In part 2 of my ACB 2011 wrap-up, I’m sharing two intriguing means by which to get an edge on the competition, either vocationally or scholastically.
Looking for work? It isn’t often that you find a direct employment opportunity at a trade show, but I was fascinated by the Piano Tuning School. Listen, we are all aware that the US economy is pathetic right now, and I don’t need to remind anyone that the job market for people with disabilities is more competitive than ever, if for no other reason than people who have disabilities are competing with many more non-disabled and highly qualified individuals than ever. The job market is brutal, disabled or not. why not give yourself an edge with a skill you can learn now, use now, and also use as needed in the future? What’s wonderful about this group is that they teach you everything you need to know about how to tune pianos, but the best news is, you don’t need to know how to play the piano to do this work. Did you know that changes in weather can cause a piano to become out of tune? So can moving one from one place to another, and any number of other factors. Piano tuners are needed! Hey, I need one! I just moved my piano to my new home, and now it sounds horrible. Call this place, and get yourself a really useful skill. Not sure how you would get to all those warbly, out of tune pianos? No problem! They’ll even hook you up with mobility training. Love these guys. Call them!
School of Piano Technology
The training sessions are split into two 10 month periods, preceded by hearing and aptitude testing. You can live near the school, which is located in Vancouver, Washington. On the web site, you’ll find all the info you need, and when I met the gentlemen at the ACB event, I realized that these are dedicated, passionate folks seeking to improve the lives and livelihoods of people who are blind or visually impaired. It’s worth a closer look.
One of the innovative new ways for students to gain equal access to educational materials is via the STEPP program. STEPP stands
for Student E-rent Pilot Project, which offers a unique new way for students to easily and affordably get textbooks. Kevin Chao,
a program consumer, student advisor and program quality assurance specialist, shares his experiences. Whether you are a student
or an educator, you may want to STEPP up to this new idea.
"I would like to share two fantastic resources for any college student
or instructor, which I think should be advocated for, encouraged, and
utilized by all. Like most, I’ve used human readers, scanned books, used RFB&D, and
worked with disabled students services to get eTextBooks from
publisher. All these things served their purposes and time, and it’s
time to move on.”
Chao continues: “In fall of 2010, I broke away from the status quo, which includes: not
using RFB&D, not scanning textbooks, and not having to be so reliant
on disabled student services. Two companies have made this possible:
CourseSmart and AMAC. This has allowed equal access, independence,
and a true forward studying experience. It’s never been possible for
us as blind students, instructors, or even providers to use an
innovative eTextBook service.”
Here are some of the program highlights:
* CourseSmart for mainstream, accessible, and highly marked-up eTextBooks
* Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) for affordable, high-quality,
and efficient braille and tactile graphics for textbooks, exams,
handouts, assignments, etc
http://www.CourseSmart.com is a mainstream accessible eTextBook rental
service, which all students can take advantage of. This includes
students with or without print-related disabilities (blind, low
vision, learning disabled).
* Mainstream access to eTextBooks
* Affordable, timely, and true access
* in-book, chapter, or section searches.
*Very effectively and easily navigate table of contents (chapters,
* Jump to specific page
* Highly tagged/marked-up: headings 1-5 for structured navigation,
alttext for description of graphics, table for formatted
representation of data, and lists for nicely formatted bullet points.
* Accessibility@CourseSmart.com is extremely committed to problem-solving.
* Works with Windows (NVDA and JAWS); Mac OS X and iOS (VoiceOver);
Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.
http://www.amac.uga.edu Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) will
work with institutions to provide braille, tactile graphics, and
remediated eText. AMAC has very high-quality and standards and will lift
stress off DSS, allowing DSS to focus on providing service, not
Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC)
* DSS, institutions, organizations, and companies have no excuse not to
provide braille, tactile graphics, or other alternative media.
"The program is affordable, and offers excellent technical support." Says Chao. "This is the now and future of how students,
instructors, and all in post-secondary education will obtain, work with, and enjoy accessible
More info? Here’s the STEPP site:
STEPP up to the future
Want to ask Kevin some questions about the program? Find him on Twitter: @KevinChao89. Another wrap-up post to follow. Thanks for reading.