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OIB Live Forum - What's Working (or not) with Remote Training

We invite you to participate in a conversation about remote instruction on Friday, August 7, at 2 pm eastern, 1 pm central, noon mountain, and 11 am pacific on this forum page. As we continue to be limited in how much interaction we can have with our consumers, we want to share ideas about what is working and what is not. Discussing our experiences will help us learn about creative solutions. We look forward to a lively discussion and your participation. To participate in the forum, please click any "add a comment" button with any questions or insights you may have about the topic. Our experts will be online for one hour to interact with the discussion. This is a text-only interface if you wish to contact us by phone call 662-325-8243. There is no audio or video.

If you have trouble logging in to your account or cannot access your account, please email Simon Marcy at smarcy@colled.msstate.edu. He can notify you of your user name or edit your password.

Sylvia Perez and Kendra Farrow, from the OIB-TAC, are both experienced certified vision rehabilitation therapists. Their direct service experiences and extensive observations of OIB programs across the country will help them in leading our discussion on providing remote instruction during the COVID 19 outbreak. Feel free to post your questions or ideas on how remote instruction might occur.

Following the live event, our staff will continue to check back periodically to provide any additional information that might be requested.

 

Comments

Kendra Farrow's picture

When we first started talking about providing instruction remotely, I felt a little overwhelmed and unsure how to help others since I had never tried to do remote instruction before. Since I don't directly serve clients anymore I decided to try to teach a friend who is blind to crochet. We completed 4 lessons by phone and she has been happily crocheting ever since, What have been some of your experiences in providing remote instruction?
Mark Armstrong's picture

In providing remote instruction, I too feel somewhat overwhelmed. There’s new technology emerging & it takes time and practice to learn. Using ZT Fusion for access also adds another dimension. I do like the fact that Apps such as Zoom are mainstream technologies and it is equally used by individuals with vision and hearing loss. To my knowledge, captioning cannot be read using Braille in the Zoom App. Captioning requires a participant to capture the conversation or a captioning service can be used. It is important that support & accommodations are considered for each individual.
Emily Damm's picture

I attended a webinar "Accessible Virtual Meeting Accessibility" and they provided a pro and con list for Zoom. Pros were: highly accessible via a screen reader, simple intuitive user interface, dual monitor support, high-quality video, non-video participants can be hidden, built-in support for captioning (via participant or vendor), and supports 100 video participants. The cons were captioning display lacks customization and consistency; security concerns, and no built-in live ASR. However, I do not remember a discussion on Braille and Zoom. Does anyone else know?
Stephanie Jensen's picture

I agree that accommodations need to be individualized. What may work for one person may not work for another. One idea with the captioning is to have the captioning at another link from the captioning service in addition to Zoom.
Sylvia Perez's picture

I was the "friend" Kendra taught to crochet... and it has become one of my favorite hobbies. She explained the instructions very clearly, she held the same project in her hands so she could "feel" what I was feeling, and she was patient.
Stephanie Jensen's picture

I think the remote work is teaching us to communicate clearly and to be patient. This reminds me of a time when I was in high school many years ago. I helped a friend with our math homework. I felt like my hands were tied behind my back.
Malinda Carlson's picture

When I worked at a dog guide school it was always tempting to ask the student with vision loss to hand over the leash and do it myself. However this doesn't benefit the dog or the student so we would put our hands in our pockets and figure out the best way to describe something verbally. Knowing the person's learning style was very helpful but many can't describe their learning style so we get to do that by trying one way of describing and if that doesn't work going at it from a different angle. Talk about building good verbal skills!
Larry Coffey's picture

That's awesome Sylvia
Annely Rose's picture

NFB has a Krafter's Korner division and they hold numerous over-the-phone crafting projects. They have been doing this for over 10 years. I have participated in a few and I have found that they are very good at it. Most, if not all, members are vision impaired or totally blind. Has anyone else had the opportunity to participate?
Jonathan Campbell's picture

I've had three of my blind clients order their first smartphones, iPhones specifically, with the intention of learning how to use VoiceOver to navigate them. I actually had some doubts about the effectiveness of teaching someone from square one how to use the iPhone with VoiceOver entirely over the phone. Most of them had existing landlines I would call into so they could put my on speaker phone while we performed our lessons. Although they have been learning at very different speeds, it has gone way better than I could have imagined. Two of those clients have gotten so confident that they have gotten rid of their secondary lines. I thought the biggest hurdle was going to be teaching some the swipe and double-tap gestures. It was harder than when I visit in person, but by having them turn on VoiceOver Practice and working over and over again, they were able to master the nuances of the gestures. Learning to use the on-screen keyboard with VoiceOver still is the biggest hurdle, but honestly, that is as hard to teach in person as is has been over the phone.
Sylvia Perez's picture

Have you tried to use the VOStarter tutorial for teaching the voice over. I find it a great help.
Jonathan Campbell's picture

Thanks Sylvia. I've tried some VO tutorial apps before but not this one. I will check it out.
Lisa Sluszka's picture

where can that be found?
Jonathan Campbell's picture

Here is a link to it in the App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/vo-starter/id586844936
Catherine Hultman's picture

