Course Creator and Assistive Technology Trainer Alyssa Henson walks you through setting up the Amazon Echo Show 8.
In this episode Amber Kraft demos the GE Smart Lights from a blindness assistive technology perspective
First and foremost, what are you going to do with all this Android
goodness without a comprehensive overview of Android? Who knows, but
wonder no more; Commtech is pleased to present the Android Basics
course! Have you just found an Android device under the tree this
Christmas? Snag a copy of this course, available at a 50% discount for
the next 24 hours! That’s right, 50 bucks gives you the course plus
course-wide customer support!
Go to our course menu to purchase the Android Basics Course
Looking for a place to share your newfound knowledge, or find more
things to do with your phone?
is here to stay, and is
proud to be the one-stop information hub for all things Android
And to top it all off, our critically acclaimed app is
now available on Android! Take your Android course with you for your
commute, find some apps to keep you entertained on that long drive, or
call our ever-present support team if you run into a problem! Honing
several years of Android experience, our Android experts are ready and
willing to answer to all your Android-based needs.
We just released a review of Good Maps Explore on our Accessidroid reviews and forums site. Check it out at accessidroid.com
Commtech USA is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Commtech USA Free Support Hour
Time: Dec 24, 2020 09:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 817 8499 8661
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For only two more days, these prices will be this low, get the Logic Pro, music producing course, taught by a blind professional producer and music instructor, for only 99 dollars, normally 139.99. Do you need music training, piano lessons, or just want time with an accomplished, musician We now have hourly training bundles! 1 hour, 40 dollars, 2 hour 70, and 3 hours of professional music training for only 100 dollars! Want to learn Windows 10? normally 99 dollars, now just 49. learn dropbox, normally 49 dollars, now just 29. learn from a Blind College Instructor on how to use Jaws, 29. or word and excel, only 69. learn how to use the iphone, or use the iphone for getting sighted help, starting just at 39 dollars. Want to learn how to use Apps, like Voice Dream Reader, Writer, or Scanner? maybe you want to use the KNFB Reader App? yep, just starting at 24.99. Maybe you just got an Apple Watch, or you want to use your iphone with a braille display? and we are talking using a braille display to use your entire phone, from startup to shut down, starting at just 24.99. These are just some, of the courses we have to offer at Accessivision, a Commtech USA brand. go to https://commtechusa.net/courses
Do you need 1 on 1 training, do you need some one to call when you run in to trouble with your computer, phone, ipad or software, maybe windows is giving you trouble, freezing, or not talking. does jaws crash, NVDA freeze, or your braille display gives you fits? do you need to learn how to accomplish a task on the iphone, or your new android phone? then, get a training subscription, for only 39 dollars. thats unlimited, training and support, for 30 days for just 1.33 dollars a day. and if you want a bigger discount, buy a yearly subscription for only 399.99. go to
or if you have our app, on android, or iphone, or your ipad and maybe even your mac, you can even purchase our training services from with in the app! go get the app at
You need help purchasing over the phone? give us a call at 1-833-345-8324 Ext. 703! Call today!
Commtech USA is hosting a Free Assistive Technology Support Chat Via Zoom
Did you miss the open house? do you still want a chance to speak to the Commtech USA Staff live and ask them questions, maybe you got a small problem that can be answered quickly in a couple of minutes, and some free tech support sounds really cool. well then, do we have a treat for you. to continue giving back to the community, Commtech USA CEO and certified Assistive technology trainer Gabe Vega, as well as Pro Audio Course Creator Daniel Contreras and members of our Assistive Technology training team will be available from 9:00AM to 10:00AM Pacific Time, December 24, 2020. for 1 hour of free tech support. in the format of Bill Handle, or any other call in advice program, join us, ask a question and if we can answer it as a team under 2 minutes, let us advise you on your problem, and if we can answer it, in the little time allowed, you just received free support, or we can steer you in the right direction. Come on, give us a try, you want to know why we are one of the most famous, cohesive and sought out companies in the assistive technology space today, well then join us, let us show you why are are worth the subscription prices we offer at such a low price. simply go to
and register. If you want to join our news letter where we first announce free events like this, join our news letter at
need help to register, or sign up for the news letter? give us a call at 1-833-345-8324 Ext. 703. Space is limited, so register today!
Some people think that success means tons of money in the bank. While that may be true, there are other proofs of successfulness that you need to take a look at as well. For example, are you truely happy? Do you wake up each morning looking forward to doing what you’re going to do, or do you find yourself struggling to get out of bed each morning and wake up in a very grumpy mood? Your measure of success all depends upon you and your overall attitude in life. That is, you actually have a choice to be grumpy and mad when you wake up each morning, or you can wake up happy, energized and ready to face the day no matter what it brings you. We all have the exact same choice and the choice that we choose will definitely shape our entire day whether we realize it or not.
Now I am in no way talking about some New Age philosopy here, but what I am referring to is the actual choice you make to be happy or not to be happy. I am in no way saying that you should ignore your feelings and emotions. When you work, you should be doing work that makes you happy each and every day. The work should never ever be just a task you perform. It should be something that you really look forward to doing each and every day.
Another mark of success is when you enjoy talking about what you do. If you absolutely can’t wait to share with other people what it is that you do, then that too is a measure of success. However, the most important part of success is pure honesty. You can’t have success without being honest in your business. You have always heard that honesty is the best policy. Well it is absolutely true.
Being totally honest in your business and your business practices means that you don’t dabble in any dishonest practices, techniques or strategies of any kind whatsoever. It also means being totally transparent with your customers. Don’t hide anything and don’t lie. Don’t show fake screen shots of income, and always tell everything that you need to tell about your products and services.
Even being vague is a form of dishonesty because you’re not revealing the entire truth. If you really want your customers to trust you, then you have to be 100% honest at all times no matter how tempting it is to cut corners, or even lie just a little. If you begin to dabble in dishonesty even in the smallest amount, the more that you do it, the easier it becomes to do it until you are finally not telling your customers the truth and you end up lying all of the time just to make a quick buck. That’s not the way to handle your business and that is also the quickest way to loose your business as well.
