Re: Chromevox and Kindles vs JAWS and iPads

Richard Holloway

Thanks to all who have replied. Marianne, would you happen to have a link to that particular letter from the OSEP? That sounds very specific and clear, and might prove handy in an upcoming IEP later this week.

This situation is rather unusual, in that the school is actually anxious and willing to help, but they have dug a bit of a hole by not having checked about full accessibility, while actually moving towards this solution to attempt to ACCOMMODATE more students, and they have just made this switch… All we want is a workable solution. Letter of the law is a fine thing, but we just want a reasonable solution, for now.

On the JAWS & Chromebook issue, I may not have been clear. I’m hoping to learn how Discover Learning reacts with JAWS on a PC as opposed to Chromevox on a Chromebook. I know that some web content just won’t work with anything, so it may be a source issue more than the choice of chromebook vs JAWS

I suspect they will happily grant us access to the system to test this all out, but I’d LOVE to hear what others might have experienced with that system, because I seriously doubt we can get the needed access to explore this before the meeting takes place, and again, this is about solving problems for my child right now before anything else of a broader nature.


On Aug 25, 2014, at 8:22 AM, Marianne Denning via Jfw <jfw@...> wrote:

I am a teacher of students who are visually impaired. The Office of
Special Education (OSEP) has issued a letter that no school district
is to provide materials in an electronic format that is not accessible
to all students. It does not matter whether there is a student in the
school who needs accessibility or not. Unfortunately, the school
districts are not getting the message. You certainly have a way to
fight this decision. Even if the school provides an alternative to
your daughter, she will not receive all of the information her sighted
peers receive. You can accept a work around or you can fight the
district on this issue. Many of us adults are used to making things
work but that is not always a good solution.

On 8/25/14, Tom macha via Jfw <jfw@...> wrote:
Good morning, yes that is right the school (state) is obligaited to
provide her with a work-around. Have a great day, Tom
On 8/25/2014 5:25 AM, Ed Marquette via Jfw wrote:
I think there won't be a JAWS solution available for you. Where
there is no Windows there will be no JAWS.
I've tried to use Chromevox on the PC with Google Docs and Google
Chrome. It stinks!
There is, nevertheless, some hope.
I have a Nexus Android device (came free with our Google Fiber
subscription). It has a built-in screen reader called talk back.
It is awkward, clunky, and hard to use, but it can be managed.
I would be surprised if a Google device isn't built on the android
operating system. So, Talkback should work.
Even if not, there is a company from Spain called Code Factory.
It used to make a screen reader (and a very good one) for Windows
phones (back when Microsoft thought it had to impose Windows on
mobile devices). When Microsoft dumped that operating system,
Code Factory turned to making Android devices talk. I've heard
demonstrations of the product (though not lately), and it is very
good; however, I don't know how long it can exist when Google
offers Talkback for free, even though Talkback is an inferior
I think your school is legally obligated to make an accessible
option available to your daughter. If the school system refuses,
I think I can point you in the direction of someone who might
point out certain potentially applicable legal compulsions.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jfw [mailto:jfw-bounces@...] On Behalf Of
Richard Holloway via Jfw
Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2014 9:52 PM
To: The Jaws for Windows support list.
Subject: Chromevox and Kindles vs JAWS and iPads

I could use some advice and feedback for the latest in screen
reading solutions. Our situation is that our daughter, 6th grade,
no light perception, a highly proficient Braille reader and
Braillenote Apex user, fairly handy with JAWS and iDevices may
well end up in a situation at school where all students are being
issued Chromebooks and Kindles. This sends off warning signals for
me, but I'm not sure what to do about it...

The key focus of these devices seems to be centered around
products and services by Discovery Learning. I have a high level
of appreciation for what everyone from Discovery through the
school system is trying to offer kids by using these services. My
daughter is a super bright student. I have no doubt she can make
use of some of these materials despite her lack of vision, but
what is the best approach for her?

My questions center on how best to access these materials. That's
what I hope I can learn from others here-

How well does Chromevox (the built-in screenreader on Chromebooks,
as I understand it) work at this point?

Have others here tried Chromevox with Discovery Education

How about JAWS work with Discovery Learning? Any idea if she could
access the same materials with a laptop and JAWS effectively?

As to the Kindle, I understand there are accessibility issues on
them, but there is also some iPod app for Kindle. Any ideas about
access, especially to Discovery Learning materials through that

Apologies for the partially off-tropic post, but it is somewhat
JAWS-related, and we are really in a bind here time-wise. We have
a meeting to discuss some of this with her school in three days.
I'd like any information I can come up with on this matter (I have
an inquiries in already with Discovery & Google, but so far I've
had no response.)

I'd REALLY like to be able to point the school in the right
direction for a working solution or clear knowledge of things that
WON'T work as well... If they need to get her a laptop, JAWS, and
an iPad, they may well do it, but I suspect what may happen in
this meeting is that we learn they have NO IDEA what will or won't
work, or what steps to take next.. This needs not to drag out by
the week and month for her.

Feel free to contact me off-list if responses seem too far off the
JAWS portion of the question.

Many thanks to all!
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Marianne Denning, TVI, MA
Teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired
(513) 607-6053

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