GTT Victoria October 7 meeting
The GTT Victoria CCB Chapter met on Wednesday, October 7, 1:00 to 3:30 PM in the community room of Victoria Central Public Library at 735 Broughton Street. There were about a dozen people in attendance, some arrived late, or during the break, so the exact number was not determined.
The first presentation was given by Wendy Cox from the BC Technology@Work program, in conjunction with the Neil Squire Society and Victoria Disability Resource Centre.
Wendy explained that this program is similar to the EATI program with which many are familiar. The differences are: it is tighter in terms of eligibility; there is a cost share requested of employers as well as participants. In addition, there is no income reporting requirement for eligibility.
Basic eligibility requirements are:
• To be 16 years of age or older;
• Must have a disability;
• Must be either working, be verifiably going to work, or starting a verifiable volunteer position within the next few months; and,
• Equipment provided must remove a workplace-related barrier or barrier with work-related safe travel.
Provincial and Federal Government employees are not eligible.
Another priority of Technology@Work is to raise awareness and create opportunity around employment possibilities for people with disabilities. It also works individually with participants to help them develop a whole range of job readiness skills.
The website is http://www.neilsquire.ca/bctechatwork/
You can sign up by completing a paper form, available from the Victoria Disability Resource Centre at 817 Fort Street, or an online version available from the above website link. If you have trouble, you can request assistance by phone at 250-595-0044, or check http://www.drcvictoria.com
2. GTT Update
Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator for Western Canada, provided an update on GTT activities being carried out around the country. He started by letting us know that the Victoria chapter now has 12 paid members, with three more added at this meeting, and that memberships for 2016 are due in December. He then explained that this GTT group has become a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind. GTT originally started in Ottawa, providing blind and visually impaired people with the opportunity to form peer support groups where members could inform each other about training and technology-related experiences.
GTT is trying to diversify itself around the country in ways that match the interests of its members – curling clubs, book clubs, etc. The most recent group formed on September 23, in conjunction with the Blind Beginnings group in Vancouver, as a continuation for young people who have now finished with the Blind Beginnings program. There were 15 people in attendance, and it was a very good session. See the GTT program blog https://gttprogram.wordpress.com for more details, including information about GTT startups in Edmonton, Toronto, Kingston and Sydney, Nova Scotia.
There is a monthly national GTT teleconference in which anyone may participate. Each month features a technology-related presentation and discussion.
Albert also wanted everyone to know about the next Vocal Eye presentation to take place for the 2pm matinee at the Belfry Theater on November 8, entitled “The Leonard Cohen Story”.
3. BC Transit
Trekker Breezes installed on BC Transit buses announce cross-streets and not bus stops. The BC Transit Facebook page contains a number of postings from sighted people complaining about this inadequacy.
Tom clarified that GTT should remain focused on peer support related to effective use of technology, and that the political process to improve the transit situation should be managed by an organization such as Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC). Anyone interested in re-establishing an AEBC chapter in Victoria may contact Tom Dekker or Susan Gallagher.
4. Technology – Podcasts
The technology feature for this meeting was a presentation and discussion about podcasts. What is a podcast, why podcasts are important, and how one accesses them. Tom explained that a podcast is essentially an audio recording that can be made available via the internet. Many blind people now produce instructional podcasts about all kinds of assistive technology and can thus be a great source of peer support.
In regard to accessing podcasts, Tom demonstrated a Windows podcast management program called Q-Cast, produced by Accessible Apps, a company owned and operated by two blind programmers. Traditionally, Windows-based podcast management apps have not been particularly screen-reader friendly, but this one is very easy to use, while still offering all features related to podcast management. If you can find the arrow keys, the alt, tab, and enter keys, you can easily learn any app produced by this company. The help documentation is also fully accessible and very clearly written.
The company also produces an excellent app for reading documents and E-books called Q-Read, a news reader called Q-Feed and a Twitter client called Chicken Nugget. Free 30-day trials are available. Find out more at http://www.q-continuum.net
Of course, there are thousands of podcasts on all kinds of topics, but Q-Cast makes it very easy to search for and subscribe to podcasts of interest. Almost any informational radio programs are now available as podcasts, especially from networks like CBC, BBC and NPR. Contact us if you wish to have more information.
The next meeting of the GTT Victoria group will be on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at the Greater Victoria Public Library in the community room, 735 Broughton Street from 1:00 to 3:30 PM.
Submitted on October 23, 2015 by:
Tom Dekker, GTT Victoria Coordinator