The First Batch of Writing for the Web Training for Students
Conducted in partnership with
TELUS International Philippines
In today’s modern era of technology, we are already witnessing a lot of improvement in people’s lives, not just in terms of education and entertainment, but also when it comes to business and employment.
One of these trending types of income generators online is being a home-based writer, and you know what? People with disability are also qualified to be an author, a vlogger, a blogger and a writer of other kinds of content that you can find over the web. In that way, persons with disability can earn money on their own, without leaving the comforts of their homes.
Writing for the Web Training is an exciting and comprehensive 30-day class conducted by ATRIEV I.T. Center for the Blind that caters people with visual, speech and mobility impairment, and guides them in discovering their voice, their style and their strength as a writer. It is incorporated with fun activities that the trainees can enjoy while learning the different tips and tricks of writing.
My Personal Experience as a Trainer
When I was appointed to be one of the selected trainers of this training, I felt a bit nervous. It was my first time to lead this kind of training, but my excitement to teach and mold trainees into a productive individual through writing and technology helped me to get over with my hesitations.
We have gathered 11 trainees with visual impairment, four with mobility impairment and one with speech impairment, and they are all eager to learn and practice what they’ve learned from each session.
This training served as a fun and one of a kind teaching and learning experience for me as a trainer. I had a lot of first times. Aside from the fact that this was my first time to conduct this kind of course, it was also my first time to handle a class composed of participants with cross disability as a 30-day center-based training.
It was both challenging and exciting at the same time, because of the wide range of the age, personality, writing experience and disability of the trainees, that everyone had to adjust with each other’s needs in terms of instructional aids and assistance.
Trainees with mobility and speech impairment served as the eyes, reader, guide, and color and image descriptor of the blind. The visually-impaired participants became the hands and feet of their classmates who have difficulties in moving and walking. In spite of their limitations and differences in most aspects, still, they have shown helpfulness, adaptability, unity and empathy to each other.
To cater to the needs and learning styles of the trainees, I, together with my other co-trainers, made it sure that no-one was left behind. We created PowerPoint presentations, distributed reading materials, allotted time for video viewing, used cloud storage and social media to transfer files, inserted some energizers in between discussions, and had a one-on-one coaching to those who needed assistance when it comes to writing.
Apart from the daily discussions we had, we also had the highlights of the training that all our trainees had to go through to be successful in completing the whole course.
The large portion of the training was spent on writing. We had a daily 10-minute writing exercise with different themes, topics and classifications. We also tasked the trainees to write movie, restaurant and product reviews, travel logs, rewritten articles, how-tos, scripts, interviews and stories based on their own experiences.
Some articles were read aloud by the trainees with mobility impairment and everyone had the chance to give feedback to the writer. Most of them were anxious to have their articles be heard by the whole class and were hesitant to give comments at first, but then, they had overcome their fears as the days went by.
Creating a Website
Using WordPress, a website creation tool, the trainees were guided through step-by-step procedure in creating, designing and navigating their own websites.
Low vision, mobility and speech impaired trainees worked hand-in-hand with totally blind participants in doing their projects, especially with the visual aspects of the website, such as the images, designs, colors and other graphical features of WordPress. The screen reader also made it possible for them to navigate and explore their website on their own.
Posting Visuals for Social Media
During the social media marketing class, it was explained that aside from the stories in text, visuals such as videos and images are also important keys to create eye-catching, readable and likable posts. Although having mostly visually-impaired participants, we asked everyone to use their mobile phones in taking medium-shot photos for the quote card. Mobility and speech impaired trainees were all willing to help their totally blind co-trainees to capture photos through different techniques and strategies. Later on, all visually-impaired participants, including those inborn blind, had a chance to take pictures independently.
Through the quote card created and edited by the trainees, they also made a print design for the class T-shirt with their class picture on it.
Online videos such as vlogs and listicles are also a type of web content. One of the major projects of the trainees is to write, shoot and edit a five-minute video based on their chosen topics with the same theme and target audience.
The class was divided into three groups and each group had to submit a video that can be informative, inspiring and entertaining.
Before the day of the shooting, the trainees had prepared all the needed tasks and materials for their video. They had even undergone a one-day script writing workshop for their video scripts and selected members to be the director, script writer, cameraman and production assistant.
During the shoot day, everyone executed their assigned tasks very well. We started as early as 7:00 AM and finished the shoot of all the groups’ videos before 6:00 PM.
Video bits and cuts were needed to be collected, compiled and edited in order to create a five-minute video, and so the days after the shoot day were spent in teaching the trainees on editing videos using PowerPoint and the built-in video editors in their computers.
Through the assistance of the trainers, sighted and low vision trainees, totally blind participants also had a chance to trim videos and add sound background on the videos they had edited.
Interview with the Experts
One week before the training had ended, we have invited experts from different established companies such as publishing company, restaurant, events venue and construction company, to conduct a short interview about their branding, unique value proposition and everything about their business.
All trainees were all active in asking questions and the guests were also enthusiastic in answering the inquiries from the trainees. In connection with writing, the trainees learned the importance of branding, voice and style as a writer after the interview sessions with the experts.
This training might have a lot of challenges, surprises, twists and turns, but I can say that it has been a wonderful rollercoaster ride for me as a trainer. I met and taught new people, observed their progress as trainees, read their articles, gave them feedback, provided them with activities, inspired them and watched them learn and enjoy the training at the same time.
30 days are not enough to be expert in writing but with a great determination and practice, everyone can be better at this craft. I believe that each trainee has something to improve and all of them are entitled to achieve the writing path they are heading to.