The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Accessibility Technology Classes at Forbes Library

WHAT: Accessibility Technology Classes
WHEN: Second Friday of each month from 1-2:30PM
WHERE: Forbes Library, 20 West St, Northampton 

Forbes Library is offering a series of free classes on assistive technology and related topics on the second Friday of each month from 1-2:30PM. Assistive technology helps people with challenges like low vision, hearing loss, or fine motor problems. All classes will take place in the library's Community Room and will be taught by Rick Ely. The classes will provide demonstrations and time for question and answers. Participants will have the opportunity to sign up for one on one or small group tutoring for hands-on instruction related to the topics covered in each class.

Accessibility Focus: Get Reading Again: October 12, 2018
Accessing Portable Apple and Android Devices: November 9, 2018
Discovering Audio Description: December 14, 2018
Enlarged Screen or Speech: Access to your PC, January 11, 2019
Advanced Read Again: February 8, 2019

Class descriptions are below.

1. Get Reading Again

Is your vision making reading increasingly difficult? Do you find it a challenge to hold a book for a long time or to turn pages? If so, there are many tools to make reading easier. Many of them are absolutely FREE! This first workshop will offer paths to independent reading when vision loss or other physical challenges make this difficult. The two-hour workshop will introduce you to accessible resources for books and magazines and we will review the many tools that make reading accessible again. Come and explore new territories for reading.

2. Accessing Portable Apple and Android Devices

When Apple introduced the iPad in 2010, it had no features to make it accessible to individuals with vision, hearing, motor and like challenges. Since that first iPad, Apple has made enormous strides in supporting access in all their devices. As a result, other manufactures were pressed to offer similar access. This class will focus on enlarged text, spoken output and fine motor access. Bring your interest and, if you have one, your device and lots of questions.

3. Discovering Audio Description in the Theater, on your TV, Tablet or Phone

Have you ever watched a movie or TV and wished you could see more? What kind of amulet is that warlock wearing? What is the make of that car? Who is she kissing! This two-hour class will give a brief overview of Audio Description, what it is and how it is created. We will examine the growing numbers of theatrical film releases, television programs and shows from streaming services like Netflix that are now providing audio description. We will review the ways you can find the described content you want to see and hear. On the way out of the library, how about checking out an audio described DVD? We have a great collection.

4. Enlarged Screen or Speech: Access to your PC

When I took a class in eye physiology, my professor taught that if you are lucky to live long enough, you will lose vision. Does that mean you will have to give up Facebook, email, Wikipedia or goofy cat videos? “NO!” Learn about screen magnifiers and screen readers that will speak the text on your display. This class will introduce some simple ways to make your PC easier to see. We will learn to use Windows Magnifier, already part of your Windows system, and NVDA, a free screen reader. With them you can be quite sure you can keep using your computer.

5. Advanced Read Again: for Those Wanting a University Size Library and Tools to Work with Text You Find There

We will explore two sources of accessible e-books, and apps for working with them: Project Gutenberg and BookShare. Project Gutenberg offers about 57,000 items in its free collection. The BookShare collection offers roughly 655,000 titles. BookShare serves individuals for whom reading print books is a significant challenge. It is available to folks with low vision or blindness, learning disability or physical challenges like fine motor coordination. (Students in the U.S. have free access. Others pay a modest registration and annual fee.)

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