Computer for the Blind

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the visually handicapped *******

By Tamarapu Sampath Kumaran

“Padmanabha View” Old No: 9 / New No: 17 2nd Main Road, Gandhinagar CHENNAI – 600 020


This booklet is a beginner’s guide to teach the Computer, to the visually handicapped students and facilitate them to learn the programs. Once they successfully complete the basic program they can pursue the Advanced programs, depending upon their interest and aptitude.

Contact Person: - KARNA VIDYA LIBRARY Mrs. Shyla V 2/4 I Floor, 3rd Main Road Raja Annamalai Puram Chennai – 600 028 Cell: 938100 4365

Computer is defined as:
An electronic machine for storing and organizing information and for communicating with others computers.

It is also defined as a programmable electronic machine that performs high-speed mathematical or logical operations or that assembles, stores, correlates, or otherwise processes information. Computer accepts information in the form of digitalized data and manipulates it for some result, based on a program or sequence of instructions on how the data is to be processed, as well to store data. Computers come in all types and sizes. There are primarily two main sizes of computers. They are:
• •

Portable Desktop

The mechanical system, or the physical components, in a computer is called Hardware, and the program and information that is being fed into it is called the software. All general-purpose computers require the following hardware components: • Memory : Enables a computer to temporarily store, data and programs. • Mass storage device: Allows a computer to permanently retain large amounts of data, by disk drives and tape drives. • Input device : Comprises a keyboard and mouse by which data and instructions enter a computer. • Output device : A display screen, printer, or other device. • Central processing unit (CPU): The heart of the computer and this is the component that actually executes instructions. Computer software, consisting of programs, which enables a computer to perform specific tasks, and is divided into three major classes: system software, programming software and application software..

System software helps run the computer hardware and computer system. It includes operating systems, device drivers, diagnostic tools, servers, windowing systems, utilities and more. Programming software usually provides tools to assist a programmer in writing computer programs and software using different programming languages in a more convenient way. The tools include text editors, compilers, interpreters, linkers, debuggers, and so on. Application software allows end users to accomplish one or more specific (noncomputer related) tasks. Typical applications include industrial automation,

business software, educational software, medical software, databases, and computer games

Computer software has to be "loaded" into the computer's storage (such as a hard drive, memory, or RAM). Once the software is loaded, the computer is able to execute the software. Computers operate by executing the computer program. This involves passing instructions from the application software, through the system software, to the hardware which ultimately receives the instruction as machine code. Each instruction causes the computer to carry out an operation -- moving data, carrying out a computation, or altering the control flow of instructions.

Computer Components:
Computers are made of the following basic components: 1. Power Supply - The power supply comes with the case, but this component is mentioned separately since there are various types of power supplies to ensure uninterrupted power supply during general power failure.

2. Computer case - (CPU) - comprising of:

Motherboard – This is the heart of the computer. This is where the core components of the computer reside, which are listed below. i. Microprocessor - This is the brain of the computer, which performs commands and instructions and controls the operation of the computer.

ii. Memory - The RAM is mounted on the motherboard. This is the memory that must be powered on to retain its contents. iii. Drive controllers - The drive controllers control the interface of the system to the hard drives. The controllers let the hard drives work by controlling their operation. On most systems, they are included on the motherboard Hard disk drive(s) - This is where the files are permanently stored on the computer. Also, normally, the operating system is installed here. CD-ROM drive(s) - This is normally a read only drive where files are permanently stored. There are now read/write CD-ROM drives that use special software to allow users to read from and write to these drives. Floppy drive(s) - A floppy is a small disk storage device and has a very limited, about 1.4 Megabytes, memory capacity. Other possible file storage devices include DVD devices, Tape backup devices, and sound adopter and speakers. 3. Monitor - This device which operates like a TV screen lets the user see the text, as well display icons to give commands.

