DO-IT News April 2002

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Volume 10, Number 1

Director's Digressions

Picture of director Sheryl Burgstahler  and interpreter Mamoru Iwabuch
Director Sheryl Burgstahler and interpreter Mamoru Iwabuch

Summer Study 2001 with the new and returning DO-IT Scholars, Ambassadors, and Interns was the highlight of last summer. Check out some of the articles in this issue of DO-IT News and you will see why!

The highlight of this fall for me was a trip to Japan to spread the word about how technology can help people with disabilities succeed in college and careers. The adventure began with an invitation from the organizers of the fifth annual Assistive Technology Conference in Kyoto to deliver the keynote address on Saturday, November 24. My husband Dave, son Travis, and I decided to move our Thanksgiving dinner plans to the Sunday before Thanksgiving day so that we could travel to Kyoto together. In preparation, I wrote a summary paper for the proceedings and developed a PowerPoint™ presentation. I sent each to the conference organizers early so that they could be translated into Japanese.

To reach Kyoto, we took a plane to Tokyo, a commuter train to the Tokyo train station, a train to Kyoto city and then light rail to our hotel. This took a total of about 15 hours! The conference is similar to the Closing the Gap conference on assistive technology that is in Minneapolis each year—exhibits, presentations, lots of networking. The 1,000 attendees represented pre-college and college educators, service providers, nonprofit organizations, and family members of people with disabilities.

 

My talk focused on what types of services are typically provided on postsecondary campuses for students with disabilities in the United States. I spoke two sentences at a time and then my interpreter, Mamoru Iwabuch, translated what was said into Japanese. Luckily, he left English titles on my PowerPoint slides, so we could both keep track of where we were in the talk. I gave my interpreter an Ichiro Mariners baseball cap and shared extra copies of the article that appeared on the front page of The Seattle Times, announcing Ichiro's award as the Most Valuable Player in the American League. It was clear from the reaction that, besides promoting the success of people with disabilities in each of our countries, we shared a mutual admiration for this remarkable Mariners player from Japan.

Announcing AccessIT

Laurie McHale, Public Relations Coordinator

The University of Washington has been awarded a $3.5 million federal grant to establish a National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education, to be known as AccessIT. The five-year renewable grant, awarded on a competitive basis, comes from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

The award is being administered by co-principal investigators Dr. Kurt L. Johnson, associate professor of rehabilitation medicine and director of the Center for Technology and Disability Studies (CTDS) at the UW's Center on Human Development and Disability, and Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, an assistant director of UW Computing and Communications and director of the UW's DO-IT program (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology). Dagmar Amtmann of CTDS is the assistant director.

"The explosion of information technology has been a double-edged sword," says Johnson. "We now have a wealth of options for acquiring information, but if information technology is not universally accessible, it may shut out people with disabilities."

The Center for Technology and Disability Studies provides training and research on assistive technology for people with disabilities throughout the Pacific Northwest. The DO-IT program offers college and career preparation to students with disabilities as well as training to employers and educators. Although the two programs have collaborated on smaller projects, AccessIT will give them, together, a much expanded mission.

"AccessIT's purpose is to coordinate a nationwide effort to assist educational and governmental institutions to make education-based information technology accessible to all students and employees, including those with disabilities," says Burgstahler. "Educational-based information technology is any technology used by students and employees in educational settings, including computers, software, Web pages, telecommunications, fax machines, copiers, printers, kiosks, and other equipment."

"As far as we have come with advances in computing, Internet access, telecommunications and other forms of information technology," said Johnson, "these advances are not available to everyone, particularly people with disabilities who may be unable to read or see displayed information, hear or respond to spoken prompts, or use such devices as a keyboard or computer mouse."

The new center's focus is broad, extending from K-12 schools through universities and other postsecondary educational institutions. AccessIT provides training and technical assistance, working primarily through the national network of 10 NIDRR-funded Disability Business Technical Assistance Centers, established in response to mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

AccessIT's audience includes policymakers, teachers, special education teachers, computer lab staff, library staff, students and employees with disabilities, as well as their families and advocates.

