Regional Activities and Resources for ON-NET

In March 2009, Overbrook School for the Blind and APH partnered to deliver a tactile graphics workshop in Thailand for ON-NET project partners.  To read more International Program news, visit Overbrook's blog.


"Getting Started: Helping Parents and Teachers to Understand the Basics of Assistive Technology for Persons with Visual Impairment"

Mathematics Made Easy

Mathematics Made Easy for Children with Visual Impairment is:
An invaluable resource for Teachers of Secondary Level Mathematics throughout the world whose students are blind or visually impaired. A new and improved opportunity for children with visual impairment throughout the world to master secondary level mathematics. A resource for parents who are trying to help their children learn.

Written in English, this book is the product of an international collaboration to assist children with visual impairment throughout the world to master secondary level mathematics by providing their teachers and parents with a resource for improving instructional strategies

Recent Articles:

The Challenges of Training WCAG 2.0 in South East Asia


Under the sponsorship of the Overbrook-Nippon Network on Educational Technology (ON-NET), we conducted a web accessibility course online during the first half of 2008, and face-to-face in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in June of 2008. The purpose of the course was to teach blind and visually impaired people about web accessibility, equipping them to work as accessibility consultants and trainers in their own countries. There is still much work that needs to be done in the South East Asian region on accessibility. For example, there is a need for more accessibility trainers, work opportunities, and, of course, accessible web sites. This paper will discuss the process of conducting a WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0 course, including the challenges and lessons learned during the course and its follow-up in order to facilitate further work and share experience with those who are interested in contributing to web accessibility in the South East Asian region.

ON-NET Web Accessibility Course conducted on-line and face-to-face

Tamas Babinszki, owner of Even Grounds Accessibility Consulting:, conducted the course online and face-to-face.  The main goal of the course was to assist advanced users and trainers of assistive technology as well as knowledgeable web designers in creating completely accessible web sites based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  At the beginning of June, 2008, part 2 of the ON-NET Web Accessibility Course took place at the Malaysian Association for the Blind in Kuala Lumpur.  This was preceded by an online portion that took place from February to April, during which students learned the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and designed accessible web pages.

The dissemination of skills for creating accessible internet sites is an especially high priority in South East Asia, where the course participants came from, because web sites in this region are rarely created with the needs of users with disabilities in mind.

Cambodian University Students and Center Staff receive Training on Paperless Braille Devices

Wiraman Niyomphol, from Ratchasuda College, Mahidol University, Thailand, conducted training at the Association of the Blind in Cambodia near the end of April, 2008.  The goal of the workshop was to train students in the basic use of three paperless Braille devices, the PacMate, Braille Note and Focus.  Students learned how to create, read and edit documents, and to transfer these documents from computers to the devices themselves and vice versa.

There is a great need for this training in Cambodia because one of the problems for these students is that materials frequently cannot be brailled on regular Braille paper for them on time.  By saving files on compact flash drives and then opening them  in paperless Braille devices, the students will have access to Braille files more quickly.  Files can be in Khmer or English.

The PacMate is very much Windows and JAWS oriented.  In addition to the 8 Braille keys, this device has a space key and 8 function keys, whiz wheels, cursor routing and navrows.  It also has a file explorer to view folder files and to perform functions such as file copy, cut, paste, and delete.  Most importantly, PacMate has a special word processor, FS-edit, with which a user can create files, edit text, open/save, and read/navigate on the Braille display.

The Braille Note, on the other hand, is not Windows oriented, but it has an easy-to-follow menu system.  The file manager option gives the user a list of options to see the directory, copy, rename, erase files, and organize folders. The word processor for the Braille Note is Keyword. This particular unit has a regular QWERTY keyboard.

Finally, the students learned about ActiveSync software.  ActiveSync is free software from Microsoft which allows mobile devices like the PacMate and Braille Note to be synchronized with a computer.

JAWS Scripting Workshop Helps Expand Employment Opportunities for Visually Impaired in Southeast Asia

JAWS   (Job Access With Speech) is the most widely-used screen reader software by blind persons throughout the world.  JAWS works very well with basic MS applications; however, to get JAWS to talk with proprietary software, scripts need to be created.  Writing JAWS scripts requires a set of advanced-level skills.  However, since most employers use proprietary software, employment using computer technology will be highly dependent upon a country's capacity to do JAWS scripting.  Two years ago, ON-NET sent Dang Hoai Phuc and Julius Serrano to Germany for training in JAWS scripting.

Phuc has headed an ON-NET distance education initiative to train seven advanced-level users in scripting.  This distance education course was followed by a two-week scripting course held at the Sao Mai Computer Center for the Blind in Ho Chi Minh City.  The course significantly advanced the skills of this core group of trainers representing Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

International Alumni Profiles
Several of the alumni and alumnae of the Overbrook School for the Blind International Program, which hosted 18 - 21 year olds on our Philadelphia campus between 1985 - 1998, have continued on to great achievements.  Visit our International Alumni Profile Page to read their profiles.