The VO Starter app can be found here https://apps.apple.com/us/app/vo-starter/id586844936
Melissa 's picture

exactly what I've done!!! do you use the voice over practice on the iphone or another app? i've tried VO starter but for some reason i couldn't get it to work on the newer iphone
Jonathan Campbell's picture

I've done it up until this point entirely on the phone. It's a bit of a challenge sometime to teach them to activate practice mode with a four-finger double-tap, but with a few tries, they usually get it. One of my clients couldn't get it to reliably activate at first, so I got them to ask Siri to "Open VoiceOver Settings" then had the flick right to VoiceOver Practice and double-tap. Failing that they could drag on finger down till they hear VoiceOver Practice and do a split tap instead. More steps but they could do that confidently. I mostly have them use practice mode so we can repetitively practice those core flick and double-tap gestures since when they are performed wrong you can move the VoiceOver cursor around the screen unexpectedly which can be confusing and frustrating.
Stephanie Jensen's picture

I find your story fascinating. It is possible to teach technology to someone that is older. There can be interested. Meeting them where they are can bring to the new technology. Eventually, they will get to be better than any 20 year old.
Jonathan Campbell's picture

I totally agree. Almost all my seniors are way smarter at technology than they think they are. The biggest challenges are managing frustration (with technology we can all relate) and dealing with terminology/jargon. I try to set up early successes (which usually means teaching the use of Siri up front) and I avoid jumping to a conclusion when they describe a problem to me. I had one client whose daughter was trying to help her mother. The Mother kept telling her she wasn't getting messages, but the daughter would open the messages app and send her one and she would get it immediately. When I talked to the mother I asked her to describe the messages she wasn't getting and it became immediately apparent she was talking about Voicemail, but because the daughter understood term "messages" to be text messages she was trying to fix the wrong problem, her voicemail wasn't set up.
Stephanie Jensen's picture

That shows how important it is to be descriptive (sighted or not). Your story and stories are amazing. We can all relate to technology difficulties whether we are sighted or not and whether we are young, old, or in between. I also like your strategy of setting up early successes. We can all look for ways to do that in whatever we are teaching, in person or remote.
Jonathan Campbell's picture

I started out as a trainer working primarily with sighted computer users. My mentor where I worked made a rule: No pointing at the screen for any reason. The justification was that it would negatively impact the discovery part of learning. We could only describe what we wanted them to do or look at on the screen, it was up to them to discover where the link/button/alert was. That way they would know where to look for that type of thing in the future when I wasn't there. It taught me to describe things in detail, but also that if I used a word or jargon the learner didn't know yet then it wouldn't be helpful to them. We would also ask them what they thought they should do next, sometimes they would know, but not use the "correct" term for the object. We would celebrate the fact that their instincts were right, and help them with the correct term second. Knowing or feeling the correct answer was way more important than knowing the right term. A lot of my older clients will grow those instincts much faster than their technology vocabulary, and it's those instincts that will keep them afloat.
Simon Marcy's picture

The OIB-TAC here at the NRTC has compiled a list of resources that we think are helpful in this time of virtual meetings and work. Our remote training resources page covers everything from Low Vision Assessment, O&M Services, and other innovative solutions to help. https://www.oib-tac.org/direct-service/remote-training-resources/
Belinda Ballard's picture

I've just saved it to my favorites
Simon Marcy's picture

Wonderful! I hope it helps!
Richele Pennock's picture

How do you handle a situation DLS lesson on zoom when internet goes down for the trainer/student and client is doing a knife skills lesson?
Sylvia Perez's picture

I would probably not really recommend a knife skills training remotely. This often really requires hand-over-hand or direct observation. If anything, it should only be with a butter knife or plastic knife and using something easy to cut and not something that would slip. This is really maybe a follow up skill but not a skill to be taught first time.
Melissa 's picture

do they have a family member who can be with them to ensure safety? can you create a video on how to do chopping and send it to them so they can watch or set up your chopping and use video chat to show and tell and then have the family member show the client?
Catherine Hultman's picture

Please share a tip from your experience providing remote instruction.
Lisa Sluszka's picture

I am a COMS. I just completed teaching O&M for a summer transition program for teens. It was done totally on Zoom. I prepared information on different O&M topics and engaged the youth. I’m used to teaching O&M in person, so this was very different.
Simon Marcy's picture

Have you checked out our Mental Mapping resource for O&M activities? https://www.oib-tac.org/direct-service/remote-training-resources/
Kendra Farrow's picture

What advice do you have about providing virtual O&M?
Belinda Ballard's picture

Lisa, What skills did you find worked with remote instruction and what skills did you find were not safe to teach that way? I have a student that wants to learn stairs, but I don't feel it would be safe to teach that remotely.
Lisa Sluszka's picture