"A coordinated nationwide effort is needed to assist educational and governmental institutions in reaching the goal of making information technology accessible to everyone," said Burgstahler. "Our new center is a giant step toward achieving this goal."

"This grant is the culmination of at least a decade of effort at the UW to make information technology accessible and the recognition of the considerable expertise that exists at the UW in the area of making information technology accessible to all," said Johnson.

DO-IT Creates Web Site for Faculty

Rob Harrill, University of Washington Office of News and Information

The award-winning UW-based DO-IT program is using cyberspace to reach a national audience with strategies for creating a level playing field in the academic world for students with disabilities.

Program leaders started the new year by launching The Faculty Room (www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty), a Web-based resource that offers instructors and other professionals the means to provide full educational access for students with disabilities. From the site, postsecondary faculty and administrators can view in-depth information on instructional techniques and strategies and download information, including PowerPoint presentations and video segments, on topics ranging from academic accommodations to accessible Web design.

"It really is one-stop shopping," said Sheryl Burgstahler, assistant director of information systems with the UW's computing and communications department and director of DO-IT. "The entire site is created in response to the specific needs for information of faculty and college administrators."

The Faculty Room was developed through DO-IT Prof, a nationwide project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education (779,716, grant #P33A990042) that equips postsecondary educators and campuses with the tools needed to provide full academic access for students who have disabilities. Through this project, DO-IT leads a consortium of more than 40 universities and partner schools, including Purdue, Drake, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Seattle Central Community College and Arizona State University, in developing and presenting in-service and training resources across the country.

The great strength of The Faculty Room concept lies in its quick and almost universal accessibility, according to John Pedraza, disabilities resource coordinator at Michigan State University. "The Faculty Room is a great site for faculty to learn more about students with disabilities at their own pace and when they have immediate questions to be answered," Pedraza said. "MSU faculty find it extremely useful."

Content on the site covers accommodation strategies, instructional design to meet the needs of a wide range of students, legal issues, interactive presentations, and resources for trainers, staff and administrators. Case studies and FAQs illustrate many of the concepts.

DO-IT staffers are highly qualified to lead a nationwide educational thrust toward full accessibility for disabled students, according to Burgstahler. For the past nine years, the DO-IT Scholars program has used a combination of computer and Internet access, mentorships, and UW summer camps to provide disabled youth from around the country with the skills they need to be successful in challenging academic and career fields.

DO-IT has won a number of national and regional awards, including the National Information Infrastructure Award in Education, an exceptional program award from the Association for Higher Education and Disability, the KCTS Golden Apple Award and the President's Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring of Underrepresented Groups. The program was also showcased in the 1997 President's Summit on Volunteerism and the 1996 National Science Foundation Dynamic Partnerships invitational conference.

The unveiling of The Faculty Room is the culmination of years of collaborative work with the DO-IT Prof partner schools, according to Burgstahler. "The effort is unique in its broad representation of small and large, two-year and four-year, and geographically diverse institutions," she said. "We have created a resource tailored to the needs of any faculty member, teaching assistant or administrator at any postsecondary institution across the country."

High School/High Tech

Sheryl Burgstahler

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a $50,000 grant to the DO-IT program at the University of Washington to develop High School/High Tech in the Seattle area. Key collaborators include the City of Seattle Youth Employment Program and Seattle Public Schools. Sara Lopez is managing these efforts. High School/High Tech is a national network of programs that involve high school students with disabilities in work-based learning experiences in high tech fields. Activities include internships, job shadows and mock interviews with potential employers. The ultimate goal is to improve the postsecondary academic and career outcomes for young people with disabilities.

Too many young people with disabilities reach adulthood without the knowledge, skills and experience they need for employment in challenging career fields. Our High School/High Tech program will help them prepare for success. DO-IT is actively recruiting students with disabilities in the Seattle area who wish to get involved in career preparation activities and employers who are interested in providing work-based experiences for them. For information about how you can be involved in DO-IT's High School/High Tech program, contact Sara Lopez at lopezsl@u.washington.edu.