If you really want to be successful, then you are going to have to do things the right way all of the time no matter the cost. That’s because if you want to truthfully make more money the right way, then you’re going to have to be totally transparent in all your business practices. You need to realize that by cutting corners, you’re only hurting yourself in the end. Also remember, that if you really want to become successful, then you need to hang around those that are successful as well. This makes perfect sense because you can actually learn from them the things that you need to know to become successful yourself. You see, becoming successful takes a lot of hard work, determination and the ability to keep away from doing things the wrong way.
Sure it is attractive to try out a sneaky technique or strategy, but the question is; is that technique or strategy really worth using if it means cutting corners or not following what you know is right? When you follow those who are truly successful, you will also learn the techniques and strategies that they use, and you won’t have to use any of the sneaky ways to gain customers or to make money. From the truly successful, you will learn the honest and ethical ways to run and manage your business, and that’s what you want. Sure it may take a while for you to become successful yourself, but as long as you follow the truely successful, you will get there soon enough. You just have to keep on working hard towards that goal.
You see, your ultimate goal is to become as successful as humanly possible without doing things the wrong way. That is why it pays to do things the right way instead of the faster way because faster isn’t always better. Sometimes, you have to take things slow because in the end, that’s what really works.
Truly successful people think like successful people and they also think like business people. They have the business mindset, and that’s important to have. If you have the correct mindset, and you have goals that you have set for yourself that are actually attainable, then you’re well on your way. However, if you have set your goals too high, then your chances of meeting those goals just might be pretty slim indeed. Try to set goals that you know you will be able to reach. This might mean taking things in much smaller steps. However, that’s OK because even taking baby steps is the smart thing to do especially if you’re working on becoming successful. You definitely do not want to rush things.
You see, when you’re on your way to becoming successful, you will have setbacks along the way. That is natural, and it is expected. However, it is in how you deal with those setbacks that will determine at whether your successful or not. That’s because if you handle your setbacks with the goals that you have set in mind, that in itself will keep you pushing forward and finding the solutions that you need to overcome those situations at hand. As long as you keep your goals in mind and keep pushing towards them, you will over come your problems and you will continue on. However, you may say, but is it natural to want to throw in the towl? Of course it is. You’re human and as such, you will want to throw in the towl once in a while. No entrepreneur has never not thought about giving it up at times. That’s natural to think that way. However, you can’t continue to think that way. You must press onward. You must not give up. If needed, you may want to confide in someone else for assistance and help in whatever it is that you’re dealing with at the time. If you can find someone who can help you to pull through the rough times, then you won’t have to think about giving up or throwing in the towl.
Remember, if you take affirmative action, then you’re already successful because you are doing something that a lot of people aren’t doing. As long as you do something towards your goals, you’re successful. It is just that success is measured in small chunks rather than just in the end result. You will have small, medium and large successes throughout your journey as an entrepreneur, and you will still have setbacks and yes even failures from time to time. For example, do you actually believe that every single product creator has successful information products to sell online? If you believe that, then you have been living underneath a rock somewhere and you’re not facing reality.
All product creators have had their share of ultimate failures and flops over the years with their products. Not every single product that they sell is a total success. However, what sets these people apart and the reason why they can sell more products is because they can learn from their failures and flops and in doing that, they can release products that will sell and make them money. success comes from learning from your mistakes and not making them again, or doing things differently. So whether you create information products, do podcasts, create courses or whatever, you’re bound to have failures and flops from time to time. That’s the way that this business works. Nobody is successful 100% of the time.
One other thing that can sure help you towards your success is to continue your education. It doesn’t hurt to learn something new because maybe that new thing that you just learned could really help you in your business. Now this isn’t to say that everything that you learn will work in your particular business model, but if you don’t try it, you’ll never know. It is always good to try out other techniques and strategies because you never know just what particular strategy will work best for your type of business. You might discover that a particular strategy just might bring in more traffic, and more sales. Therefore, it is imparative that you at least try out the new technique or strategy to see if it is a good fit for your business.
If the technique or strategy is indeed a good fit, then you can continue to use it for as long as you need. It never hurts to try out new things in your business just so as long as what you’re trying out works for the business and you’re actually happy with it. Remember that as a business owner, it is your job to insure that all your customers are happy and that you do your best to be as transparent as possible at all times. This will indeed insure your overall success. Remember, there are going to be times when the climate in your business might not be as good as before. It may mean that you will need to make some needed changes and that’s OK because sometimes believe it or not, change is actually good for a business. However, as a business owner, you have a lot on your shoulders. You may have other employees in the business, inventory to keep up with, distributors, and who knows what else that you have to keep in constant contact with, and that in itself can be really stressful at times. Just running the business itself is stressful enough especially if your business deals with physical products. The cost of shipping those products, finding out who to use for the shipping and so on are all a part of the many moving parts of the business that you need to control.
OK, so to wrap up, how do you insure your success? Well it is really simple. The most important thing that you need to do is to remain totally transparent and not dabble in anything that is illegal, or dishonest in any way. Always tell the truth and always present your business in a way that is honest and sincere, and never ever use things like faked screen shots, or lie on your sales copy. Always let your customers know what it is that you’re offering without hiding anything from them, and at all times, have a good business mindset.
Here’s to your total success!
M parents of blind and visually impaired children have heard about the amazing work of guide dogs. They know that these dogs are wonderfully trained animals that help their blind owners navigate their surroundings every day. The question they often ask is how to get a guide dog in the hands of their own blind child. The answer is not a simple one. In fact, there are multiple factors to look at.
Most American guide dog schools only accept applicants as young as sixteen years old, though occasionally exceptions are made. This is to guarantee that the applicant is responsible enough to handle their dog’s needs and to act appropriately with the dog in public situations. There is however, a school that will work the applicants as young as eleven years old. They are called title: Mira USA Foundation url: https://www.mirausa.org located in North Carolina. They evaluate applicants from the ages of eleven to seventeen, and if the children are accepted, they pay for then to fly to the Mira Foundation in Canada to receive their dogs. This program isn’t for everyone though. The children must have solid orientation and mobility skills to be excepted into this program or any other guide dog program in the country.
