The Tenth Computer-Eyes Training for Blind and Visually Impaired Students

Resources for the Blind Incorporated and IBM Philippines celebrated a decade of excellent partnership by organizing the tenth annual Computer-Eyes Training. This event was held from October 31 to November 11, 2011 at the Learning Services Center of IBM Plaza in Eastwood, Quezon City. This project was made possible through the support of the Overbrook Nippon Network on Educational Technology, Freedom Scientific, and the Department of Education.

The main goal of the training is to teach blind and visually impaired high school students the fundamentals of using the computer. A total of 24 blind and visually impaired high school students attended the training. The students came from the country’s three main areas: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Some of the students had basic knowledge about computers while most of them were only able to work on a computer for the first time during this event. I had the privilege of being the trainer in this two-week national training.

Julius discussing with the students during the Computer-Eyes Training

We began by learning how to use the screen reader. This is a computer application that reads the highlighted text on the screen. Screen readers enable blind and visually impaired people to use the computer and surf the Internet. Next, the students learned how to use Microsoft Word, one of the most important applications in the Windows operating system. Using the screen reader, the group was able to create documents and ensure their good quality.

Then the students learned how to surf the Internet and send and receive messages via email. Each participant was able to send a thank you email to all the sponsors and organizers of the training. We concluded by having a mini web accessibility workshop. This is the first time that web accessibility was included in the contents of the Computer-Eyes Training. In this workshop, I helped the students learn about the importance of web accessibility and their human right to accessible information on the Internet. We had a memorable closing ceremony which was attended by managers from IBM Philippines and Mr. Randy Weisser, executive director of Resources for the Blind, Inc.

the participants of the 2011 Computer-Eyes Training

To all the students who attended the training, we hope that the knowledge and skills you acquired would serve as the foundation on which you would build a productive life and a bright future. You are a very talented group, and I and all the other trainers and organizers would certainly keep in touch. I also want to thank Miss Mayette C. Regala of RBI for inviting me to share my knowledge and expertise and for ensuring that the training was a complete success. This has been a very good experience for me, and I am honored to be part of the lives of these future leaders of our country.

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