I provided no cane instruction on stairs or in any environment. Other maybe then to orient someone to the cane, I would not teach any long cane skills remotely. My agency is now seeing clients in person. For O&M, I meet the client outside their home. We both wear masks. I try to remain 6 feet away, but they is often not possible. I can try to instruct verbally but often have to move close to/touch the client. I carry sanitizing wipes in my hand, and if touching cane I do so with wipe.
Kendra Farrow's picture

You can find guidance letters for both O&M and VRT in our remote training folder on providing remote services.
Simon Marcy's picture

Here is our remote training resources page. https://www.oib-tac.org/direct-service/remote-training-resources/
Simon Marcy's picture

I know that it has been a big adjustment for me to move to working remotely. Has anyone found that the video interface has been better than using the telephone?
Malinda Carlson's picture

I think for myself, as a sighted person, it is better to see someone and talk to them at the same time. I can see heads nodding (or not) and I get to see the body language of those on the "call"
Belinda Ballard's picture

A family member or friend can be a valuable asset while providing remote instruction because they can reinforce the information you are trying to convey.
Sylvia Perez's picture

I know one thing we have all learned is how important excellent verbal communication is in providing remote instruction. It helps to have your lesson clearly written out, to have equipment in your hands so you can feel what they do, etc. Explaining well is more important as you can't reach out and make a correction. If family members are around they can assist, and that is a great way to include them and motivate them to support independence. However, not all have family members.
Jonathan Campbell's picture

I teach seniors with low vision and blindness how to use their technology. When it comes to computers the most valuable tools have been the built-in screen sharing features in both the Mac and PC operating systems (Plus JAWS' own Tandem features). I'm lucky enough to have access to both a Windows computer and an Apple computer at my home office. When assisting people on a Windows 10 Computers having them activate the built-in Quick Assist feature has been great. They just need to press Control + Windows + Q then type in a number I provide on my end to start a tandem connection. Apple also has a similar feature on the Mac, they just need an Apple ID. Open the Messages app on your Mac, Start a new message and address it the other persons AppleID email address, then in the Menubar choose Buddies - Ask To Share Screen. The user just needs to choose "Allow" in a notification that pops up. Finally, if they are a JAWS user then I will have them go to Utilities in the JAWS menu and choose JAWS Tandem. I use these built-in tools all the time.
Catherine Hultman's picture

Are you finding any differences related to the age of your consumer, in how easy or difficult it is to provide remote instruction? If so, please explain.
Malinda Carlson's picture

Most certainly! The two biggest are most of our OIB clients are in their 80's and do not have the equipment or support to access zoom. Additionally the hearing loss issues significantly increase in this age group. Often the OIB clients are adventiously blind and are still relying on vision to learn, providing instruction just over the phone is not their preferred learning style.
Kendra Farrow's picture

Have you tried referring consumers with dual sensory impairment to the I Can Connect program? They can help consumers obtain equipment that might make virtual/phone interactions more accessible. We recently had a webinar about the program.
Simon Marcy's picture

Here is a link to our iCanConnect webinar. https://www.oib-tac.org/forum/article/2020/06/national-deaf-blind-equipment-distribution-program/
Melissa 's picture

I have used train the trainer model in some of my teaching. if the person has a family member available for lessons. I have taught things like pouring, labeling, and magnification use this way over video chat with the family member. I am also a COMS so I have taught basic cane skills, human guide and wall trailing, self protective techniques this way. I have also taught things just over the phone like how to use and set a talking clock and some magnification and writing guides, the biggest issue I have is getting a buy in from some of my OB clients that training can be done remotely. any suggestions?
Kendra Farrow's picture

Maybe if you can find something small that won't be too hard to teach/learn and ask them to give you a chance to demonstrate how it can work. Tell them it will only take 20 minutes, or something short and make sure to not go over that time limit. They might not feel like that is too much effort and time to just see how it works.
Melissa 's picture

yeah I can try that. thanks for the idea! I try to keep my appointments short so that we are not on the phone for a long time. I have been trying to do low vision evals over the phone and send out an eye chart prior to. I have been pretty good about figuring out what mags work best based on what they can read and then mail or drop off mags to them to try. any suggestions on how to make sure they are using them correctly? or for evaluating those individuals with large sctomas?
Malinda Carlson's picture

Hi there from Oregon. Last time we were together someone mentioned that the ACVREP had recommended "no feet on the street". I did some investigating and found at the bottom of the ACVREP web page a document from April, put together by COMS SME's. It doesn't say or imply "no feet on the street" to me but strongly urges a robust risk assessment for doing remote O&M lessons as well as making sure the assessment is documented (reducing liability). We have been doing O&M remotely with select clients and are talking about going to in-person O&M lessons while maintaining a 6' distance and wearing face coverings. What are you doing?
Melissa 's picture

it was suggested at the remote O&M brainstorming session held by lighthouseFW that we would be good to teach concepts but not to do outdoor training unless you have a family member or friend who can be there to watch out for safety. it was yesterday the will post the recording on their you tube https://www.youtube.com/user/Lighthousefw
Melissa 's picture

oh another suggestion for maintaining 6 feet. what about using walky talky's? that way you don't have to yell and they could hear you better?

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