Thanks to your valuable suggestions and feedback, the Freedom Scientific User Education and Outreach Team introduced many enhancements in 2021. As the year comes to a close, we reflect on those changes and look forward to 2022.
Vispero Low Vision Hardware Survey
In 2021, the User Education and Outreach Team launched a survey to collect data on how our users learn to operate our low vision hardware products. These include handheld, desktop, and wearable video magnifiers from all three Vispero brands: Freedom Scientific, Enhanced Vision, and Optelec. The 6,326 respondents were primarily teachers of the visually impaired (TVIs), assistive technology instructors/trainers, and students.
A majority of survey takers (more than 50%) were 18-34 years old, followed by 35-49 (30%), ages 50-64 (15%), and 65+ (2%). Most respondents reported using a magnifier either daily or several times a week.
We asked about the documentation that accompanied our products. Of the 98% who desired a manual, 41% said they would request a printed copy and 56% said they would download the file. Approximately half of respondents reported using the documentation to learn the product and find answers to questions, while a quarter use it to train others (26%). More than 82% found the paper manual very or somewhat helpful.
In addition to the paper manual, about half of respondents relied on in-person demonstrations or training to learn the device. Around one third used remote training, videos, or tutorials.
We will continue to launch surveys to collect data that will help us improve your user experience. We always welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JAWS Training Bundle
This year, we added the JAWS Training Bundle to our JAWS Training page. This bundle contains the complete JAWS Basic Training in MP3 and HTML formats. It is available as a ZIP file, which you can download by activating the JAWS Basic training link on the JAWS Training page. The ZIP file automatically downloads to your computer.
Listen or read the Basic Training material on a mobile device by copying these files to an SD card, external device, or cloud-based drive.
JAWS Training for Teachers and AT Instructors
In 2020, we created a teachers page to offer additional training and teaching resources. This page includes a 10-module JAWS Training series to serve as a guide when teaching JAWS. Five modules were added in 2020, and the remaining five were added in 2021.
Access these modules individually via the links on the Teacher’s page or work through the entire series from the Table of Contents. Topics include:
- Module 1, Introduction to Teaching JAWS
- Module 2: Creating a Shortcut Key, Starting JAWS, and Creating or Renaming Folders
- Module 3: Using FSReader and the JAWS Basic Training
- Module 4: Read and Edit Text with JAWS
- Module 5: Quickly Get Help in JAWS
- Module 6: Popular Tools with JAWS
- Module 7: Using Surf’s Up as a Teaching Tool
- Module 8: JAWS and Braille
- Module 9: JAWS Dictionary Manager
- Module 10: Accessibility Features of Windows
In 2021, we added a Math page that contains training on accessing math content with JAWS and Fusion. Learn how to:
- Read math content on web pages
- Access math content in Microsoft Word
- Study equations in the JAWS Math Viewer
- Enter equations using the JAWS Braille Math Editor
We also added training for Desmos, a third-party online graphing calculator that is accessible with JAWS and Fusion. Visit the Desmos Online Graphing Calculator page for an overview of the product and to access the tutorials.
Fusion Suite 2022 Release
Fusion Suite 2022 refers to the latest release of Freedom Scientific’s JAWS screen reader, ZoomText screen magnifier, and Fusion, which packages both products. New features enable you to:
- Use the sound splitting feature for routing JAWS speech and system audio to opposite speakers or sides of a headset.
- Switch the sound card JAWS is using on-the-fly.
- Set your favorite zoom levels in ZoomText.
- Add/remove voices in JAWS and ZoomText.
- Automatically migrate JAWS settings from previous versions.
- Dock the Quick Access Bar in ZoomText.
- Use the Voice Assistant for both JAWS and ZoomText when running Fusion.
In 2021, Freedom Scientific debuted on TikTok, the popular social media app for posting and accessing videos. We currently have more than 1,000 followers and post videos each week. We appreciate all the follows and positive feedback we have received.
If you haven’t already, follow @freedomscientific for short how-to videos on a wide range of topics such as:
- Set favorite zoom levels in ZoomText and Fusion.
- Adjust JAWS and Fusion volume on-the-fly.
- Access the JAWS Basic Training content on a phone or mobile device.
- Copy text using the FSClipboard.
- Register for a webinar.
- Access Comments in Google Docs with JAWS.
We also post inspiring videos about individuals who are blind or visually impaired and use technology in their daily lives. Access TikTok on your computer, or download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
In 2021, Freedom Scientific joined Clubhouse, an audio chat app available on iOS and Android devices. We hold two sessions a week. “Ask Sharky” typically takes place on Mondays. During this one-hour event, we delve into the more advanced features of JAWS and answer your questions.
“JAWS Beginner’s Corner” is held on Wednesdays, where for an hour we teach the basics of JAWS and answer your questions. Join the JAWS Software F/T Blind club in Clubhouse to be notified of upcoming events.
Updates to Software Certification Programs
Our JAWS and ZoomText certification programs now automatically provide free electronic certificates to those who pass the certification exams. The option of being listed on our web page of certified individuals is also free. In addition, we have lowered the cost of first-time and renewal certifications for those who would like a printed or braille certificate mailed to them for displaying in their homes or offices. You can learn more on our Certification page.
What’s Coming in 2022?
We continually add new training events that tailor topics to meet your personal, educational, and professional needs. Join us in 2022 for new live webinars and other targeted training. Visit the Free Webinars page for information on upcoming training. Stream or download archived webinars from our Webinars On Demand page.
If you have training questions or want to suggest a training topic, send an email to email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you in 2022!