Archive for December, 2010

Google Video Teaches How To Make Text Bigger

2010/12/30

A new Web site, TeachParentsTech.org, was announced by Google recently. Its purpose is to teach basic computer skills to parents. See the announcement and explanation.

The site teaches exclusively via videos. Among the 50+ videos now on the site, “How to make text bigger (or smaller)”, embedded below, is included in the first group displayed on the home page. My guess is that’s because learning how to make text bigger is one of the most common skills parents (older adults for whom vision may not be ideal) request to be taught.

The video starts be reassuring the audience that the task is “super easy”. The skill is then succinctly defined. It is taught exactly how I intend to do so, in that the audience is shown how to use a two-key combination within a Web browser. There is perhaps one main difference between the video and the one I hope to produce for people with cognitive disabilities. I intend to show an image of a keyboard, focusing specifically on how to press the correct two keys, in sequence, to make a Web page (text) larger.

Notes:

Teaching People How To Enlarge Web Pages: Task Definition

2010/12/27

Many people need to enlarge Web pages to better see information. People with cognitive disabilities often require larger text sizes to better comprehend information as well.

To develop a best practice for teaching a Web page (text) enlargement skill, I will conduct in-person teaching to groups of people with cognitive disabilities. Specifically, I intend to teach people to use a keyboard with a Web browser to enlarge Web pages. Many browsers will enlarge pages in response to the pressing of two keys: the plus key and the Control key (IBM) / Command key (Mac).

Functional Objective

Given a Web page that may contain images, but must contain text, learners will press two keys to enlarge page content.

Outcome Measure

Learners will open a novel Web page and, without instruction or prompting, enlarge its contents.

Component Skills To Be Taught

Pressing Keys

Learners will:

  • locate the correct keys (2)
  • hold-down one key for at least 3 seconds with sufficient force to be recognized by the computer
  • hold down the one key and tap the other key by pressing it with sufficient force to be recognized by the computer, and immediately releasing it

Completing Sequential Steps

Learners will:

  • follow a multi-step chain of behaviors
  • identify the start- and end points of the behavior chain
  • repeat the behavior chain

Prerequisites

Learners must be able to:

  • respond to textual-, auditory- and/or video-based instruction
  • press keys with their fingers or with equivalent assistive-technology
  • press the correct keys only
  • open a Web page with Internet Explorer

Computers must be:

  • IBM-compatible
  • attached to a monitor and a keyboard or equivalent assistive-technology
  • using Internet Explorer as the default Web browser
  • connected to the Internet

Notes:

Multimodal Summary of Complex Sentences for People with Cognitive Disabilities

2010/12/01

The following is a synopsis of work on creating multimodal summaries of complex sentences.  A poster of that work, performed by The Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at The University of Rochester, is the source of all the quoted information in this blog post. I plan to employ this approach on the future Clear Helper Web Site.

The Approach

We propose Multimodal summary of complex sentences. It gives readers the main idea of sentences using pictures and compressed text structured according to simplified text.

The general steps in the MMS approach are:

  • Identify both the main idea of the sentence and related entities and use them to create a compressed summary.
  • Extract pictures for the compressed summary.
  • Add structure to the pictures and text.

Example

Input sentence: In 1492, Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus, under contract to the Spanish crown, reached several Caribbean islands, making first contact with the indigenous people.

Identify event and related entities: In 1492, Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus, under
contract to the Spanish crown, reached several Caribbean islands, making first contact with the
indigenous people.

Extract picture and add structure:

Sentence text, parsed by event and entities, alongside representative pictures.

Naushad UzZaman, Jeffrey P. Bigham and James F. Allen. “Multimodal Summarization for People with Cognitive Disabilities in Reading, Linguistic and Verbal Comprehension” poster presented at “All Together Now: The Power of Partnerships In Cognitive Disability & Technology.” Tenth Annual Conference of The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities. Westminster, Colorado. 21 October 2010.

Note: No endorsement of The Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at The University of Rochester is intended or implied.


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