Phase II Scholars Test Microsoft Products

Tracy Jirkowic, DO-IT Staff

During Summer Study 2001, several Phase II Scholars got a sneak preview of Microsoft products and were considered expert users and co-designers as they ran a series of usability tests on the new Microsoft XP™ operating system. As part of a weeklong Phase II workshop, Scholars worked with Microsoft employees and UW staff to learn about usability, run usability tests and make product recommendations based on their findings.

What is usability testing? Usability testing helps ensure that new technologies are easy to learn and easy to use. In order for new products to be usable by everyone, these new technologies need to be compatible with assistive technology. For example, screen reading software used by some people who are blind needs to work smoothly with the operating system. If the systems do not work together well, as some Scholars discovered, the user might not be able to read certain menu items, the computer might not work efficiently, or the system might even crash.

Scholars found many things they liked about the new operating system, but they also found a few bugs. Recommendations made by the Scholars were then taken back to the Microsoft developers so that they could address the problems found with the software.

This Phase II workshop was just the beginning of an evolving collaboration between the UW and the Microsoft Corporation to conduct usability tests on software products with users who have a variety of disabilities. Sixteen adults with visual and mobility impairments tested Microsoft products at the University this past fall. Our hope is that this partnership will encourage software developers to consider the needs of users with a wide range of abilities and disabilities as they create new and exciting products.

Summer Camps Host Indoor IT Fun

School's out, the sun is shining, the birds are calling, and summer is beckoning kids to enjoy the great outdoors. So why are some kids spending precious hours of their vacation indoors? Those who attend summer camps that host DO-IT Campers are learning valuable skills that will help them excel in school and work, and they're having fun!

Each summer, DO-IT staff teach children and youth with disabilities at existing camping programs how to send electronic mail, use the World Wide Web for fun and education, explore other Internet tools, and create World Wide Web pages. Campers also have opportunities to participate in college and employment workshops and network with peers and adult mentors over the Internet.

Activities at camps vary depending on the campers served and the program needs of the sponsoring camp organizations. Most are residential camps where campers stay for a week or more. In some settings campers are scheduled into the computer lab for short Internet sessions while other campers choose to swim, hike, boat, and do crafts; others offer an intense camp session for those who especially wish to learn about the Internet, employment, and college. Some are for young learners; some are for teens; some serve a mix of ages. What all offerings have in common are active learning, full inclusion, and fun.

DO-IT Campers have been active in Washington, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Minnesota. More recently, a gift from Microsoft extended DO-IT Campers to programs in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Florida. Since 1995, more than 3,000 children and youth with disabilities have learned to use powerful technologies that will help them reach their academic and career potential! Here's what a few satisfied Campers have to say about their experiences:

"I had a great time. I learned new things and met new people."

"I learned how to edit movies on a computer. I didn't know I could do that."

"Interviewing with an employer and with the professor helps you learn what to expect once you're involved and in an actual interview."

"Taking apart a computer was great—most definitely."

"If it wasn't for DO-IT, I wouldn't have gone to college."

If you would like more information about DO-IT Campers, including host organizations, contact DO-IT.

In Memory of Mark

Sheryl Burgstahler
Picture of Mark.
1993 DO-IT Scholar, Mark

I am sad to report that Mark, a '93 Scholar, died this past December. Mark had been ill for some time, but died peacefully in his sleep at his apartment in Spokane. In the early days of DO-IT, Mark developed a reputation for promoting philosophical conversations on the doitkids e-mail discussion list. He never found a controversial topic that he didn't like to discuss. He once actually admitted, "I enjoy being screamed at while making a rational argument."

Mark participated in Summer Study in 1993 (our first program!) and 1994 and was an Intern in 1995. I can still picture Mark racing across campus in his power chair with snacks stacked on his lap, while he was guiding (more like dragging) Randy (the co-coordinator of snack breaks and fellow Intern who is blind). Mark succeeded in reaching his goals of attending college and having his own apartment. He attended Big Bend Community College and Eastern Washington University for a total of 4 years. Last year he was busy developing plans for an Internet-based business.

