Newsletter, Fall, 2007
By Ann K. Parsons
Ann K. Parsons, CEO
Phone: (585) 244-0477
Letter From The Editor
Greetings to all: With the start of the new academic year, it is time to update you on happenings with Portal Tutoring. You will find several items about that in this newsletter as well as some items of interest from other sources. Thank you for reading and for choosing Portal Tutoring for your training needs.
Portal Tutoring's Philosophy
Access to a computer and indeed to information in any written form is vital for everyone today, but especially for those who have disabilities. We are bombarded with information on TV and in newspapers and in books and on the street. Computers offer a doorway into this realm of information access. That is why this business is called Portal Tutoring. Our purpose is to make doorways for people so that they can enter the information Age.
With this philosophy in mind, Portal Tutoring keeps its rates low to accommodate the needs of students. Both our training sessions and our tutorials are priced within the means of most everyone. Check the other pages of this web site for details.
Spotlight On Training
Portal Tutoring is please to announce that it continues to offer training in Computer Access for those who are blind or visually impaired. We offer training in the use of screen readers: Jaws, Window-Eyes and System Access. We specialize in teaching access to Windows 2000 and XP, The Microsoft Office Suite and general computer concepts. By the beginning of 2008, we hope to be able to offer training in the use of Windows Vista.
As you may remember, we offer advanced training in the use of Microsoft Word. If you have complicated documents, reports or research papers to write, consider some training from Portal tutoring.
Having trouble accessing the Internet with your screen reader? Well, struggle no more, contact Portal Tutoring and learn to surf with ease.
Portal Tutoring is proud to offer tutoring in the use of System Access, the newest screen reader on the market, and its companion software System Access Mobile Network. If you're looking for a low cost solution to the dilemma of access to a computer, then try the products from Serotek.
Finally, Portal Tutoring continues to offer academic tutoring in High School English and History, as well as in what we are calling Writing For Today, a series of lessons designed to help you to write short documents which are necessary for today's living.
So, please consider using Portal Tutoring for all your training needs and those of your clientele.
Portal Tutoring's Bookstore
As we announced in our first newsletter, Spring 2007, Portal Tutoring is please to be able to offer materials to supplement your learning experience. These materials are located in our bookstore. They include: books, pamphlets and audio classes. . Introduction To Computers is a text book designed for the novice computer user. It covers the most basic concepts which a novice needs in order to begin the journey of accessing and using a computer. Cost $30.00.
Mini Blinds is a series of small pamphlets which take one concept and follow that single concept through definition, explanation and how to implement it physically on the computer. These small pamphlets are designed as reference materials for anyone who needs to find information quickly without consulting a huge manual or text book. Each Mini Blind is priced at $3.00 for print and braille-ready files and $5.00 for hard copy braille. There are one dozen Mini Blinds pamphlets. A complete set, a baker's dozen, costs $33.00 for print and braille-ready files and $55.00 for hard copy braille.
When you purchase materials from Portal Tutoring, you will discover that an email has been dispatched to us with your name and email address. You will receive your materials via email if you have purchased print or braille-ready files. Hard copy braille will be sent via regular post.
Portal Tutoring's Sound Foundations
Yes, they're here, right in our bookstore! We're offering two audio classes: The Windows Desktop and The Windows Keyboard. These are short lectures on aspects of Windows. If you feel more comfortable listening to a human voice, then these tutorials are for you. Each Sound Foundations costs $9.95 if it is emailed to you as an attachment; purchase both classes for $17.00. If you would like an audio CD, you may purchase one class for $12.00 or $21.00 for the pair.
The Three Wheeled Shopping Cart
Have you ever tried to push a loaded shopping cart to the checkout counter that had only three wheels on it? It's hard to do isn't it? Well, Portal tutoring had that experience this summer. We announced in our first newsletter that we had placed a shopping cart on our web site so that you could purchase training hours and our tutorials online. Well, the shopping cart worked. It was accessible to screen readers, however, there were so many links and so much advertising, that using this cart was a nightmare, especially for anyone who is unfamiliar with advanced features of navigating The Web. Needless to say, sales suffered because of this flaw.
So, we have decided to change the shopping cart for one that is more user- friendly, and has been adapted to fit the needs of you, our consumers. With the help of Mr. Daniel Graham of North Andover, MA,, we have refurbished the cart. It is on our web site now. You can find the books and tutorials in the bookstore. So, it you were thinking of purchasing our Mini Blinds tutorials or the text book Introduction To Computers, you will be able to do that with much less aggravation. Portal Tutoring wants to publicly thank Mr. Graham for his help and support in this venture.
Purchase Training Hours Online
It is now possible to purchase training online from us. Simply access the Fees page and you will find a form at the bottom of that page for purchasing tutoring online for private students, cost $20.00 per hour. Students who are sponsored by a rehabilitation agency, wish to engage Portal tutoring for face-to-face training outside the Rochester area, or those who would like Portal Tutoring to give a public group presentation should contact us directly to arrange for this as the form does not accommodate these things.
Portal Tutoring Offers Hard Copy Braille
We are most happy to announce that Portal Tutoring now offers hard copy braille as one of its formats for the materials which we offer for sale. Ms. Catherine Thomas of New York City is our braillist, and we're delighted to have her with us. If you request hard copy braille from Portal Tutoring, you will receive it from her. Thank you Catherine Thomas.
News Of General Interest
Announcing Victor Reader Stream: Humanware, http://ww.humanware.com, brought out their new Victor Reader Stream, a palm-sized MP3 and DAISY book reader. This small device can play MP3, DAISY books, braille-ready files, e-text files, and more. By using the Stream, you will be able to download and play NLS recorded books, and you will also be able to play RFB&D books. There may be access to Audible books as well. This machine, priced at $329.00, is one of the best buys around!
NLS Pilot Program Expands: The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, NLS, has been testing its new digital audio books for the past year. One hundred library patrons were chosen from all over the country to test the new web site, and the new books which are there. This past Monday, September 10th, NLS opened its pilot program to owners of the Victor Reader Stream so that they could sign up and help to test the books.
If you own a Victor Reader Stream, have a broad Band Internet connection, and are a frequent borrower of cassette books from your regional library for the blind, you are eligible for taking part in this expanded pilot program. Please note that this program is still a pilot program and is not open to the general population.
In order to participate in the expanded pilot program, please access the link below.
You will find an application there. Fill it out and submit it online. You will receive an automated confirmation message. Next, NLS will check with your regional library to make sure that you are a borrower in good standing. If you are, a username and password will be sent to you. Finally, NLS will contact Humanware, and Humanware will send you a software key for your Stream. You will download that key, place it on the Stream, and then you can participate in the NLS Pilot program. Happy reading!