8.0158 Access; Have You Hugged Your Computer Today? (1/75)

Tue, 30 Aug 1994 14:17:47 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 8, No. 0158. Tuesday, 30 Aug 1994.

Date: Mon, 29 Aug 1994 06:02:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Have You Hugged Your Computer Today?"

People always talk about computers being cold and depersonalizing,
but, after more than 30 years of teaching, my use of computers in
education resulted in my being hugged by a coed. I am totally blind,
and the student is deaf. We used the computer to communicate. To read
the full story, you'll have to also read the intervening material on the
importance of making computers and information technology accessible to
persons with disabilities.

EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) is dedicated to
disseminating information on adaptive computing. It can open new worlds
for faculty, staff and students. Besides providing better access to
education, it can open doors to employment.

EASI and RIT (The Rochester Institute of Technology) provide a
three-week, online workshop called adapt-it to provide a wealth of
information about disabilities, adaptive computing and the Americans
With Disabilities Act. The fee for the workshop is $125. All materials
are delivered using email. Besides providing carefully researched and
written information, this provides ample opportunity for participants to
share experiences and ask questions. Members learn as much from one
another as from their instructors.

The next presentation of adapt-it will begin on September 19.
There will also be workshops in November, January and April.

To get more information about the adapt-it workshop, send email to:

listserver@listserv.isc.rit.edu with these two words of text:

info adapt-it

To see a syllabus of the adapt-it workshop, send email to the same
address, but with these two words:

info workshop

To join the workshop, send email to the same address with the
following text:

sub adapt-it (and your name in quotes). In return, you will receive
information on payment and participation.

Please forward this mail to as many people as you know who are or
should be interested in taking such a workshop.


As Paul Harvey says: "and now for the rest of the story:

I make increasing use of computer mediated communication in most of
my history classes. My students submit their work in email, and my
computer reads it to me. I return grades the same way. I often use it
to engage students in group discussions where they are usually less
inhibited. The discussions also permit more reflection by the students
and often produce a better quality discussion.

One deaf girl in my class was ready to drop the course on hearing
of the computer use. I had her come to my office and we swapped the
keyboard back and forth using the computer to communicate. I wrote, and
she read. She wrote, and my computer talked to me.

By the end of the course, she returned to chat and check that she
had completed all her work. Then, she thanked me for forcing her to
learn the use of the computer and said it had really been beneficial to
me. At this point, she put her head on my shoulder and gave me a hug.
(OH, yes, the office door was wide open!) Still, it was my first coed
hug since I quit being a student.

To learn more about EASI, send email to EASI@EDUCOM.EDU