2004 Conference Proceedings

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ACCESSING TODAY'S WINDOWS COMPUTERS THROUGH DISCOVER (HANDS-ON LAB)

Presenter(s)
Mark A. Sardo
Training Specialist - Madentec Limited
4664 99th Street
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T6E 5H5
Toll Free: (877) 623-3682 ext. 300
Fax: (386) 575-0664
Cell: (407) 529-5916
Website: http://www.madentec.com 
Email: marks@madentec.com

Whether you are new to Discover or an "old friend" who has not "kept in touch", this session is for you. Madentec has made many exciting changes to Discover over the past year. This session will provide a hands-on opportunity to get to know Discover and how it may be implemented to meet a wide variety of needs for persons with disabilities. Strategies will be provided on how to adjust Discover to meet each individual's needs. We will begin by providing instruction on how Discover hardware and software are installed - including USB connectivity.

We will provide an overview of Discover computer access products. This includes: Discover:Screen - a software only, on screen keyboard alternative; Discover:Board - a large keyboard and mouse alternative; Discover:Switch - a switch/scanning keyboard and mouse alternative; and the "all inclusive" Discover:Kenx - a product that incorporates all of the features of "Screen", "Board", and "Switch". Each is customizable which means that the user may create access strategies that are quite simple or very complex. Each Discover product includes integrated speech which allows for varying levels of auditory cueing and/or feedback.

Participants will create a simple setup. The setup will contain keys for typing keyboard characters or sets of words, access modifier keys (i.e., shift, control, alt), activate simple keystroke combinations (ctrl + p - for print), or be used for augmentative communication through the use of the auditory cueing and feedback options. Also, a key will be created to branch to another setup - thus allowing unlimited, customizable options for each user as they access an application.

While the Discover line of products may be used as an alternative to typing text, these solutions may be used to access so much more! Participants will have the opportunity to create access strategies for different computer tasks. Discover can be used to provide independent access to launching applications, browsing the internet, and creating documents. Through the use of Discover's comprehensive scripting tool, many computer tasks can be automated through the selection of one Discover key - whether the access method is Discover:Board, Discover:Switch, Discover:Screen, or Discover:Kenx. Discover may also used to automate file management tasks (saving, exporting, and opening documents).

This session will provide participants with the opportunity to customize a piece of software for access. While "adapting" WordPad, participants will gain the basics skills needed to begin adapting any software. The operating system provides keyboard equivalents to many of the functions that are "normally" accessed through use of the mouse. Additionally, participants will learn how to use "Smart Markers" to designate a particular location on the screen that can not be accessed through a corresponding keystroke. Several Smart Markers may be setup and scanned for a choice selection activity - like selecting which control to activate in a standard dialog box window.

For six years, Discover technology had been used by several attendees of an annual Teen Tech event held in Central Florida. Teen Tech is a week long program where middle to high school aged students who have multiple disabilities are brought together for a fun and exciting week of learning. During this event, participants are required to use several pieces of software to research, organize, and make a report to the group on a specific topic of study. We will provide a quick review of Teen Tech and the access that was provided to the students through the use of Discover.

Teen Tech participants whose access strategy is Discover are able to use this technology to independently complete their assignments. A Discover setup is used to launch the programs that they will use. Setups are created for browsing the internet (Internet Explorer) to complete research on the topic. This year's Teen Tech featured the ability to use Discover to access the powerful Kurzweil 3000 literacy software. The participants used the auditory and visual support reinforcement tools of Kurzweil to access the internet and complete their study. (By the way, Madentec has written Discover setups for accessing WYNN - another powerful, literacy software.) Inspiration software was then accessed to provide the tool for organizing their research. The Inspiration setup not only included a key to automate the saving of their outline, but also to automatically export that outline into a text document that other programs may open. Finally, an updated Co:Writer and Write:Outloud setup is! used to synthesize the outline into a report. Of course, being able to automatically save the report is included on the setup. In addition, Discover access is provided for the students to import a digital picture into their Write:Outloud report. The final activity of the Teen Tech week was for each participant to independently give their report to the group. The participants who use Discover are quite proud to be able to independently access and give their report - done with very big, and proud smiles.

Custom setups for accessing a variety of programs with Discover are being created, collected, and posted to the Madentec website (http://www.madentec.com) making a valuable resource for all Discover users. PDF versions of hands-on tutorials are available, as well as software updates for download.

This session will provide the opportunity to witness Madentec's commitment to the Discover product line and to people with disabilities who have a need for sophisticated and automated computer access strategies. We welcome everyone to share in the experience of using Discover to access today's Windows computers!


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