Mark is missed by all of us who knew him as a DO-IT Scholar, DO-IT Ambassador, and friend.

DO-IT Scholar Follows a Leader for a Day

Picture of Steven and DO-IT Scholars.
Steven (seated) shares an ice cream snack with DO-IT Scholars and friends.

Congratulations to 2001 Scholar Steven! Steven was one of 24 Washington State high school students selected from over 800 entrants chosen to Follow-A-Leader for a day. As a winner, Steven spent a day job shadowing Mr. Scott Wyatt, the Chief Executive Officer of NBBJ Architects. He also received a $1,000 savings bond.

Steven entered the contest by writing an essay about what he could learn from job shadowing Mr. Wyatt, one of 24 community leaders that students could write about. The contest was sponsored by King 5 TV, The Seattle Times, and the Bon Marché.

What a great way to explore a career in architecture. Way to go Steven!

 

 

DO-IT Ambassador Speaks at Employment Conference

I'm Anthony from Grand Forks, North Dakota; some of you might know me from being on ACOLUG (Augmentative Communication Online Users Group), attending past conferences and/or receiving a chance of speaking to me on the Prentke Romich Company [PRC] technical service line to get answers to your questions and/or problems on communication devices. [Note: Anthony uses an Augmentative Communication device to speak.] Today my boss and one of my friends, Janie Burgan from the Prentke Romich Company, and I received this great chance to share what I believe is a great success story on both the PRC's end, as the employer, and on my end, as the employee. But it doesn't stop with these two ends being happy and pleased. The most important part of the triangle is our PRC customers, which are some of you here today.

As most of you can figure for yourself, I have cerebral palsy and use a communication device to communicate. Unless you have been lucky and know something I don't, you know that receiving meaningful employment as a person with a disability is very difficult for a number of different reasons...

During the time I was planning what to say today, I was e-mailing some of my friends out at the University of Washington who worked with me during my high school days. In my e-mails to them, I was telling them that I feel people with disabilities sometimes just get placed anywhere, even if it's at a job that nobody actually needs done. This situation really puts a person down because they don't see the work actually getting used by somebody or something in the end... I, myself, had a few job placements, which, in the end, were really just "busy work."

Talking to you here today about my current position as a Remote Troubleshooter at the PRC technical service department is an honor for me. I had learned that the PRC was beginning to get interested in contracting actual communication device users to become Remote Troubleshooters. They were trained to answer technical service calls directly from their own homes. At first, it was slow getting started as a Remote Troubleshooter and getting trained in problem-solving each communication device that PRC makes or has made in the past. I had always dreamed of working for PRC or any place else where I could help people with communication devices to overcome their speech disabilities, which I have experienced in my own life. I have always wanted to provide the experience for somebody else, to wheel into somewhere and openly communicate something like I have been able to do ever since my Touch Talker™ days...

The real reward for me is when I get to call a parent who needs to reboot - to do some programming - and they receive a call from an actual communication device-user explaining the steps they need to follow to get the device working. Most often they are thankful for the help and encouragement I give them for their own child with a disability. I think my family and I would have felt the same, had we been helped by a Remote Troubleshooter when I had communication device problems or questions as a child starting to communicate and having no clue what an adult with a disability could do. I feel that my parents would have been very encouraged and would have thanked them in the same manner.

Also, when I was planning what to say here today, I asked my Mom if she remembered a man who was in some kind of accident and lost his leg and was trained to make and fit braces at the rehab. I remember when that man helped me... and how encouraged I was to be helped by another person with a disability... It's getting so that we can just stay home and turn on the computer and phone to do most things that, before, we had to go to the office to do...