Another factor to consider is family readiness. Is the family ready to have a dog in the house twenty four hours a day seven days a week? Can the family handle the financial responsibilities such as food and vet care associated with a dog? Can the family step back and let the handler be the primary handler and caretaker of the dog? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, but the child is not ready to work with a guide dog, it’s worth considering adopting a pet from your local animal shelter or working with one of the guide dog schools that offers a program for kids. title: Guide Dogs for the Blind url: https://www.guidedogs.com/get-a-guide-dog/youth-programs/k9-buddies and title: Guiding Eyes for the Blind url: https://www.guidingeyes.org/youth-program-announcement/ have programs specifically for this purpose. They take the dogs from their stock that aren’t good guide dogs but that would make great pet dogs and adopt them out to families with visually impaired and blind children so the children can learn the responsibilities of caring for a dog before making the decision to get their own guide. This is a great way for future guide dog handlers to make a better informed decision on if a guide dog is right for them. Again, I must stress, this requires full family support, but the child must be the main caretaker of the dog. This means they are expected to feed, water, relieve, and groom the dog though family members can assist some as needed especially for very young children. It is also important to know that even though these dogs come from a guide dog school, they’re still just pets so may not be taken to places that don’t allow pets. Having said that, the child still can have plenty of opportunity to walk their companion.
Finally, the child has to be the one to decide they want a guide dog. If they are unable to participate in one of the programs mentioned above, they may be interested in doing a summer camp program as a teen where they can learn more about guide dogs. Title: Leader Dogs for the Blind, Url: https://www.leaderdog.org/programs/summer-experience-camp/ and Title: Guide Dogs For the Blind url: https://www.guidedogs.com/get-a-guide-dog/youth-programs/camp-gdb offer week long summer camps for teens to expand their orientation and mobility skills and learn more about guide dogs. They will get the chance to experience walking with a guide dog and take part in the care taking requirements of the dog. This experience can help the child understand more about the guide dog lifestyle and guide them toward making an informed choice on whether a guide dog is right for their life. Future handlers can also learn more by discussing guide dogs with their orientation and mobility instructors and talking to current guide dog handlers.
In conclusion, there is not a correct answer to whether a child should or should not get a guide dog. With the right tools and information they can be equipped to make the best choice for their specific situation and for that of their family.
With Christmas fastlie approaching I think it is time to talk about how wonderful salt dough is for making a variety of things.
First off let’s take a look at how to make your salt dough and then we will talk about some different things we can make with it.
Salt dough recipe
• 4 cups All-purpose flour
• 1 cup table salt
• 1 and 1/2 cups warm water
When making the salt dough you will want to start by mixing together the flour and salt. Once the flour and salt are mixed well you can slowly add in the warm water to begin forming the dough. After you have your dough made and you have made it into the project you will bake the salt dough. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. You will bake the salt dough for about an hour or until the projects have hardened. There is really no way to say for sure how long to bake your projects as it will be different depending on the size of each one.
Now that we have gone over how to make the salt dough let’s take a look at some ideas of things we can make.
1. Salt dough ornaments
To do these you can just use cookie cutters and cut out many different objects. Another thing you can do is use a child’s hand print and cut it out to put on the tree. When making the ornaments one thing you want to remember before baking them is to put a small hole with a toothpick so you are able to hang them. Once they are baked you are able to paint them and decorate them however you would like.
1. Hand print bowl
This hand print bowl could make a great gift for parents or grand parents. You will make a bowl with the salt dough and then push the child’s hand print in the bottom of it. Once you have baked this project you can have the child paint and decorate it.
Below you will find the zoom meeting info followed by the staff introductions.
Commtech USA is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Commtech USA Open House
Time: Dec 18, 2020 09:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Click here to open zoom and join the meeting
Meeting ID: 884 0814 4318
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Meeting ID: 884 0814 4318
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kzc8AacAe
Amber Kraft Assistive Technology Trainer and Course Creator
Amber Kraft is a tech trainer and course creator at Commtech USA. She has ten years of experience with IOS and six years with Mac OS. Amber enjoys learning about new technology and teaching it to others. Outside of technology Amber enjoys Knitting, doing craft projects with her son as well as cooking and baking. Amber learned to knit when she was 14 years old. She learned to knit on her own as she did not know anyone else who knitted at the time to teach her.
Daniel Contreras Pro Audio and Music Training Course Creator
Daniel Contreras is an accomplished pianist, composer, and music producer from Houston Texas. He has recently joined the Accessivision team and offers both lessons in piano and music theory. He is also the course creator of the Logic Pro course that was recently released. Daniel completed his bachelors in piano performance in 2016 and completed his graduate studies in 2018. He has also had experience with Logic Pro since 2015 and has utilized this software for a variety of projects. He has been teaching piano and music theory for over four years to a wide range of students. He has often been complimented for his ability to teach in a way that is precise and easy to understand. With his experience in music performance and production, Daniel is excited to share his knowledge with you.
-Ulysses Garcia Music Course Creator
My name is Ulysses, and I am 26 years old, and I currently live in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. I have an older brother, whom I have advocated for almost four years because of his disabilities. I am a writer, blogger, and avid musician, the last of which I have almost twenty years of self-teaching experience.
Ever since I was six years old, I have always wanted someone to teach me how to play or sing, but my family has always been poor and couldnt’ afford music lessons. One of my vision teachers, who had heard about my talents, offered me a gift of weekly flute lessons in fifth grade.
Although I was born with perfect hearing, I began to experience hearing loss at age seven, which also made it difficult for me to learn new information. Despite these challenges, I have found creative ways for me to learn new material, and I haven’t lost my ability to have perfect pitch. I am currently in a community choir, and I plan on auditioning for an a cappella group when this pandemic is over.
When I first heard about Commtech USA, I immediately knew I had an opportunity for me to hare my knowledge of Braille music, for I am extremely passionate about making music accessible for all, and during these unprecedented times, we need music more than ever so that we don’t feel isolated from the rest of the world.
I came up with the idea to put together a six-module course with some quizzes to teach the basic fundamentals of music theory that will help the student be more familiar with music notation in general, and therefore allow them to apply those concepts to reading Braille music. I’m very honoured to be here with y’all and answer any questions you might have about my course.
Alyssa Henson Assistive Technology Trainer and Course Creator
Alyssa Henson is a trainer and course creator at Commtech USA. She is an avid technology lover with a strong passion for teaching others. She has been using a variety of assistive technologies since 2000 and began using Apple’s iOS operating system in 2011. Since then she has used several iPhones and apple watches. This has inspired her to create courses to help others learn about these devices and their powerful capabilities. She created a course to get people started with the Apple Watch and also entered uncharted territory by creating a course specifically about using Braille Displays with the iOS operating system as she saw the need for such a course. Her passion for her courses and teaching others has made her a valuable employee of Commtech USA.
