2000 Conference Proceedings

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2000 Table of Contents

Determining the Role of a Notetaker In A Person’s Adaptive Technological Experience

Larry L. Lewis, Jr.
Blindness Products Manager
HumanWare, Inc.

I. Welcome and Introduction

II. What is a notetaker?

A portable device which provides to the person who is blind a means by which he/she can organize data relevant to his/her personal, educational, or vocational activities. An adaptive speech and/or Braille product that can link a person who is blind to technology without assuming the role of a commercial PC.

III. What purposes should notetakers serve, and how do they differ from those fulfilled by a PC?

Often a notetaker assumes the role of a pen and paper (time is of the essence). A notetaker is a portable, non-threatening means of being introduced to adaptive technology. In turn, a person who uses a notetaker does not only gain the confidence necessary to utilize a commercial PC, but he/she then develops the ability to incorporate the use of a notetaker into his broadened technological skill set.

IV. What are the specific functions a reliable notetaking option should embrace?

A notetaker should offer a quick and efficient way to enter data which can be retrieved, reviewed, printed, or embossed at a later date. A notetaker should give to the end user the flexibility to perform scientific and standard calculations. A notetaker should allow an individual to record appointments for himself/herself in a chronological manner. It is advantageous to have a feature that will remind the user of these appointments. A notetaker should provide an intuitive means of recording and retrieving names, addresses, telephone numbers, and other pertinent contact information. A notetaker should have the ability to connect to an Internet service provider to send and receive e-mail. A notetaker should offer utilities that enable it to interact with a commercial PC.

V. What features should an end user look for when selecting a notetaker?

A. Ergonomic comfort B. Portability C. Documentation in both Braille and/or speech medium D. A palatable user interface E. A company that stands behind and supports the product

VI. Conclusions

It should not be the user’s intent that a notetaker is the "end all, be all" for adaptive technology. Nor, should an end user minimize the significance of incorporating the use of a notetaker into his/her daily activities. A person should analyze how a specific notetaking option is or isn’t going to meet his/her needs before committing to a specific notetaker. A notetaker that is right for an end user will offer a great deal of flexibility and compatibility when interacting with sighted peers in both educational and vocational arenas as well as other meaningful endeavors.

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2000 Table of Contents 
Return to Table of Proceedings

Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright.