Archive for April, 2007
Babymouse is a freeware windows ‘lock-down’ program that reduces mouse functionality. It can disable all right-mouse clicks and restrict mouse use to an area of the screen. This makes it ideal for use in classrooms where pupils often get distracted by accidentally – and sometimes intentionally – clicking on icons, toolbars and the start menu.
I had high hopes for this software but is it any good? And is it really free?
Find out in my mini-review of Babymouse.
April 25th, 2007
The SEN Teacher website is a popular, easy-to-use resource of classroom materials relating to special educational needs. There are three main sections:
- Printables contains 30 printable worksheet resources covering topics such as numeracy and handwriting.
- Downloads consists of several Flash activities created by the site author, Simon Evans, and links to more similar activities and programs by other authors. All the software is free and ranges from basic hit-and-happen touchscreen animations to advanced switch access to Windows and painting programs.
- Web links contains links to over 50 websites that should be in the ‘Favourites’ menu of any SEN teacher. It includes a comprehensive list of websites organised by disability, free resources and other supportive sites and portals.
The content and features of the website have increased significantly over recent months.
Visit SEN Teacher
April 24th, 2007
The newly developed Hawking Toolbar is a free, open source plugin for the Firefox web browser that makes possible single-switch access to the internet through an autoscan. It also provides group scanning, which makes the process much more efficient, and switch access to page scrolling and the most common browser features, making it useful for two-switch users as well.
Many thanks to Linda Wilson who notified me that this was missing from my original Switch Access to the Internet article.
Read more about the Hawking Toolbar.
Find out more about switch access.
April 20th, 2007
A new article has been added to the main BLTT website.
Accessing the Internet using switches alone is possible but its ease and practicality depends on the web site you are attempting to access.
Two-switch users can jump in and use simple websites simply by setting their switch driver to use TAB and ENTER to allow them to scan and select links. For more complex pages specialist software such as The Grid may need to be employed.
Single-switch users will always need specialist software to allow them to automatically scan through links. HotSpots can provide a great solution for simple layouts.
Read the article.
April 15th, 2007
…and it won’t be IBM’s first foray into web accessibility. They alread provide their Webadapt2me service, Easy Web Browser and Home Page Reader – all of which are more or less designed to help people with visual impairments access with web in different scenarios.
Their new accessible browser – current codenamed ‘A-browser’ – builds upon the technology used in their Easy Web Browser. In addition to providing text-to-speech and help with navigation, A-Browser will provide improved access to streaming videos and animation.
Mike Azzi, spokesperson for IBM emerging technologies and global communications, said to TechNetNews “The visually impaired person cannot find the controls on the Web site to actually go ahead and click through to the video. This software helps them to locate the controls, to operate the video.”
Further information is available:
this information came via PaceIT blog
April 4th, 2007
I have added five JAWS cribsheets to the main bltt website.
They contain information to help new users get to grip with common Windows programs and activities. These include sending and receiving emails and using Microsoft Word.
These training materials are available now, for free, from the Better Living Through Technology JAWS screenreader page.
April 3rd, 2007