Jack Falejczyk Android and Web Admin Course Creator
Jack Falejczyk has been a web designer for a little over a year. He
currently has a course on the basics of starting a website, from
choosing a provider to pushing that glorious launch switch to get that
idea off the ground. Beyond that, Jack is the brains behind the newly
launched Accessidroid, designing nearly all of the site for us as well
as handling content submissions. Jack has been a seasoned Android user
for nearly a decade, holding a wealth of knowledge about the platform.
He has contributed much of his knowledge and experience with Android
towards passionately developing the information hub for Android
accessibility that has been missing from the Android world for far too
long. He is the co-creator of our up and coming Android course,
Have you ever wanted to meet the Staff of Commtech USA, CEO Gabe Vega, Assistive Technology Trainers Alyssa henson, Amber Kraft and Sumaya Hussein,. Course Creators Daniel Contreras Pro Audio, Ulissas Garcia Music Training, Jack Falejczyk
Accessidroid and web design, and more! Well now, here’s your chance.
On Friday December 18, 2020 Commtech USA will be holding their first open house and invite you to join us. Come here the Keynote presented by Gabe Vega CEO of Commtech USA. and here presentations by every member of the staff on how they can help you reach your full potential from independence to education to employment, if its top shelf vocation rehabilitation standard, training from certified individuals covering a vast range of industries this is one event you don’t want to miss.
The Open House Registration Page
to register for this once in a life time free event.
The Open House will be held using zoom. so you can use the zoom app to join in or use your telephone. Hurry and register today, participant availability are limited. Register now!
Any questions, need help to register? give us a call, we got you covered, 1-833-345-8324, Ext. 703.
Customer Service and Sales
Commtech USA Bakersfield
2005 Eye Street
Suite 6 PMB 180
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Office: (833) 345-8324
Fax: (661) 410-7577
We’d like to welcome you to this new all in one place for Android Accessibility. What makes us different from other websites, email groups and forums about Android accessibility? simply that we are a team of professional Android users, who come to work every day in order to bring Android accessibility to you. We have been in business for over 16 years, serving the blind community on a Federal, State, business and consumer level since 2005 for a variety of agencies and we now offer this free resource to you.
And because of the reasons listed above, we have an insentive to not just fade away in to the background, and we have a reason to always keep you updated with the latest, android accessibility news, reviews, tips and tricks. not only because its what we like, but its our job.
If you have any Android questions, feel free to ask, and if you want to ask them here, or on the
forums, either way, we are here to help. for free.
Customer Service and Sales
Commtech USA Bakersfield
2005 Eye Street
Suite 6 PMB 180
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Office: (833) 345-8324
Fax: (661) 410-7577
Are you an artist looking to get out there on the scene? Are you interested in turning your vocal art, your musical art and your abilities in to something the world could enjoy? Are you stuck inside because of all these covid lock downs and can’t attend school to continue your schooling for audio production. Well then, Let us help you! Music Producer and Visually impaired piano player, Daniel Contreras with Commtech USA under our Accessivision Brand is proud to announce our new Audio Production with Logic Pro course. with 5 modules to start with, we are here to take you from the beginnings of music producing to a greater understanding on how to make it sound its greatest to its full potential. and for a limited amount of time, you can get this course for only $99.99 that’s right, other courses in this field don’t even teach half of what we are training you to do, and charge hundreds of dollars more. but this price is only good until sunday! just $99.99 you can take your music abilities to the pro level. check it out at https://commtechusa.net/courses/pro-audio/
You can buy any of the following in any amount.
1. Pay per Incident Assistive Technology Support from a certified trainer up to 20 minutes $14.99
2. 30 days of unlimited Support and training from a certified trainer $39.99
3. 1 year of Support and Training from a certified Trainer $399.99
4. All courses in the Online Course catalog have been dropped to their lowest prices of the year
New courses to be released with in 48 hours are
5. , Pro Audio Production with a Blind producer using Logic Pro x, starting at just $99.99 by Daniel Contreras
6. Learn Braille Music starting at just $49.99 by -Ulysses Garcia
7. Learn how to start Canning Food at just $39.99 by Amber Kraft
8. Blind Parent art projects for $39.99 By Amber Kraft.
for our store and support and training plans go to
or for the online courses go to
Any questions? give us a call today at 1-833-345-8324 Ext. 703!
Commtech USA Wants to Thank you for Thanks giving Download our Android App today
go download our Android app in the google play store at Get it from the Google Play Store here!
we will discount you the month of service of our Assistive Technology training and support to only 39.99. and 1 year for only 399.99. you read correctly. for only the remainder of this week, you can get an entire month, of unlimited tech training and support for only 39.99 or 399.99 for the year. with no amount limits, buy 1 month, 3 months 6 months, how ever many you want and the price is still only 39.99 per month. you want to get in on great year prices, pay only 399.99 per year, and buy as many years as you wish. Boasting a nationwide staff with a vast range of experties from office, to university to personal technology skills and know how, let the certified staff of Commtech USA provide you with Vocation Rehab quality training for only pennies on the dollar. Don’t have a Android phone? that’s ok, we will discount you as well, in celebration of our new Android app release. just go to
and get your discounted service there. and if you want to download our iPhone, iPad and Mac apps go to
In this episode, Course Creator Jack introduces us to the New Accessidroid.com A new community, forum and app directory for apps, reviews, and more from an accessibility standpoint on Android.
Commtech USA Wants to Thank you for Thanks giving Download our Android App today
For only 24 hours Commtech USA is having its biggest sale of the year! right now if you go download our Android app in the google play store at Download the Commtech USA app at the Google Play Store we will discount you the month of service of our Assistive Technology training and support to only 39.99. and 1 year for only 399.99. you read correctly. for only 24 hours, you can get an entire month, of unlimited tech training and support for only 39.99 or 399.99 for the year. with no quanity limits, buy 1 month, 3 months 6 months, how ever many you want and the price is still only 39.99 per month. you want to get in on great year prices, pay only 399.99 per year, and buy as many years as you wish. Boasting a nationwide staff with a vast range of experties from office, to university to personal technology skills and know how, let the certified staff of Commtech USA provide you with Vocation Rehab quality training for only pennies on the dollar. Don’t have a Android phone? thats ok, we will discount you as well, in celebration of our new Android app release. just go to The Commtech USA Store and get your discounted service there. and if you want to download our iphone, ipad and mac apps go to The Commtech USA App Download Center where you can download all our apps for Android, iPhone, iPad and Mac today!
for a very limitted amount of time, if you download the Android app, you can purchase a month of service or a year of service for 39.99 and 399.99 respectively
Download the Android app here!