In closing, I want to say that I hope that you have received something from listening to me. I truly hope that at the next PEC, you will be giving the same speech up here with your boss because it's definitely time to walk the walk instead of talk the talk. This is the most important thing that my Pathfinder has ever said to anybody. I feel getting a job, a house, or whatever you may want to have always begins if the individual who is commanding the communication device actually turns up the volume and begins speaking. Nothing is going to happen until then, because people don't have the time to guess what you want. You just have to take that first step.

DO-IT Ambassador Competes in Deaf Olympics

Buffy, DO-IT Ambassador

We opened the game with my basketball team, U.S., leading by ten points. We controlled the game with hot offense and excellent defense. Back and forth, we would make the basket, and Sweden would make the basket —it was a hot game. At half-time, we led by eight points. We were all in the locker room looking at each other and saying, "Twenty more minutes, twenty more minutes..." that's all we had on our minds, to get that game over with, because it was very hot and we were winning. When we got back to the game, we started out COLD shooting in third. Sweden came back and scared us by reducing our lead to four points. Fourth quarter was the longest ten minutes of my life. Both teams were hot on offense and defense; we kept scoring in their faces and they kept scoring in our faces. With time almost running out, we still led by four points. Sweden's player shot a free throw-missed the first and made the second. With a three-point lead, we got the ball and dribbled up front court, missing the shot. Sweden took possession of the ball and we fouled them. Sweden had two chances on the free-throw line. They missed the first shot and made the second, which meant we were only leading by two points.

Then we accidentally threw the ball away when we brought the ball up on the floor. It was now Sweden's ball. There were ten seconds left and we were leading by two points. They got the ball and dribbled real fast. They only had ten seconds left, and the person with the ball "faked her man" and "her man" moved and gave her a wide-open lay-up for the tie. I looked up at the clock, three seconds left, and the ball was still in her hand. She released it and I thought, "Oh no, wide open, tie game." Then, with my eyes shut, she missed the lay-up. From that moment on, I knew WE won!

The game wasn't over yet. We had a time-out right after we rebounded the missed lay-up. Sweden's players were already on their knees and knew they had lost the game. On the clock, it said there was one second left. After the time-out, we got back on the court, threw the ball from out of bounds, and a player threw the ball in the air. I screamed, "WE DID IT, WE DID IT!" and hugged my teammate Ida and fell on the floor with her. All of the players landed on us, making a big, celebratory pile.

My body was about to be crushed because I was on the bottom of the pile. Then we lined up to shake hands with Sweden. In the end, I hugged all Swedish players and told each of them, GREAT JOB!

When it was time to accept our awards, we stood behind the tiny platform that said "#1"—it represented the best in world. We proudly stepped on the platform, bowed, and next thing I knew, the GOLD medal was around my neck. Then it was picture time! Flash, flash, flash, flash and, in my mind, I thought, "WE DID IT!" That was the greatest feeling!

After the Gold Medal was around my neck, when I waved to the people, I realized that was my proudest moment as an American. We had represented our country with honor and dignity. We won the Gold for family, friends, fans, and America. Through five steps (five games), we all accomplished that one goal TOGETHER. We didn't give up from the beginning, we didn't give up when we all got hurt, and we didn't give up until there was 0:00 on the clock. Each of us walked away with the heart of a CHAMPION.

Tech Tips: Time to Upgrade?

Dan Comden, DO-IT Staff

Buying a computer can be frustrating experience. The moment you lay down money for that nice new system it is out of date and overpriced. After a year, the same amount of cash paid out for a computer system will often buy something significantly faster that has more features. But, hey, that's the way the computer world goes around—if we were to wait for the perfect price point, we'd never buy a computer because there is always going to be a less expensive system or one with more features.

So you have a computer that's been doing what you need for a few years. You're beginning to wonder whether it's worthwhile to upgrade. Perhaps you need to update some software, or you're curious about running a new version of the operating system. Maybe there's a new game out that has stiff hardware requirements—or it could just be a case of wanting to try a new operating system (OS). Regardless of the reason for upgrading, here are some hints to make the process easier.