4. Keyboard - This is where the user enters text commands into the computer.

5. Mouse - A point and click interface for entering commands which works well in graphical environments.

Booting the computer: It is the technical term for starting a computer. Computer with Voice Recognition for the Visually Handicapped (Blind) Users Many people with clear vision deficiency depend on voice command for operating their Computer - known as voice in-voice out, which is programmed through the screen reading software. However, the keyboard is still the most efficient way of inputting data into the computer. and should be thoroughly practiced for easy operation. This needs continuous practice.

Keyboard is one of the most important aspects of disability access. Blind people generally cannot use a mouse because they cannot see where to click. They use their keyboard almost exclusively. The standard keyboard is usually called a 'QWERTY' keyboard because of the order of the first six alphabetical characters on the unit. The main functions may be categorised as follows:

1 Alpha-numeric characters.
These are the numbers 0 to 9 and the letters of the alphabet in both upper and lower case.

2 Punctuation marks.
These include the full stop, comma, inverted commas, colon and semi-colon. In the computing world, many punctuation marks have special significance and special names. Here are a few examples: # - called 'hash' used to mean 'number' but has other purposes. ? - called 'query' often associated with printing functions. @ - called 'at' normally being used in e-mail addresses. ~ - called 'tilde' finds frequent use in abbreviating web addresses.

3 Control Keys
These consist of 'Escape', 'Tab', 'Caps Lock', 'Enter', 'Delete' etc. The control key itself (Ctrl) gives a different key press level so that pressing Ctrl+key produces a completely different function. The 'Alt' key has a similar purpose, for example, pressing 'Alt+F' is the same as clicking on the 'File' pull-down menu in Windows 'Program Manager'. It has a similar effect in many other applications and was in use, long before it was common to use a mouse with a computer. Even now, typing Alt+F, X, Enter, is a much quicker alternative to using the mouse and is frequently preferred by more experienced programmers. Although it is rare, the mouse function does sometimes fail, so being aware of these commands enables the computer to be navigated and shut down properly from the keyboard. The Tab button allows you to step through text boxes more easily than pointing and clicking with the mouse to obtain the 'I' bar. Alt+Tab allows you to step through all the applications you have running at any one time. Releasing the Tab button enables you to remain in the application being run and work on it before returning to the current application. Ctrl+Alt+Delete is one of the 'last resort' key press combinations. If a program has 'locked up' or stopped responding, pressing this key combination is often the only way of regaining control - short of switching the computer off and starting again (which is NOT recommended).

4 Function Keys
These are the keys F1 to F12 usually found along the top of the keyboard. Their use varies considerably from one machine to another and may also be dependent on the software being run. For example, if you're using Microsoft Word and you wish to highlight text to change font or colour, to make bold or italicise or simply to delete, the standard method is to click and drag with the mouse. This is often difficult to achieve and areas not required may be highlighted, whilst other parts may be missed. Using the function keys, once you've pressed F8, pressing it again will highlight a word, pressing again will highlight a sentence and pressing a third time will highlight an entire paragraph. To select the word, place the cursor at the front of the word, just behind it, or anywhere in between. This function can be turned off by hitting the Escape button. Shortcut Keys Shortcuts keys help provide an easier and usually quicker method of navigating with out the mouse and using computer software programs. This is basically supportive to the blind. Shortcut keys are commonly accessed by using the Ctrl, and/or Shift in conjunction with a single letter Basic PC shortcut keys Alt + E F1 Ctrl + A Ctrl + X Shift + Del Ctrl + C Ctrl + Ins Ctrl + V Shift + Ins Home Ctrl + Home End Ctrl + End Shift + Home Shift + End Ctrl + Left arrow Ctrl + Right arrow Edit options in current program Universal Help in almost every Windows program. Select all text. Cut selected item. Cut selected item. Copy selected item. Copy selected item Paste Paste Goes to beginning of current line. Goes to beginning of document. Goes to end of current line. Goes to end of document. Highlights from current position to beginning of line. Highlights from current position to end of line. Moves one word to the left at a time. Moves one word to the right at a time.

