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Inexpensive technology for overcoming hearing, speech and visual difficulties. Free tutorials and online programs.

“Business Plan Live!” and Chromebook Accessibility Tutorial, Part 4

In a “Business Plan Live!” broadcast that streamed live on February 3, 2016, Steve O’Keefe, Executive Director, and Coley Evans, Audio Director, both of of Staunton Media Lab (SML), shared some company news, discussed the business plan for the Staunton media Lab, and introduced the fourth and final installment of SML’s Chromebook Accessibility Tutorials.

In the news:

  • SML hired a new Director of Operations, yours truly.
  • SML’s audio profile of collage artist Deborah O’Keefe is now online. It’s a 20-minute interview, edited to a two-minute audio segment. Contact us if you want one! ($99) Chrome Book Accessibility Tutorial, Part 4

Part 4 of the Chromebook Accessibility Tutorial, a series of audio tutorials introducing Chromebooks to visually impaired people — or anyone who wants to learn how to navigate this computer well — is the final installment in this series.

Part 4 covers how to use a web browser, including how to open a new browser window, how to use the address bar, navigate the left and the right buttons and the Chrome menu (also sometimes called “hamburger” or options menu); and the keystrokes that can move you from field to field in a form.

The Chromebook Tutorial series are quick — just a couple minutes each. Previously covered subjects in the Chromebook Accessibility series included: logging in, turning on accessibility settings, and using shelf and launcher.

Shortcuts for Google Docs for the Visually-Impaired

Recently, a student of mine who is blind expressed a need to find “a video with shortcuts for Google Docs.” If you are wondering why a blind person would want to watch a video of shortcuts to Google Docs, it is in hope of hearing the shortcuts read alound. Visually-impaired persons have taught me that the fastest way to learn something is often to find a video and listen to it.

The Staunton Media Lab has just posted a video version of Shortcuts for Google Docs on YouTube as an assist to the visually-impaired who want to use Google Docs. We took a set of shortcut keyboard commands, stripped out all the graphics, reformatted the instructions to be read by a screen reader, and then recorded the screen reader speaking the keyboard shortcuts.

We then took that excellent recording and re-attached it to PDF slides in Keynote, then output the whole thing as a video and uploaded it to YouTube. We also added a text version of the shortcuts in the video description on YouTube. If you know how to use screen readers, and you want the shortcuts read in a different voice, you can copy them out of the description on YouTube or out of this post, below.

This is just one of many assitive technology hacks we will be bringing you from The Staunton Media Lab in the weeks to come. Please be sure to share this information with the ones you love who can’t see so well and still want and need to use computers.

The Staunton Media Lab Loves Flying Warthogs!

A few weeks ago, The Staunton Media Lab got its first paying customer: FLYiNG WARTHOGS FiLM. We were hired to record the voiceover for a television commerical. Here’s the end result:

Sounds great, doesn’t it? The commercial is directed and filmed by KT! Eaton, a producer, cinematographer, and fire spinner who runs FLYiNG WARTHOGS FiLM. The voice talent is Carmel Clavin of Spectacle and Mirth. The audio engineer was our own Coley Evans, audio director at The Staunton Media Lab.

The recording session was fun but challenging. Our current location generates a lot of ambient noise. We’re hoping not to have to deal with that issue as much at our new location on the campus of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind. Carmel Clavin must have run through the script at least 20 times. By the end, she was singing it (but those takes didn’t make it into the commercial).

Let us know what you think about our work on this TV commercial. If you have an audio or video project you’d like to get finished, let us know — talented people like Coley, Carmel and KT! are available to help with your multimedia projects today. Send your inquiries to Steve O’Keefe.

Thanks!

Adding Music to a Talking Book

 

Coley Evans, our audio engineer, shared a useful hack on a recent episode of the Staunton Media Lab.

Blind people have access to “talking books,” or audio books. Eligible people can access “talking book” machines provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). NLS offers a free library of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States, postage-free.

With just some minor adjustments, the machines can be used to store and play music files, too! The episode explains.

Audiobooks are growing in popularity for everyone, and for good reason. Still, not all books are available in this format. Many publishers do not offer audio versions of books except for bestselling authors. Independent authors can use services like Amazon’s Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) to create audio versions.

How Can You Help?

Volunteer.  We need you! Do you know sign language? Do you know Braille? Do you know English? Do you have language? Then SML needs you! Call us at 540-324-7023, or email

A Wish Goes A Long Way

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Staunton Media Lab - Copyright 2017