Zooming Into the Future

Zooming. Yes, this is definitely the case, and in more ways than one, too.

Lots of folks probably know about the www.zoom.us cloud meeting and webinar platform. But what a lot of people do NOT realize is that Zoom’s creators really “get” accessibility. That accessibility is further enhanced by www.mosen.org/zoom, a tutorial from our ever-creative friend, Jonathan Mosen, who places particular emphasis on making the most of audio when it comes to sharing it in various configurations along with screen sharing.

So, when friends arrived for Sunday dinner last week, I was all ready for them! Before they arrived, they received an e-mail containing an invitational link to join a Zoom meeting. I had the meeting all set up on the Windows 10 machine, sharing screen and audio from my iPhone. Once settled, they all logged on, and from the office, I was able to give a multi-media (video/audio) tour of my home screen and how Voiceover works. Participants saw and heard it all on their respective devices.

Of course, you can imagine the implications of this technology when it comes to creating an inclusively designed remote learning experience. Now, with Zoom, text entered by designated captionists can be sent directly to refreshable braille displays to assist participants with serious hearing loss. We are very excited about this potential, as it is becoming obvious that individual and group coaching is going to be an integral component of our courses.

And yes, we’re zooming forward in a number of other ways as things come together, simply because several frustrating technological issues have been resolved. For example, the Apple Accessibility folks finally got my Apple ID vs. iCloud issues resolved so that I can now have all of my notes, documents, and the music collection on all devices at the same time, thank you! At least Apple was able to fix this frustrating situation even though it was they who caused it in the first place. I suppose one could argue that the music isn’t that important, but curating and listening to an eclectic collection of music from around the world is my favourite stress reducer, so that I was pretty freaked at the idea that it might have to “go away”.

As well, after a couple of months of serious angst, caused by someone’s inability to follow through on their commitment, we are most pleased to announce that we have a good web developer and support person who I’m sure will have our website up and running again before long, thus ending a very unfortunate situation which has existed since well before Xmas. We welcome and thank Damashe Thomas www.damashe.org for his wise and knowledgeable consultation and we highly recommend him.

In other news, we had a great first meeting with our www.mirasee.com Course Builder’s Laboratory coach Bill Doerr, who is particularly supportive and enthusiastic about what we’re doing. His challenging questions really make us think. And thanks to Zoom, there is a one hour drop-in office hour Monday through Friday, facilitated by one of the coaches, where people can share info about their course development journeys. It’s a lot easier to move forward through a complex and sometimes daunting process when you realize you’re not doing it alone. There’s also a very active Facebook group where experiences are shared.

Finally, I’m happy to report that the “Made for Everything” (MFE) hearing aids are now working beautifully after a couple of final adjustments. All we’re waiting for now is the remote microphone that can broadcast from the podium at the front of a large room right to the hearing aids. This accessory will prove particularly useful for a couple of conferences that we’ll be attending in April – one in Montreal and one in Vancouver. We’ll have more info on those over the next post or two.

Meanwhile, we’ll be rewriting website content and LinkedIn profiles, conducting research interviews to help us determine pilot course content, and tightening up our time management. That last point is much, much better than in the past, but it tends to slip a bit, especially when there are too many grey, rainy days in a row. Then again, such days can be perfect for writing blog posts, can’t they?

We’ll be adding more to our YouTube channel tinyurl.com/ihabilitationcanadavideos and you can hear news from me, The iHabilitation Man, every Tuesday on www.ami.ca/kellyco

Until next time, have fun, do good, and Zoom along smoothly in your journey too!