  1. Decide if you need to upgrade your system. If the majority of your computer time is spent on basic word processing, e-mail and Web surfing, you may not need to change anything. I'm a strong proponent of not upgrading just for the sake of running the newest thing —the basic tools are what many people use most of the time and there's no reason to change something that is working. Exceptions are for those who might be having stability problems. If your computer crashes often, it could be due to a bad component or a corrupt file in the OS. Try backing up your data files and then reinstalling the OS—that may solve a crashing problem.
  2. More memory is a great way to add performance to a computer. At this time, RAM is very inexpensive and plugging in a new DIMM or SIMM is relatively easy. Check sites like www.kingston.com for help determining what sort of memory you might need to purchase.
  3. An improvement to your Internet connection can be a powerful upgrade experience. If you are using a standard telephone line for your Internet connection, consider upgrading to a DSL or cable connection, particularly if you spend more than an hour a day online. The amount of time saved with downloading basic pages as well as large files can be tremendous. Of course, this kind of connection costs more—around $30/month for basic service without factoring installation and other equipment costs.
  4. Storage for older systems becomes cramped once you start working with large multimedia files. Consider purchasing an additional hard drive for your current system. Prices for large hard drives are lower than ever. Also think about getting some sort of removable media such as a Zip or Jaz drive, or even one of the new tiny USB-based storage devices.

Pre-built or Home-brewed?

If you are working with video and audio, need fast throughput, or are a hard-core gamer, you may consider getting a new system. For the brave and experienced, this would be a new motherboard/CPU/video combination installed in your existing case. If you're comfortable supporting your own computer and have good troubleshooting skills, this may be a cost-effective option. An added benefit is the opportunity to learn more about how your computer works along with the sense of accomplishment that comes with doing it yourself.

Contrary to popular opinion, buying a new computer is not dramatically different in price from building one yourself. In fact, the most recent crop of systems are often less expensive than a home-brewed solution. A significant benefit with going the pre-built route is that your shiny new box will have a warranty that will protect your investment in case something goes wrong. And if you stick with some of the national name brands, you often get a very powerful support system with that warranty. This is a great solution for those who don't have the time or inclination to be working on the "guts" of their computers.

Whether you go the route of doing it yourself or getting a ready-to-use system, make sure that the processor, RAM, and video are sufficient for your needs. While it's easy to get narrowly focused on hardware specifications, it is vital that you keep the requirements for the software you want to run at the forefront of your planning. After all, these boxes are nothing without the programs we install and use on them.

Summer Study '01: What Did the Phase I Scholars Do?

DO-IT Phase I Scholars participate in a two-week, live-in Summer Study session on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, Washington. They learn about college life; surf the Internet; interact with peers, staff, and mentors; and have fun. Below, '01 Phase I Scholars share some of their experiences. Note that, reluctantly, some articles were edited to make them short enough to include in this publication.

College Food

By Sarah and Matt

During DO-IT we ate in many different places. We ate at By George, Terry Hall cafeteria, and Subway. We also had boxed lunches. By George has a wide variety of choices, but the food is not as good as Terry Hall cafeteria. The cafeteria always has a pasta option. This is nice for someone who is a vegetarian or someone who has trouble chewing. Subway has really good food also. The bread was soft and fresh. The boxed lunches, though, were not very good. Eating college food was an interesting experience.

The Benefits of E-mail

By Brandon and Jeff

E-mail is really great. It allows you to communicate with people all over the world. The people you are talking to do not even have to know you have a disability, which is another good feature about it. You can easily keep in contact with pen pals, friends, and relatives without expensive long distance phone charges! E-mail is wonderful and we love it—we are really grateful to have it.

Sheep Heart Surgery

By Brandi and Alicia

When the Phase I Scholars came to the Odegaard Undergraduate Library (OUGL), room 220, to perform surgery on sheep hearts, they didn't know what to expect. We sure didn't expect to see how gross the sheep hearts were, and we all didn't expect to be grossed out when the instructor brought the entire lungs, heart, and esophagus of a sheep!