Our Android app is now live. Go get it! Works on Phones, Tablets and Braille Note Takers!
Download at the Google Play Store
By: Amber Kraft
Now that it is October and Halloween is quickly approaching, here is a few projects to get you in the spirit.
1. Leaf ghosts
For this project you will need to go outside and collect a few leaves to make into ghosts. After getting leaves you will need to paint them with white paint and add the eyes with a black marker once they dry. When adding the eyes, you will just need to add two black dots with the marker. The part of the leaf that is more rounded is what you will want to have at the top.
Things you need for this project,
• white paint
• black marker
2. Paper plate pumpkin
For this project: you will paint a paper plate orange, then add a green stem and a face to it. When cutting out the stem, it does not have to be perfect as every pumpkin stem is different. What I would do, if your child can’t do the cutting themselves, is to use the corner of the green paper. When using the corner you will only have to make two cuts to make a rectangle. Once you have the stem cut out, you can glue it on to your pumpkin and then cut out the face for your pumpkin from the black paper. If your child can not cut this out themselves, it is quite simple to do yourself. You can cut off two of the corners of your black paper giving you triangles to use for the eyes. Next you can either do one cut of another corner of your paper to make a triangle nose or two cuts by the corner making it a square nose. The next part is the most challenging for cutting but there is no right or wrong way to cut out the mouth. For all of the pieces for the face and the stem, you could also let your child rip these out rather than cutting it making their pumpkin all their own.
What you need for this project,
• paper plate
• green paper
• black paper
• orange paint
3. Pompon spiders
For these fun little spiders you will want to start by cutting your Pipe cleaners in half. After you have them cut you will twist them together at the center of them giving you eight legs. Now you will glue on a pompom in the center of your pipe cleaners that you have twisted together giving you four legs on each side. Once gluing on the first pompon to the legs you will then glue a second pompon on to the first one for the head of the spider. Lastly you will glue on your two Googly eyes.
Things you need for this project,
• black pompoms
• black pipe cleaners
• Googly eyes
We hope you Enjoy this Free Quick Course from Amber Kraft. for more Accessivision Courses by Amber Kraft and other Blind Course Creators, please visit Accessivision Courses
Just in: Product labelling Gets a Facelift as WayAround and Aira Join Forces
By: Jack Falejczyk
Article Summary: There could be no better time to label your entire inventory at an affordable cost. Take the wheel with WayAround’s digital tags, and have Aira ride shotgun!
Approximate Reading Time: 3 minutes
How did we Get Here?
Anyone who has been blind throughout most if not all of their life has no doubt used braille or tactile labels for their home inventory. They obviously have the advantage of being around the longest, being relatively affordable, and aging well over time. However, one particular disadvantage lies within the food and clothing department; braille labels for these items allow little to no room for customization, so you are stuck with whatever information you can fit, or the predefined label text. This issue is most apparent with clothing labels as they only have enough space for extremely short abbreviations.
Labels have evolved significantly over the years. Several iterations of digital labels have been created that use a bar code scanner or a specific labelling device that knows how to communicate with them. These introduce a number of problems, however. Bar codes on store products are not tactile at all, and even with the wide laser beam in products such as the IDMate, scanning can be a challenge. Additionally these devices tend to come at a high price, and are running on outdated hardware and software (the IDMates are still running Windows CE, for example). Finally, color recognition hardware and software will never be full-proof. So, do we have a viable solution that is future-proof, or is labelling stuck in the past? Do we have news for you!
A Tale of Two Services with Similar Objectives
Aira, discussed in greater detail in various articles and courses on our site, is a well-known remote visual assistance service for the blind. WayAround is a brand new, innovative, future-proof labelling system. Through the help of a smartphone and affordable digital labels of many different kinds, one can label practically any item that needs labelling! Rather than using the camera or a bar code, these labels utilize NFC (near field communication) technology, the same technology that powers various tap-and-pay terminals at various retailers. The labels come in many different configurations, from strong-adhesive stickers to laundry-safe sewable buttons. A user can input several fields of information into the WayAround app, and write that information to a way tag affixed to an item by simply tapping the phone to the tag! From then on, when you tap your phone to the item, the description for the item will be read out by your phone’s screen reader. Where does Aira play into this, you might ask? Why, for identifying the object to be labelled, of course! Aira knows this, thus has partnered with WayAround to allow WayAround users ten minutes a day to obtain assistance from an agent in identifying the items that are to be labelled. The agent can describe various details about the item (food ingredients, laundry instructions, etc.). The agent can then email you the information obtained so that it can be pasted into the WayAround app while creating the label. It doesn’t get more streamlined than that!
It should certainly be said that the Aira and WayAround partnership is a winning combination. It provides the most affordable, most future-proof method to label your inventory. For Aira specifically, it once again shifts more of the cost away from the end-user so that financial barriers will not always stand in the way of remote visual assistance.
Overall, this is a step in the right direction that will lead to greater independence.
Aira VS Be my Eyes: Which is Better?
We take an unbiased look at the two most well known remote visual assistance services, and which one is the better option.
Approximate Reading Time: 4 minutes
Aira? Be my Eyes? What is all this about, anyway?
WE’ve all heard of them, but there are many folks, particularly among the non-smartphone crowd, who may not know how these services can meet their needs. Not to worry; let us briefly describe these services and what they do!
Be my Eyes
This one was the first to surface publicly. The service provides remote visual assistance to anyone, regardless of region. The service connects blind and visually impaired users to volunteers in order to receive remote assistance.
