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

  • From: "Littlefield, Tyler" <tyler@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 07 Apr 2011 20:45:41 -0600

what is an osm?
On 4/7/2011 8:32 PM, Ken Perry wrote:
Um what are you meaning when you say OSM's there seems to be a lot of short
hands for a lot of things.

Ken

-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Jackie McBride
Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 9:24 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
programmers

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.

Ken

-----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
programmers


What does the list think of the idea of a live
audio channel as an extension of programming
Blind and nonvisualdevelopment.org?
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,
John

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
nonvisualdevelopment.org 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
programmer
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
their
knew a single thing and not very well.

Now with that said if the standards are high enough a school like this
could
be a good benefit but you have to be careful not to dumb down both the
speed
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
when
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:

http://www.ashoka.org/social_entrepreneur
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_entrepreneurship

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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--

Thanks,
Ty

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