Commonly known as "function keys", F1 through F12 may have a variety of different uses or no use at all. Depending on the installed operating system and the software program currently open will change how each of these keys operate. A program is capable of not only using each of the function keys, but also combining the function keys with the ALT and/or CTRL keys, for example, Microsoft Windows users can press ALT + F4 to close the program currently active.

Let us learn how to use the 14 top most commonly used Windows XP shortcuts.

14 Helpful Keyboard Shortcuts
To take advantage of, one should be comfortable using a keyboard and be familiar with the layout.

Tip 1: Quickly Accessing the Start Menu
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key

Tip 2: Quickly getting to your System Properties
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + Pause/Break

Tip 3: Quickly getting to your Run Dialog Box
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + R

Tip 4: Quickly Locking your System
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + L

Tip 5: Quickly Search for Anything
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + F Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + Ctrl + F

Tip 6: Quickly Minimizing and Restoring Windows

Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + D

Tip 7: Quickly getting to the Utility Manager
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + U

Tip 8: Quickly getting to Help and Support
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + F1

Tip 9: Quickly getting to Windows Explorer
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + E

Tip 10: Quickly delete something without being ASKED to
Keyboard Shortcut: Shift + Del

Tip 11: Quickly getting to your shortcut menu
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key

Tip 12: Quickly getting to your Task Manager
Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + Del

Tip 13: Quickly switch between running programs
Keyboard Shortcut: Alt + Tab

Tip 14: Quickly Getting to Full Screen Command Prompt
Keyboard Shortcut: Alt + Enter

JAWS software, mostly installed in the computers for the visually handicapped, is the self instructor and gives instructions to be followed to carry out all the above programs.
Once a student becomes proficient in using the keyboard, the following lessons are to be taught. Practice program: The following areas of instruction are suggested, making adjustments in the depth of coverage and order of presentation based upon each student’s abilities and needs. The student’s access method - screen reader with speech, screen reader with Braille, screen magnification software, etc - should be taught in conjunction with the following areas, rather than separately. Essential:
• • • • • • • •

Keyboarding Word Processing (Microsoft Word) Translating and embossing, if a Braille reader (Duxbury) File Management (via the Desktop, Windows Explorer, later within the Open and Save As dialog boxes) Email (Outlook Express) Web (Internet Explorer) Scanning, if appropriate Configuring Windows to be more accessible

Word processor and Excel:

More formally known as document preparation system is a computer application used for the production (including composition, editing, formatting, and possibly printing) of any sort of printable material. Word processing was one of the earliest applications for the personal computer in office productivity. Microsoft Word is the most widely used computer word processing system, and have a variety of uses and applications in the field of business, home, and education. Example: First type windows key, then type P – will get programs in the monitor. Type W – will get word. And start your job. (The whole process will be supported by voice guidance)

Lessons on Word processing:
Creating a Document: Creating a new document is as easy as opening the Word program and we start out by explaining how to do this from the Windows start menu. Formatting Transferring the words from thought to the keyboard, is the first step in getting a document done in a presentable form, as well to highlight bold, italicize and underline the documents wherever needed. Opening and Saving Documents How to save them into folders, as well as how to open them again later. Checking the Spelling Even the most literate people get stumped as to how to spell certain words, and all of us commit mistakes. The process of spell checking allows us to correct any mistakes we may have made along the way. Spell checking contains many keyboard commands to access all of the many options available to the student. Checking Grammatical Errors It's not enough to ensure that the spelling is correct. Microsoft Word's grammar checker examines your sentences and offers suggestions for many commonly made errors. Review of Cut, Copy and pasting Since highlighting text is the most important thing to learn, we feel it's justified to have a review of how to highlight, cut, copy and paste text in your documents. Printing the Document

Many a times, documents are to be got printed and we will explain how to print, and printing multiple copies. Besides Word processing, the other program which is currently in high demand on the job market is Microsoft Excel. Excel is a program used to create spreadsheets, designed to facilitate the manipulation of data for budgets, salary expenses, tax reports, proposals, etc.

By regular practice a visually handicapped student can easily master the programs, and compete with others.

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