Aira is probably the most well known, both for their top notch service and their considerable media coverage. Aira uses a team of professionally trained agents, large enough to run a 24/7 operation. In addition to the video feed itself, Aira agents have a multipurpose dashboard containing a satellite view of the environment, as well as online map integration. You used to be able to utilize smart-glasses along with a private sector of network access, but all models of the glasses are discontinued at the time of this writing. IT is our hope that a new, reliable wearable solution will make the rounds soon. Either way, the training these Aira agents go through insures that you can expect top-notch performance, no matter which agent picks up your call.
Comparing Benefits and Trade-offs
Aira and Be my Eyes are both reliable options, though the one to choose largely depends on the use case and the user’s needs. They are both cross-platform, though IOS may be higher priority than Android in many cases due to IOS’s popularity in the blindness circles. They both serve their purpose, to provide visual assistance for tasks that require it. However, there are certain factors that limit the tasks that one can perform with Be my Eyes when compared to Aira’s On my Terms mantra. Let’s take a look at specific scenarios to see which service you can trust over the other.
Who can I trust to help read a recipe with pictures?
Assuming none of your offline solutions were able to do the job, you could generally trust either service to help you with this. Both Aira and Be my Eyes do a good job reading text that you present to them. However, you may want to allocate more time to recipe reading when using Be my Eyes. Due to the fact Be My Eyes consists of a team of volunteers, there are no strict wait-time guidelines to adhere to. You might get connected within a minute of waiting one day, and then you might have to wait ten minutes the next day; it all depends on who is available when you call. With Aira, you almost always get an agent within thirty seconds or less. On the rare occasion that you are waiting longer than usual, a call will disconnect after ninety seconds of waiting, allowing you to try calling again. The long and short of it is that while you can trust both services to do the job, which service you use largely depends on how quickly you want your task completed, in this case the recipe.
My computer won’t speak, or I’ve ran into an inaccessible application. Who do I trust this time?
This one’s tricky. If a five second power outage toasts your Windows installation and it boots you into system restore, you might be able to get Be my Eyes to read your screen so you can press the necessary keys to get through the pre-boot interface. Again, Aira will get the job done faster, but Be my Eyes can work provided you have time to spare. For an inaccessible application or website, you should absolutely trust Aira over Be my Eyes in nearly every circumstance. Aira has the ability to connect to your computer remotely via a program called TeamViewer. The agent can then read what is on your screen, and control your computer so as to help you through this inaccessible task. How is this safe, you ask? Aira’s proactive approach to customer safety and privacy includes a nondisclosure contract that agents must adhere to. A volunteer for Be my Eyes does not have that legally binding agreement to sign, meaning that you would not be able to trust them to remote into your machine.
I need to locate my transit card or state ID. Does Aira take the cake this time?
Indubitably. Again, you really want to make sure you are dealing with a service that has your privacy in mind. It should be noted that you have the ability to opt out of having your calls recorded for quality assurance and training purposes, either on a case-by-case basis or across the board.
What about outdoor navigation?
Aira is the best and safest option out of the two. There is no guarantee that every volunteer on Be my Eyes knows exactly how to give proper, concise directions for navigation. Additionally, Aira agents are contractually obligated to stay quiet while you are crossing streets; this insures maximum safety.
The main takeaway is that each scenario brings forth various considerations that may make one service preferable over the other. Generally speaking, weigh each situation carefully, and pick the option that makes the most sense. While the cost of Aira may be prohibitive in some circumstances, there are more opportunities than ever before to gain subsidized access through the Aira access network, with more being added regularly. Freedom of choice is slowly but surely gaining ground between these two platforms.
So, pick the service that works best for you, and then go do that thing!
By: Amber KraftThe National Federation of the Blind has now released a new version of their Newsline mobile app. Newsline version 3.0 will now include a basic version of KNFB Reader integrated in to the Newsline app. The National Federation of the Blind’s Newsline app allows those who are blind, low vision, deaf-blind, or otherwise print-disabled to get access to audio publications, emergency weather alerts, job listings, and more. This audio service is free, and offers access to more than 500 different publications however you do have to sign up for this service which you can do on the National Federation of the Blinds web page.
Once you are a subscriber for Newsline, some of the things you will have access to are: National news papers such as; USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, breaking news sources such as CNN and ESPN Online, International newspapers such as Financial Times, magazines such as Smithsonian and Consumer Reports, State Newspapers, and emergency weather alerts based off your zip code or location.
With the latest update of the Newsline app, you will now have access to the basics of KNFB Reader. This lets you read printed text that is right in front of you within the Newsline app. To use this new feature in the app all you have to do is point your camera at the text you want to read and then take a picture of it. At this point in time I do believe you will also be able to save the documents that you take pictures of as well just like in the KNFB Reader app. Prior to this update KNFB Reader was a completely separate app from Newsline and the KNFB Reader app costed around $100 when it was not on sale. You are still able to get the KNFB Reader app separately from Newsline for those who do not have or want a Newsline subscription. The Newsline app is free in the apple App Store. However, unless you are a subscriber to Newsline you will not have access to any of the features in the app.
By: DR. Skylar Covich
Indeed is one of the largest job search sites, useful for local and remote/virtual jobs around the US and in many other countries, for a variety of different industries and skill levels. Indeed is accessible for users of the JAWS screen reader, with modern browsers such as Chrome. You can search for jobs using the Edit box in Forms mode to type in a keyword, then pressing Tab to type in a location, with Remote as an option. Looking at all the results from there will give you the best chance of not missing a job; however, it may be useful to turn filters on for the date the job is posted and for the salary range. If you choose not to turn on filters, be aware of jobs which may have been posted months ago and thus are unlikely to be available now. On a Windows PC, You can press Control + F and type in “Days Ago” to easily find the number of days ago the job you clicked on has posted. Note that if it was posted less than a day ago, you won’t get any results, but that’s actually encouraging! Also read carefully to make sure you are not applying for an unpaid internship if you are not interested in that. This goes for everyone, but us screen reader users may be more likely to be placed in the middle of an entry on this site if we don’t make sure we’re at the top. You should fill out an Indeed Resume on the site, especially if you are in a specialized industry where a recruiter might see it. The process is accessible but does take a frustratingly long time as you fill out the information for each entry, which can be slow on some browsers with JAWS. If possible, however, I would recommend applying for jobs through a different platform than Indeed; there will be a link to the company’s web site or specific application platform they are using besides Indeed. It’s easier to customize your resume or upload a Word document or PDF through other sites.