Fifty percent of the Phase I Scholars were not all that eager to perform surgery on the sheep hearts, but the other fifty percent were eager to get started. Even though some of us didn't want to touch the sheep hearts, we went ahead and did it anyway. We replaced valves in the hearts and poked in the arteries with tubes to allow air to pass through another way. We even got a chance to cut the heart in half and explore it!

Some people thought the surgeries were awesome—like Jeff who said, "I thought it was AWESOME!" Some didn't think they were too great—like Rachell who said, "I thought the sheep hearts were gross!" —and sign language interpreter Gary who said, "I lost my appetite when Brandi waved the heart in my face and said, 'Want it for lunch?'"

The Henry Art Gallery

By Chris, Caleb, and Michael

On Thursday, August 2, 2001, DO-IT Scholars experienced the sights and sounds of the Henry Art Gallery. The main feature was listening to sounds and matching the sounds with the object that made it or vice versa. Our tour guides made our experience interactive by answering questions and explaining the works of art in vivid detail. There was something for everyone to experience at the art gallery. If a Scholar had a visual impairment, they were still able to listen to the sounds and feel some of the works of art. DO-IT Scholars with hearing impairments were able to see the visual art. Our time spent at the Henry Art Gallery showed the DO-IT Scholars that even though we have limitations, there is still a place for us in the arts.

DO-IT DID-IT at the EMP

By Christopher and Steven

On Sunday, August 5, 2001 the Phase I and II Scholars went to the Experience Music Project (EMP) in downtown Seattle. We left at about 10 o'clock and, upon arrival, set off to experience music. We headed up to the sound lab to play some music in its jam labs. When we got up there we had so much fun we decided to make a CD. This is how the infamous G Droppers were formed. Travis Burgstahler and his friend Andrew joined the group along with Kasey, Mike, and Matt. It was a fun experience for all of us.

The displays were really cool. We especially enjoyed the Jimi Hendrix Museum. The guitar display was really cool and we'd like to know how they assembled it. The EMP ride was really fun. The screen was rounded, and there were speakers set up all around the room. The seats were set up on a platform and moved so we felt like we were actually flying through space. The ride guided us through the movie. It was realistic and interactive. We recommend the EMP to everyone because it is a very interactive and entertaining experience.

Dorm Life

By Brad and Jacob

Dorm life has its advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages are that you're closer to class than if you live off campus. It's a smaller transition into life on your own. It's easier to be a part of social clubs and other groups. Finally, there is no one but yourself to tell you what you need to do. Staying in a dorm while in college is a good life—the dorm even provides food for you.

Dorm life also has its disadvantages. You can end up with a roommate whom you don't get along with. Good food is hard to find. You have to do your own laundry. Also, the rooms can be small. In some colleges the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and in some colleges it's the other way around. You should check out a few before you decide to live in a dorm. Be sure to find a place that's accessible to you, whatever your needs are.

Microsoft Tour

By Matt

Bill Gates founded the Microsoft Corporation in 1975. Microsoft produces a wide range of software products for computers. Microsoft's most successful product is the Windows operating system software line. In the year 2000, Microsoft made revenue of $23 billion.

On August 3, 2001, the DO-IT Phase I Scholars visited Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. We arrived at Microsoft around 10:30 a.m. We started at Microsoft Studios, where we learned about careers in computer-related fields, accommodations, and access at Microsoft. We heard from disabled employees at Microsoft who talked about their own experiences. After that ended, we went to lunch and to see the soon-to-be-released X-Box™. We watched an awesome X-Box video and then we saw the real thing (I now want an X-Box). One of the Microsoft employees gave us a tour of the Microsoft Studios, where we saw two sound stages and the control room. When the tour was over, we went to the Microsoft Museum. The Scholars played with Microsoft games and tried some electronic appliances. It was a lot of fun going to Microsoft and seeing all of the cool new gizmos.

Summer Study '01: What Did the Phase II Scholars Do?

Photo of DO-IT Scholars Corina and Crystal on an adapted bike
DO-IT Scholars Corine and Crystal on an adapted bike.

