Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Student Tech Wiz

This week I am happy to blog about one of my students. He has a unique talent for technology and worked at our agency this summer in the Braille Unit.
I spent some quality tech time one afternoon with him and got some tips for acquiring good tech skills for students.
Here's my conversation with John Carnemolla, 16 years old. He was born with ROP with a nystagmus and a little light perception. 
Fast facts about John:
  • He's been into technology since 2006.
  • He got started because he had a computer and just got interested.
  • First piece of technology was a PC, then an MPOWER in 5th grade. He played games and started feeling around. He used the word processing programs, too. 
  • Skills that he has that help be successful: typing, listening, patience and good keyboarding skills--knows the commands like the back of his hand!
  • He reads the programming manuals to learn the operating systems. 
  • He started typing in kindergarten and actually prefers the QWERTY keyboard over a Braille input because it's a similar interface to a computer. 
  • He uses Bookshare a lot on his APEX. He says using Bookshare is awesome because "in 10 minutes you can get 50 books".
  • He plays chess and cards on his APEX.
Programs John likes:
  • He has a Braillenote APEX (He's like a whiz on it!!)
  • He likes the APEX because he says it's easy to use.
  • John prefers JAWS but will also use NVDA (which he taught me about the day I hung out with him). NVDA is an open source program (a freebie!) that works like JAWS-ish but is better than Word.

How do your teachers handle your technology in the classroom? 
John says it's all pretty cool. He comments that it is handy to use the email via WIFI in school and is completely electronic in school.

What skills are a must for tech users?
Keyboarding for sure! Next is good understanding of the computer. 

Got a tech question? John is definitely one of my favorite resources to hit up! He's smart as a whip when it comes to technology. He's helped me do presentations on adaptive technology with community partners. Feel free to email me and I will pass it on to him!

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