In order to filter out weak job leads, a FlexJobs subscription (about $50 a year) is worth the money if you are interested in remote work, or some specific industries in certain locations. State vocational rehabs and commissions for the blind may fund subscriptions to FlexJobs. The site is easier to navigate for screen readers, and has good links for job categories and a variety of career coaching and virtual career fair opportunities. However, Indeed is still worth checking out even if you have a FlexJobs subscription or other specialized job boards, especially for opportunities which will likely require in-person work by this point in the pandemic reopening process.
In this episode, Assistive Technology Trainer and Course Creator Amber Kraft demos the Google Lookout App on Android using the Google Talkback screen reader on her Google Pixel 4 phone.
In this episode, Donald Brown of our Marketing department talks to us about external battery packs for our smart phone and other devices.
By: DR. Skylar Covich
Recently, especially for the past 6 months since COVID began, I have had the opportunity to use most of the major videoconferencing platforms for job interviews, webinars and virtual conversations. In this post I’ll be ranking them based on their accessibility for passive and active participants. Keep in mind that I am exclusively using JAWS, using Windows PCs, and primarily using the Google Chrome browser to access meeting links and join through the browser. I also have not needed to host meetings or share my screen. I have also not yet used Facebook’s latest video calling features, so I am not including it in this post.
I have come around to preferring Google Meets over all other videoconferencing platforms. Its predecessor, Google Hangouts, was often frustrating as it was hard to find the spot to answer calls or access features from within the call. Google Meets makes the process of allowing the computer to use the camera and microphone, joining the meeting and finding features within the meeting quite simple. Tasks such as muting and unmuting and accessing the chat can be done using keystrokes which JAWS will give you when you navigate to them in the meeting using the arrow keys.
Zoom’s process of having JAWS guide you through joining the meeting from a browser is almost as simple as Google Meet’s. Some meetings make it unclear whether a password is needed, but that is the case for sighted people as well. Zoom sometimes takes a while to connect to the meeting, during which JAWS will usually say “Connecting.” One frustrating bug in Zoom is that when Bluetooth headsets are being used, JAWS will stop speaking in a Zoom meeting. On the other hand, if you are using your computer’s audio, JAWS will speak out chat messages and notifications about who has entered or left the meeting, and these messages can be heard by other participants if you are not muted. Wired headphones allow the most flexibility with Zoom.
There are simple keystrokes to access Zoom features; for example, Alt + A toggles the Mute button, and Alt + Y raises the virtual hand. You can discover more keystrokes by navigating around using the Tab key. Occasionally there are glitches with these keystrokes, requiring that you exit and re-enter the meeting. There are more support groups of knowledgeable blind people who can guide you through the use of Zoom, which is not always the case with other platforms.
Microsoft Teams is an improvement over their previous and still used platform, Skype. When joining a meeting through the browser, it takes a few extra steps to allow Teams to use your camera and microphone, and it can be hard to find the right spot to join the meeting, but it does not take too long to use the system. You can navigate around a Teams meeting using the arrow keys.
Webex is useable, but there are some inconsistencies in the process when attempting to join a meeting from your browser. Webex has also sometimes crashed my browser when I am exiting a meeting.
GoToMeeting/GoToTraining is the most inaccessible major videoconferencing platform, and I have little positive to say about it. After allowing the platform to use your camera and audio, two different windows come up containing a dialogue box which is not navigable with JAWS; at least not easily. I have sometimes managed to get meetings going by pressing the Space bar within one of the dialogues, and by using the computer audio rather than my headset. Interestingly, when this happens, I can then still use JAWS through my Bluetooth headset. Even in the training itself, it is impossible to navigate using the Alt, Tab or arrow keys, aside from closing the meeting with Alt +F4. This means that iff you need to unmute yourself to ask a question, it’s very difficult to accomplish. I have checked with others and have found that this platform has a bad reputation in the blind community, though some recommend their phone ap if necessary. GoToMeeting also gives you a phone number with an access code once you register or enter the meeting, which you can use if you can’t access it.
Despite these critiques, videoconferencing opens up many career and social opportunities for the blind, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of them regardless of which specific platforms your contacts want to use. That said, if you have any power to determine which platform should be used for a meeting, Google Meets and then Zoom are the best choices.
By: Jack Falejczyk – Course Creator
In the midst of an inaccessibility-riddled history, McGraw Hill has surprised us with a small number of very useful accessibility improvements. Whether or not this means they are making a full 180 remains to be seen, but they are definitely going off the beaten path as far as your standard accessibility efforts are concerned. It’s nevertheless worth keeping up with their efforts and the efforts of other eLearning content providers.
Approximate Reading Time: 3 minutes
McGraw Hill: Who are they and where did they go wrong?
McGraw Hill is arguably one of the biggest, most well known textbook publishers, right up there with Pearson. Unfortunately, it has been the least accessible in many subject areas, most notably math, wherein nothing will be read out via a screen-reader as math-ml is not being utilized. With HTML5 and other open standards killing the need for Flash, there is a lot of room for accessibility, though most of McGraw Hill’s content still needs a lot of work. It is almost inevitable that one will need recurring access to Aira in order to use a significant amount of McGraw Hill’s math and science content until such time that things do change.
Is there Hope for Improvement?
To my pleasant surprise, yes. They have been approached many times about accessibility before, and up until now we have not seen significant improvement. Recently, however, they seem to have made a significant step forward in an area that has many screen-reader users hard-walled: drag-and-drop. While it is true that this in and of itself is just one improvement among many that still need attention, having accessible drag-and-drop is a considerable step forward. When interacting with a question that utilizes drag-and-drop, for example a question that asks you to put items in sequential order, the following happens. You interact with an application frame below the text of the question. Inside that application is a row of items presented as toggle buttons that you can tab through. When you press space on an item, the screen-reader will announce:
“Item lifted. Use the arrow keys to move, space bar to drop, and escape to cancel.”
Sure enough, left and right arrow keys move the item through the various slots, and pressing space again swaps the items.
There are some categorical questions that feature drop-zones, in which case you would press space to grab an item, press up arrow to move into the drop-zones, and the left and right arrows to choose the drop-zone to drop the item into. Drop-zone questions typically have a much more detailed set of instructions for keyboard users, so you are not expected to know any of this information in advance should you encounter questions of this nature.
Where to Now?
