Twenty years ago, it was unthinkable for a blind person to use computers. Today, blind and visually impaired persons have thrived as contact center agents, virtual assistants, web content writers, programmers, web auditors and a host of other jobs with the help of assistive technology.
In the Philippines, a not-for-profit organization named Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of the Visually Impaired (ATRIEV) started it all in 1999. Going beyond the clichés of music and massage, a group of visually-impaired technology enthusiasts put up ATRIEV. ATRIEV is the first organization in the Philippines that focused on bringing technology to the blind through assistive programs and tools.
On November 22, 2018 at an Employers Forum entitled “We Can Do I.T. Using Information Technology To Expand Work Opportunities For Persons With Disabilities”, to be held at Microsoft Philippines, a digital literacy training manual will be launched. The manual is designed to help teachers and trainers in teaching I.T. to the blind and visually-impaired.
This Digital Literacy Training: A Manual for Teaching the visually-impaired is a compilation of ATRIEV’s accumulated experiences for the past 20 years. A team of competent visually-impaired trainers were assembled to write the various technical and soft skills parts of this manual. The manual covers the basic Microsoft productivity suite: Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint. An extensive discussion on the use of the Internet, e-mail, social media and chat are included in the manual. Soft skills modules focusing on behavioral and communication skills are integrated in the technical part of the manual. From the step-by-step instruction to the evaluation rubric, all are customized to the needs and abilities of the visually-impaired learner.
Top caliber professors from Ateneo de Manila University, one of the Philippines’ premier educational institutions, helped the ATRIEV visually-impaired writers in developing and organizing their wealth of experience into a professional instructional manual.
Through this manual, ATRIEV hopes to encourage both sighted and sightless trainers to teach the blind the wonders of technology and help in bridging the digital divide.