Friday, June 25, 2010

First PowerPoint Created Entirely by a Blind Person

The Sky’s the Limit Powerpoint presentation was created using several devices and programs. The hardware included my Toshiba Laptop, a BrailleNote MPower note-taker and a Victor Reader Stream portable Daisy book reader/digital recorder. The software that I used included the JAWS for Windows screen reader version 11, Powerpoint 2007, Notepad, and version 1.3 of the freeware Audacity multi-track sound recorder/editor.

I began by creating a simple Powerpoint using a sampler set of four still photos of different phases of my skydive Each photo went into a single slide. I added title and/or descriptive text for each slide, then created the slide notes. I discovered that while creating the notes and running the presentation, JAWS wouldn’t read the slide notes aloud. . So for reviewing and editing, I transferred each slite’s notes to individual text files in Notepad, and transferred them to my BrailleNote note-taker.

I then read each file on my BrailleNote aloud and recorded the narrations on my Victor Reader Stream in MP3 format.
Next, I used Audacity to create four multi-track projects, one for each slide. Each project contained background music clips which were cut from various MP3’s in my collection of albums. I then imported an MP3 narration into each Audacity project, effectively dubbing in voice-over. After setting sound levels and adding effects like stereo phasing for the background music on slide 1 and repeat echo for part of the narration on slide 4, each project was exported to an MP3 file. The files were then inserted into their appropriate places in the Powerpoint presentation.
The end result is a multimedia Powerpoint presentation that, hopefully, is as fun to look at and listen to as it was for me to create. I thoroughly enjoyed the creation process and learned a lot in the bargain. The knowledge that I gained from this experience will be passed on to students in the future, and perhaps we’ll put together similar presentations as fun class projects.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lisa,came to EmpowerTech in mid-March. She first became aware of assistive technology in the late 1990s, after several years of increasing vision loss. The Zoomtext screen magnifier was instrumental in helping her perform a variety of computer-based administrative duties at a well-known charitable organization here in Los Angeles where she was employed for 28 years.

Three years after retiring from this organization, she decided to return to the work force and has come to EmpowerTech to refresh her computer and Zoomtext skills. She’s doing very well in the program, is enjoying herself tremendously, and her enthusiasm and hard work is an inspiration to her fellow students.