Although I commend McGraw Hill for taking an important step in the right direction, it is my hope that the improvement will not stop here. It is fair to expect a lot more from these content providers, given that the bar has already been set. Sengage has been going full-speed ahead with this year’s significant accessibility improvement in their math content, and they respond well to feedback. The best example of complete textbook accessibility due to math-ml being used across the board is currently the creative-commons-licensed content from cnx.org.
A considerable amount of eLearning content is carried out through McGraw Hill, and freedom of choice is often nonexistent in a classroom setting where there is an enforced curriculum. It is not possible to simply switch the student to a different accessible content provider when the textbook platform also houses the automatically graded assignments. Therefore, it is imperative that all content providers make every effort to insure that solid accessibility is present throughout all aspects of the course content.
Introducing the newest member to our course creator team. Donald Brown. check out his course offering on our courses page
and listen to how he got started with Commtech USA
In this episode, Jack Falejczyk Course Creator tells us how he got started with Commtech USA
In this episode, Dr. Skylar Covich tells us how he got started with Commtech USA
In this episode, Assistive Technology Trainer and Course Creator Amber Kraft unboxes and sets up the Pixel Book. Using the Chrome OS and Chromevox screen reader offered by Google.
In this episode, Taylor Durrett Course Creator tells us how she got started with Commtech USA
In this episode, Rakeb max Assistive Technology Trainer and Course Creator tell us how she got started with Commtech USA
In this episode Amber Kraft tells us how she got started with Commtech USA
In this episode, the Commtech USA staff get together and discuss the evolution of talking cell phones.
Back by popular demand but only for 1 week, Commtech USA has something special to offer you! Commtech will gladly give you unlimited training and technical support on a monthly basis for just $49.99! Come and experience the high-quality service we’ve been giving our customers for the past 15 years! With staff located throughout the United States ensuring that you get coverage when you need it, training and technical support honestly couldn’t be more flexible! Whether it’s hardware or software, computers or smartphones, notable notetakers and adaptive devices for the blind or smart glasses, Commtech USA is here for you!
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Do you have an iPhone? Perhaps you just bought a new computer, a new apple watch, or maybe you want to learn a new skill or software! Commtech USA has 12 courses for you to enjoy, and there is more to come!
Looking at buying a new desktop? Our Windows basics course showcases Windows narator, a useful screen reader packaged with all versions of windows, but notably more accessible in windows 10! This course takes you from narator initialization onto navigating the desktop and start menu, using edge, mail, calendar, and people. Whether you are a seasoned computer user or are turning your computer on for the first time, this course has something for everyone!
Are you a fan of file sharing and collaboration? Let us introduce you to our Dropbox 101 course. This course will teach you how to download and configure the desktop dropbox client, explore the toolbar, create files and folders, save files to dropbox, share files and folders with others, and overall present you with the functionality you’ll need to get started! Dropbox is used by many individuals and businesses across the world. Having the knowledge to use this powerful tool will give you a skill that you can carry even into employment.
Have you ever wanted to talk to more than one person and do it quickly and efficiently? Try our Google Meet course, which will guide you step by step on using this popular conferencing system designed by a reputable company, from a BVI perspective, using assistive technology!
And while we’re on the subject of meeting up with people around you, why not tackle our social media course? If you need an accessible take on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, you’ll be glad to have made this purchase, which will doubtless bring you closer to your current connections, engage new one’s and help you obtain information important to you!
Not a windows user? Why not try our iOS Basics course. This course leads you through turning on voiceover, configuring voiceover settings, gestures such as the roter, different typing modes, braille screen input, the app switcher, and more. Come check it out and learn or rediscover iOS and the functionality it offers!
Did you know you can read your own mail and other physical documents? Want to try it out? Our course on KNFB Reader is just for you! This course explains in depth how to set up and use the KNFB reader app on an iPhone, how to use the app to obtain information about any printed material you may need to read, how best to hold the phone in order to achieve good results and other things to keep in mind while using the app! Never miss an important letter again; let Commtech USA help you read with ease!
Time is of the essence today and we all know that. Let us help you save some with our Apple watch course. From setting up and paring an Apple watch to configuration of faces and apps used by Commtech staff, this course teaches you all you’ll need to know about your new apple watch.
And finally, if you’ve ever wanted to get an idea off the ground but struggled with setting up a site to give it that extra push into the commercial market, our Website 101 course will help you along the way! From learning what to look for in a hosting provider, to acquiring a Domain through a registrar, to setting up an FTP client and managing dns settings, we’re confident you will find this course invaluable and packed full of useful insight. Establish your internet presence!
Taught for the blind and visually impaired by the blind and visually impaired, Commtech USA’s courses offer you the knowledge and skills to do the things you need to do at an affordable price. For information on any of these 12 courses or to keep up with our course offerings as we are releasing new courses every day, please visit us today!
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using JAWS and other adaptive technology since his childhood in the
1990s, and he has 10 years of experience as a college classroom
instructor. He has a BA in Politics from Saint Mary’s College of
California and a PH.D. in political science from the University of
California Santa Barbara. He lives with his wife in Ventura,
Dr. Covich hopes that this course will explain the most important
feature of JAWS in a straightforward way which will work for everyone
from blind children, to people who might be losing their sight later
in life and want to see if JAWS is right for them, to long-time JAWS
users who might have some gaps in their training. That last category
is important; because Dr. Covich was trained in JAWS a long time ago,
he did some research to make sure he understood all of the features in
the new versions that he doesn’t frequently use. The course focuses on
how to install JAWS independently, before discussing how JAWS can
navigate Windows, Microsoft Office and the Internet, especially
explaining the importance of paying attention to JAWS’s capability
about of providing hints about shortcut keys.
In this episode, Amber Kraft, Course Creator and Assistive technology Trainer demos the Seeing AI app from Microsoft on the iPhone.
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In this episode, alyssa and jack talk about braille displays, from 1980 to today. comparing brands, internal parts and more.
Gabe Vega takes us through unboxing the Google Pixel 3XL as a totally blind user.
Amber Kraft of our Course Creator and Assistive Technology Trainer teams, walks you through downloading installing and using the Commtech USA iPhone app.
Andrew and Jessica of Commtech USA featured on the Mission Possible Podcast.
In this episode, Jessica and Andrew unbox the Nokia 2.3 smart phone.