Posts Tagged ‘ESL’

denied access

May 3, 2010

No, this post is not how my guide dog and I were denied access at a restaurant and made some type of scene before threatening to get the Civil Rights commission involved.
It is about the web!
Ok, have I said — “I’m unemployed?”
Anyway, I have always been a supporter of volunteering. In fact, until I made my big move on the first of March, I tried to volunteer wherever I could.
I feel that it is my responsibility:
both commanded by God to serve the community and
it does appeal to my social sensibilities.
Oh, wait, I have blogged about that before.
Now, I am in a larger city and it is taking me a while to become acclimated with public transportation.
So, volunteering is not readily accessible.
But, it seems that “nothing is.”
I continue to use my computer to make a positive contribution, however, it is getting more challenging.
I have been constantly looking for a language learning website.
I have blogged about this before, also and if I knew how, I would post the link
But, I am not technically savvy, yet.
Needless to say, the “learning language,” department is rarely accessible, either and the sites (for the most part) are filled with people who might have
honorable intentions, but little else.
So, I decided to try and learn Urdu, as well as critique the English exercises of others on livemocha. The site came highly recommended. .
Now, the
website is not very accessible. I can’t drag and drop, identify or click on the picture or “connect” anything.
I can, however, view or make flashcards. I can quiz myself on these flashcards. I can also make an attempt (all be it pathetic) to submit a writing exercise.
My computer is not new or fast enough for me to listen to and/or record speaking exercises. So, I content myself with reviewing written work and writing
my own.
that is until now!
Now Livemocha has decided that no reviewer can post a review to someone’s work unless they rate the work. I can’t find the rating buttons.
I have given many people constructive criticism on their work. But, now I can’t even do that because I can’t find the “rating button.” Sighted people can
push the “rating button,” and write a trite “Good job,” or “needs work.” But, my three lined critique (and you know how much I write, so three lines is
an under statement) is not accepted.
You get “Mocha points,” and a “teacher score,” for reviewing the work of others. Of course, none of these “points,” result in real “money — (what a shame) .” But, it was something that I could do. It was a way for me to use my native language to assist others. And, I would often give examples as well as my livemocha email
if they had further questions concerning the exercise.
No more!
That volunteering opportunity has gone down the tubes until either:
1. they make the website more accessible
2. I get a new computer.
And, did I mention that my Urdu learning has stopped as well?
Well, a big “thumbs down,” for Livemocha.
Businesses should employ disabled people to review their websites and give them a summary of their accessibility status. And, if ever a business or **anyone
wants to “update,” their site, they should employ a disabled person to advise them on the propper way to do this so that the disabled population (and,
when I say disabled, I mean someone who is using alternative software such as a screenreader and who can’t read the print on the screen) is not left out
in the dark — literally and not so literally.
Note: I don’t just say “Blind,” because there are those with dyslexia who also need the assistance of a screenreader, however, those who are dyslexic and actually need&use
a screenreader are far less in number than the blind population.


serving the community

February 23, 2010

I am a volunteer. I enjoy volunteering. I don’t do it for recognition. I do it because I believe that it is each community members responsibility to give back a bit to their community. I do it because it says: “I don’t have to get paid to give something in return.” Yes, I  I also put together an article about volunteers for those who are thinking about doing so.

Tips for volunteers

 I feel that it is required of me as one who has been given gifts from God and should use them from time to time to benefit the community without gaining anything in return.
Imran says that I volunteer too much and don’t get paid.
I agree that I want to get paid.
But, first:
it was hard for me to even volunteer as a disabled person. People were (still aren’t) sure what I can do. They are skeptical. They are more likely to accept me as a volunteer than a worker. This does not make me feel appreciated. But, it is a start.
Secondly, I feel that it is my responsibility to give of my gifts and time to benefit the community without receiving any gain in return. This, I feel, is an emotionally and spiritually healthy act and should be performed with some regularity.

So: what do I do to volunteer.
First let me say that I am moving because I still have no employment.
I have a four year degree in social work with a minor in sociology. I have had tons of family experience. But, jobs seem to elude me.
I would feel quite unproductive if I just sat around, so I volunteer in the meantime.
I do the following:
1. 2 mondays a month I volunteer my time/energy at our local soup kitchen. I help prepare food. This lasts from four to five hours per day.
2. two days a week, I perform data entry for our local animal shelter. I intake animals, answer phones, process animals out and make appointments. I spend about 11-14 hours per week.
3. I volunteer on livemocha and any other site to help people with their English. I use to make up lessons on the yahoo group: “The English Workshop Of Volunteers – 1a, 2a and 3a.” But, I also critique exercises and give instructions and feedback. I have not tallied up time because I am at home on the computer and lose track of time. But, it does take up a large portion of my time, also.

These don’t sound like much when they are written down, but they are significant.
when I move, I won’t be volunteering at the first two.
I don’t think that he likes me volunteering at the animal shelter. He feels that it does take up lots of my time and they do rely on me when they go on vacation.
When someone does go on vacation, I usually step up my commitment to every day because I know that they are short staffed.
they say that they would love to hire me, but the county won’t let them.
Imran is not an animal person, anyway.
But, he feels like they are taking advantage of me.
I concede that they might be using my skills quite a bit – especially when they are on vacation and they need help.
But, at least I have something to do and can put it on my resume for later.