of programming,
>>programming in Java, object oriented analysis and
>>design, databases, the list goes on.
>>Such a scheme would require organisation and
>>discipline to pull off but I have no doubt we've plenty of both on PB.
>>Kind regards,
>> >I also am inclined to agree with this. I'm just
>> >finished with school and haven't gotten to see
>> >first hand just how much of an impact it will
>> >have in the workforce, I admit, but I know I
>> >learned a lot about not just programming but
>> >about working smoothly on a development team
>> >otherwise made up of sighted developers by going
>> >to a "normal" university for CompSci. My fear
>> >would be that in a special environment for blind
>> >programming instruction all the tools used for
>> >class would be the most accessible ones
>> >available. Then a student would get into the
>> >work force with an employer who doesn't use
>> >those ideal accessible tools and the student
>> >would be ill-equipped to problem solve this
>> >challenge. I think having a vibrant, active
>> >community of blind coders working on things like
>> > and contributing to
>> >forums like this one is a great way to help
>> >address the unique challenges of being a blind
>> >coder, but in the grand scheme of things I feel
>> >I spend about 10% of my time devoted to
>> >programming and related pursuits finding
>> >blind-friendly ways of using tools or
>> >environments. The other 90% is the same process
>> >of learning programming that my sighted peers
>> >take on. I also do think there would be issues
>> >with many employers disregarding or harboring
>> >skepticism of applicants who listed a
>> >specialized school for blind people on a resumé.
>> >Still, a good idea to kick around and get a variety of prospectives on.
>> >On 4/7/2011 3:23 PM, Sina Bahram wrote:
>> >>I agree with this as well.
>> >>
>> >>Take care,
>> >>Sina
>> >>
>> >>-----Original Message-----
>> >>From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> >>[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ken Perry
>> >>Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 1:08 PM
>> >>To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> >>Subject: RE: Searching for blind programmer to
>> >>start a school for blind programmers
>> >>
>> >>I have to say this even though I think there is a place for what you're
>> >>thinking of.
>> >>
>> >>I hate sepertive schools.  One of the things that made me a good
>> >>was competing against the people I would be competing against in the
> work
>> >>world In the academic world.
>> >>
>> >>The salt Lake community college had a class run by novel that taught
> blind
>> >>people to code for Novel OS but I found the students that came out of
>> >>knew a single thing and not very well.
>> >>
>> >>Now with that said if the standards are high enough a school like this
>> >>be a good benefit but you have to be careful not to dumb down both the
>> >>of learning or quality thereof.  Of course that is true for all schools.
>> >>
>> >>One last thing though that the regular schools taught me.  That is part
> of
>> >>life as a blind coder is finding ways to cope with problems that you run
>> >>into.  If you have things handed to you, you might not be as affective
>> >>you get out in the work world.
>> >>
>> >>Ken
>> >>
>> >>Ken
>> >>-----Original Message-----
>> >>From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> >>[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Bill Cox
>> >>Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 12:03 PM
>> >>To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> >>Subject: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
>> >>programmers
>> >>
>> >>This is still in the dumb-idea phase, and I don't have any funding
>> >>lined up to get this started.  That said...
>> >>
>> >>I have not been able to find any on-line school for teaching blind
>> >>people to become professional programmers.  I feel the world needs
>> >>such an organization.  I am not able to start such a school myself,
>> >>but I would be interested in assisting social entrepreneurs in
>> >>starting such a venture.  I it would best be implemented as a
>> >>for-profit social entrepreneurial venture.  You can read about social
>> >>entrepreneurs here:
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>I'm thinking it could be a Low Profit Corporation (LPC) founded to run
>> >>the school for a profit.  Everyone hired in teaching or management
>> >>would be vision impaired or blind.  Students would attend classes
>> >>on-line, and could be anywhere in the world.  Classes would not be
>> >>free (maybe $1,000 per 1-semester course?).  Students who are too poor
>> >>to pay would be expected to do well in their courses and make up their
>> >>fees by assisting teaching of those courses in later semesters.  They
>> >>might also be required to work for an associated consulting company to
>> >>earn tuition.  Students would be encouraged to help mentor each other
>> >>in any case.
>> >>
>> >>Associated with the school could be a software consulting services
>> >>company.  The company would only hire vision impaired programmers, and
>> >>students wanting to work for the company could take classes designed
>> >>to train them in the skills they'll need.  The company might encourage
>> >>it's employees to spend one day a week on FOSS projects of their
>> >>interest, which hopefully would include improving accessibility.
>> >>
>> >>Rough numbers to back up the idea:  There are around 15 million people
>> >>with "severe" vision impairments in the US.  Roughly half of those
>> >>people are too old.  Half of the rest may have other impairments that
>> >>would prevent them from becoming programmers.  In the general
>> >>population, there are 1 programmer out of every 500 people in the US.
>> >>I would expect a ratio at least that high among the blind, or about
>> >>7,500 professional programmers in the US alone.  If we took 20 years
>> >>to train that many, it'd be 375 new students per year, and assuming a
>> >>two year program, we'd have 750 students.  If only half paid the class
>> >>fees, but took three classes at a time (a full load), that'd be
>> >>$3,000*750*2 = $4.5 million per year.  My kids go to a school which
>> >>happens to have about 750 students and a budget of just over $4
>> >>million per year, and that includes paying for a school.  So, that
>> >>math seems to work out, but we're not talking about anyone making a
>> >>billion dollars in this effort.  This is not a VC-fundable idea, but
>> >>it might attract funding from groups that invest in socially
>> >>beneficial startups.
>> >>
>> >>I know a couple of good candidates to start this school, and one might
>> >>be interested in actually doing it.  Are there any good blind or
>> >>vision impaired people you guys could recommend for me to talk to?  I
>> >>think the key would be finding the right couple of guys.
>> >>
>> >>Thanks,
>> >>Bill
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Blame the computer--why not? It can't defend itself & occasionally
might even be the culprit
Jackie McBride
Jaws Scripting training materials:
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