Summary Notes: GTT Victoria May 4, 2015

Get Together with Technology

Victoria Chapter Summary Notes

May 4, 2015

Once again, the meeting took place in the Shaw Conference Room at Fort Tectoria, 777 Fort Street,, Victoria. We were pleased to see 16 participants in attendance. Find out more at;

Originally, we were to have a presentation given by Mike Gower regarding accessibility and navigation in the Microsoft ribbon systems and how they are managed differently from the menu system in Windows XP that we all knew and loved. Unfortunately, Mike took ill over the weekend and was unable to attend, but we’ll be sure to schedule him again for a future meeting.

Despite the cancellation, we were quick to make good use of the time and come up with discussion topics and activities. Several folks had just come from a press conference at the BC Legislature, where a new “Technology at Work” program had just been announced. Though full details are not yet available, we can say that this program will be implemented through Neil Squire Solutions, and that it is indeed the promised Follow-up to the EATI program which ended last fall. This program is different in that it will provide equipment to people who have worked already, but who need to update it in order to remain employed or make further progress in their careers. The budget for the program is apparently 3 million dollars per year, but the actual duration of the program was not known at the time of the meeting. Find out more at;

Also, people who need extra help with pre-employment preparation can go to Literacy Victoria, which is now located in the Disability Resource centre. Find out more at;

From here we moved into a general discussion of work, and preparing for work. Linda Bartram gave more information about PTC’s efforts in this regard. Find out more at;

Work BC is another good resource for those with limited or no work experience. Find out more at;

We also talked about the EntreActive – Entrepreneurial / Self-employment program in Victoria, BC provided through the Federal Opportunities Fund and administered through Business Victoria. This is a program specifically serving people with disabilities who wish to bring entrepreneurial business ideas to fruition in the form of a viable business plan, along with coaching in how to identify and access their market. One PTC student has already graduated from the program, and another has just started. Find out more at;

The basic flow of the discussion explored the idea that entrepreneurialism is fast over-taking traditional employment as a means of earning a living, and that this can potentially be very advantageous for people with disabilities who are willing to work at it.

Speaking of technology at work, we are pleased to say that we had some of that happening during the meeting, in a very practical sense. Thanks to the Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre, one of our members, who is very hard of hearing, had a much better experience at this meeting. The interpreter busily keyed the proceedings into her laptop, while the participant read along using an iPad set to display very large print. This worked very well, not only for the participant, but also for GTT, as we were also provided with a copy of the transcript. Find out more at;

A number of questions came up around Windows, Screen readers, how to connect to wireless networks, etc. So, for the July meeting, Sky is going to give a presentation in which he will compare the four most popular Windows screen readers: Jaws, NVDA, WindowEyes and System Access.

Once this was determined, some folks went off to the work room to work on connecting laptops and iDevices to Fort Tectoria’s wireless network, while others stayed in the Shaw Conference Room, just sharing information and experience

Just a reminder, that anyone who needs one-on-one help can always get in touch, since we are allowed to use the Fort Tectoria workspace for small group lessons. We are also investigating the possibility of other meetings during the month, probably at the library, and having to do with exploration of all the different possibilities for alternative format book access.

The June 3rd meeting will consist of a mini-technology fare presented by AbleTech, and possibly including a rep from Humanware. We hope to see you there. Find out more by contacting Albert Ruel or Tom Dekker, and to check out AbleTech’s services point your browser to;

Respectfully submitted,

Tom Dekker, Proprietor

iHabilitation Canada