Phase II Scholars return to the University of Washington campus for their second Summer Study. They meet the Phase I Scholars as they participate in their first Summer Study, learn about college life and career preparation, and participate in a one-week workshop with postsecondary instructors. The following articles summarize some of the experiences of the '01 Phase II Scholars.

Phase II: The Journey Continues...

By Brian, Nathan, Corina, and Jamie

For our group project in Phase II, we worked in the University of Washington Human Interface Technologies (UW HIT) lab on an Augmented Reality (AR) music video. Included in the video were personally selected tracks from our own music collection and virtually generated models, which we created using tools provided to us by the UW HIT lab. We had to learn about the equipment before we were able to create the models, and our mentors showed us the ropes on how to run the programs and manipulate images. We saw different technologies and the ways they are used in the HIT lab. In addition, we learned that AR can be used for medical and commercial purposes. We saw the potential of AR and VR (Virtual Reality) and how they will have an impact on all our lives and careers in the near and distant future.

We created some objects for the AR portion of the video we created. We decided on the "Yellow Submarine" as a 2D and 3D animated object. We also made a 3D guitar, an augmented tricycle, dancers, DO-IT logos, and images of our group members. We had a lot of fun and shared some wonderful moments together creating the video. Special thanks go to our DO-IT Interns, Jamie, Crystal, Tynesha, and Kasey. Special thanks to the DO-IT program staff, Duff, Peter, Suzanne, Dimitryi, and Bruce from the UW HIT Lab.

Microsoft Usability Testing Workshop

By Stephanie, Israel, Nick, Crystal, Ryan, and Nohemi

Our workshop was about usability testing. We tried the newest systems (XP™ and Internet Explorer™) to see if they were accessible to everyone. Those of us with visual impairments used screen reading software and contrast and coloring settings to make it easier to use Windows. A special head controlled device was available for people who couldn't use the standard keyboard and mouse. A speech input system could be used by people who have learning disabilities. A screen magnifier was available for people with low vision. Israel says, "Windows XP is a new challenge for users with disabilities."

Photo of DO-IT Scholars Nick and Pat, working on a computer
DO-IT Scholars, Nick and Pat, working on a computer

The first two days, my group studied Microsoft's new operating system. We were all allowed to tell the Microsoft staff good and bad experiences with this new system and not get into trouble! At first, the speech output system wouldn't read everything, such as e-mails and links. "Things are deeper and harder to find compared to the '98 operating system," said Jessie, DO-IT Intern.

Nick said, "There is great information on the computer, but it is hard to get to." Some good things were that there were lots of options and the system was well organized. Along with Microsoft XP, we also tested Internet Explorer 6.0. We were asked how this system could be made better. Here are some responses from members of our group as well as the DO-IT Interns:

"Not having the info so deep and by making JAWS work" -Crys
"Making more shortcuts so it is easier to use." -Israel
"Having fewer steps into things." -Steph
"Adding voice recognition." -Nick
"Having spell-check everywhere." -Nohemi
"Not hiding everything." -Ryan

Special thanks go to our DO-IT Interns, Alexi and Jessie.

Our Game of Life

By Susanna, Deke, Nora, Benjamin, and Andrea

Throughout the week, we worked on several projects based on the Game of Life. Conners, a mathematician, invented the game, which depends on "local rules." Life is played on a grid of squares, called cells. "Local rules" state the status of each cell, alive (lit) or dead (black). Whether or not the cells are alive or dead depends on your neighbors. Using these rules and the complex language of "Java code," we each created a number of projects, the best of which were put into a presentation for other Scholars and parents at the end of Summer Study 2001. Everything from simple shading and shadowing, to snakes and fade-out imagery, this game was an engrossing and challenging experience.

Special thanks go to our DO-IT Interns Wolfgang and Eddie.

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Your gift is tax deductible as specified in IRS regulations. Pursuant to RCW 19.09, the University of Washington is registered as a charitable organization with the Secretary of State, state of Washington. For more information call the Office of the Secretary of State, 1-800-322-4483.

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