Fall 2009, Newsletter
Phone: (585) 244-0477
Letter From the Editor
Welcome to Portal Tutoring's fall newsletter. As usual, we have a great deal to tell you, and we have some new offerings. You will read about the new Plustek BookReader and about some webinars which were attended as part of Ms. Parsons' ongoing efforts in the area of continuing Education. We hope that you all had a happy and productive summer and that you are ready for the new academic year to begin.
It seems that in the current economic climate when radio reading services for the blind are having to cut back and the Matilda Ziegler Magazine will be moving to a digital edition that learning to use a computer has become even more important to print impaired individuals than it has ever been. Access to digital books and digital newspapers is becoming a matter of course not just for the print impaired but for those who can read normal sized print. Newspapers are expanding their digital editions rather than their hard copy papers. They are merging with other papers. Local papers are becoming less common. Google and Amazon and others are determined to make literature a digital concern, offering books and magazines online for purchase rather than in hard copy. And, the numbers of online customers of stores grows exponentially each year. Everything is digital now. Portal Tutoring is privileged and proud to be a contributor to the means to make access possible for so many.
Ms. Parsons was privileged to be asked to revise the manual for the Plustek BookReader from Plustek in Taiwan. The BookReader is a device which enables a person who is blind, visually impaired or print handicapped to scan printed material and hear that material read aloud by the user's computer. It is a combination of Plustek's innovative Book Edge Scanner and a simple program for the user which employs OCR software to decipher a printed page and read it aloud. This is a bare-bones reading machine. It does not have all the bells and whistles which characterize Open Book or Kurzweil 1000 such as ranked spelling, faxing, photocopying or searching for books on the Internet. Because of its simplicity, its price is relatively low. For further information on this product, go to: The BookReader's web Site
Ms. Parsons, Portal Tutoring's sole tutor and CEO participated in several webinars this year. Most of these were held online. Last October she participated in a class on marketing which was held by the Women And Company organization as part of the grant which we received from them, in May of 2008.
We attended several webinars given by EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) including two on how to use Microsoft Word to create DAISY content.
We also participated in a webinar given by CUNY in New York City which was about free screen readers.
Portal Tutoring intends to continue to take advantage of all possible avenues for continuing education so that when you employ Portal Tutoring or purchase our training materials, you can have the most up-to-date information possible.
Speaking Of DAISY
Portal Tutoring is happy to be able to offer you, our customers our two books in DAISY formatting. This means that you will be able to navigate the text by chapter and by section at the touch of a button. You can play these books on your Victor Reader Stream or by using any other device or software that plays DAISY content.
The Importance Of Networking
Portal Tutoring is pleased to announce that since April of this year, we have been networking on a regular basis with ABVI-Goodwill's Computer Training Department. It has proven to be a beneficial relationship, giving us the opportunity to discuss technology, training methodologies and establishing a working relationship. Portal Tutoring is pleased and proud to be part of an ongoing effort toward collaboration and networking which benefits you, our students.
Changes In Curricula
Because of our recent work with the Plustek BookReader, Portal Tutoring is happy to offer this hardware/software combination as part of its curricula. If you purchase this device from Plustek, you can be sure to have a place to come if you need a training program to learn to use your new equipment.
Portal Tutoring has decided not to offer Zoomtext as part of its curricula for this year. We are happy to give advice, and we recommend this program highly. However, we do not feel competent enough to offer this software as part of our curricula. We want to offer you the very best training you can receive, and that means paring down our offerings if they do not come up to our standards. All our other curricula are still being offered as usual.
This fall, we will be updating our offerings at the bookstore, so check out our web site to see what's new and different.
In addition, we would like to alert you to the fact that as of the beginning of August, you can now pay for any Portal Tutoring training or materials with a credit card through Paypal. Paypal will process your credit card and you do not have to sign up with them or be connected with them in any way at all. We continue to take money orders or personal checks when necessary.
Thank you! We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our patrons, both past and present. We continue to serve you, our students to the best of our ability.
Unsubscribing: If you no longer wish to receive our newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact us at the above email address or by calling us. We will immediately remove your name from either the email list or the hard copy list, depending on how you receive this newsletter.
Ann K. Parsons, tutor, CEO