On December 3, 2014 the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) hosted its first Get Together with Technology (GTT) meeting in the Victoria BC area. The facility rented for this activity was a Lounge within the Presbyterian Church on Richmond Road. It proved to be a perfect room for groups up to 25 or so participants, however we had to expand into the larger auditorium as a result of the 34+ who attended this inaugural event. Thank you goes out to Ken Sudhues, Tom Dekker and others for helping to set-up and tear-down the room, and to all who made the effort to bring your questions, ideas and talents to this new and exciting initiative, as well as for the goodies supplied for us to nibble on during the mid-meeting break.
To start the meeting Albert Ruel, who travelled to the meeting from Parksville, gave a brief outline of the host organization, as well as the GTT initiative and why it was launched by the CCB National Office some 3 years ago. The goal of encouraging participants to function as a peer group to support each other’s exploration and selection of technology that will enhance their lives, as well as to operate as a means for people to train each other in the use of their selected devices and software was also outlined and discussed.
Many attended from some of the local Mac Degeneration and Low Vision Groups, the original Vision Impaired Computer Users Group that Ken Perry and Mark Nicol have facilitated, as well as a large contingent from the Pacific Training Center for/of the Blind. We wish to thank everyone who attended and promoted this event.
The topic of the day was to be “Games People Play”, and some of that was briefly discussed during the first hour. As it was Victoria’s first time meeting under the GTT Program banner many other questions and ideas were raised and discussed. Chief among them was the expectations of the individual members for such an ongoing event, and their reasons for wanting to be involved.
Most participants expressed a desire to seek higher levels of competency with the technology they already own, and many are seeking guided assistance in the exploration of the many devices and software/applications that might allow them to increase their participation in the community, their families and in the work place. A few people came to the event expecting to experience a technology display, so left when the format of the GTT meeting was realized. Although technology displays and presentations will also make up some of the monthly GTT meetings, this event was to establish the Victoria group and to determine the local participants who will champion and lead this gathering.
The second hour saw the attendees breaking off into two groups so that basic Library and Newspaper access could be discussed by some, and more advanced iDevice discussion in the larger group. Some smaller groups also gathered in other areas of the room for more specific discussions.
The next meeting of the GTT Victoria Group will be on January 7, 2015 at the same time and place, with the theme of Audio, Braille and large print access to reading material. Discussion will center around how local Libraries can support our needs, and the various off-the-shelf and blindness specific devices that can be employed to access our favourite readings. More details will be circulated as they develop.
And finally, you are encouraged to sign-up for the GTT Program blog below so that you can receive all notifications of meetings no matter where you live in Canada. Signing up is quick and easy, and if you prefer to have Kim Kilpatrick or I do so for you please contact us with that request and we’ll be pleased to do so on your behalf. We can be reached at:
To stay in touch with all GTT Program news and events, subscribe to the GTT blog at: https://gttprogram.wordpress.com/
- Once on the above web site you may use your screen reader commands to find the first Form Field to be filled in by pressing the letter “F” until you locate the edit field where you will type in your email address. It will be found near the bottom of the web page.
- Tab once to the Submit Button and press the Space Bar and you’re done.
- Well, not quite done, as you will receive an email message asking you to confirm. Just press the Enter Key on the Confirmation link in the email message and you will be done!