GTT Edmonton Meeting February 13, 2017
The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held February 13 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.
23 people attended.
February Topics – Google Classroom Demo and Education/Training
Google Classroom Demo
Owais, a junior high school student member of our chapter, demonstrated how he uses the Google Classroom app on his iPhone in conjunction with his BrailleSense. Google Classroom was designed together with teachers to help them save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.
With this tool Owais can keep track of his assignments, post them for teacher review, his teacher can return with edits, and Owais can formally turn in the completed assignment. He can do all the work in braille both creating documents and reviewing them. Owais showed us the remarkable capability of young blind students who are both braille and technology literate.
JAWS Screen Readers and Students
After Owais finished his demo a discussion ensued whether students need to also learn Windows computers with screen readers such as JAWS or whether they can continue their education and employment using only braille notetakers such as the Braillesense or BrailleNote. The consensus from our blind team is that both are needed and students should aim to be familiar with Windows and Microsoft Office during high school and certainly before entering college/university. Also, Windows computers with Office are the most prevalent computers used in business and industry so mastering the Windows environment is essential for future employment.
Funding for JAWS
A question was posed about funding assistance for JAWS. Two possibilities:
1. CNIB. CNIB clients may qualify for the CNIB STEP program funding. If so, the STEP program would pay 75% of the JAWS purchase price which is currently $1185.
2. ASVI. the Alberta Society for the Visually Impaired (ASVI) Northern Alberta Chapter offers funding to provide assistive technology equipment and software for members ages 18 and under, if a qualified professional has recommended it, such as the student’s vision consultant. ASVI is only able to provide this funding through the generous donation of time and effort by its board, parents, and volunteers. Interested parents and individuals are asked to consider helping by volunteering their time by serving on the Executive, or helping at the ASVI fundraisers. More information about the application process can be found here:
P.S. ASVI is seeking volunteers for their upcoming casino fundraiser on March 16-17. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Educational Materials for our Chapter
We thank the Edmonton Blind Curling Club who have generously provided us a grant that we may use to purchase educational materials and help with training. We will use the grant this year and next to purchase technology related tutorials and text books. Soon we will send a list of possible tutorials and text books to those listed on our email list. You may look through the email and respond to let us know which tutorials or text books might help you. Watch this space!
The donation from the Edmonton Blind Curling Club also allows us to provide another training session at the Norquest computer lab. This will happen on March 2. At the February 13 meeting, we registered 3 people for JAWS training and 2 for Zoomtext. We are delighted that the 3 JAWS registrants are all students!
Next Meeting (Monday March 13 at 7pm)
• Currently we have no volunteer demonstrations.
• We will focus on one-on-one training especially iPhone and DAISY players. If you have other training requests email your interests to us so we can try to accommodate you.
• As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.
Meeting Location and Logistics
• Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 – 83 Street NW, Edmonton.
• We meet in the basement hall. There is elevator access.
• Enter the church from the back door. There is parking at the back and drop off space for taxis, DATS.
• Meetings are every second Monday of the month at 7pm.
• If you have someone helping you your assistant is welcome to remain for the meeting.
GTT Edmonton Team
• Carrie Anton is visually impaired and is the accessibility specialist for Athabasca University.
• Gerry Chevalier is blind. He is retired from HumanWare where he worked as the Product Manager for the Victor Reader line of talking book players.
• Heather MacDonald is a career and employment specialist with extensive experience helping blind and visually impaired people find employment.
• Russell Solowoniuk is blind and works with alternative formats and assistive technology at Grant MacEwan University.
• Lorne Webber is blind and is the accessibility specialist for Norquest College.
GTT Edmonton Overview
• GTT Edmonton is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
• GTT Edmonton promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
• Each meeting will present a feature technology topic and general question and answer about any other technology.
• Small groups or one on one assistance is possible at the meetings.
• Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
• There are GTT groups in Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Northern Ontario, Pembroke, Halifax, Sydney, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver, and more to come.
• There is also a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:
There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.
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