Why I set up my own technology group

Hands holding a smartphoneHello my name is Sarah Leadbetter and I’m one of Sense’s Digital Champions, which is part of the Online Today project. I started to run a tech group in Leicestershire for people with sight loss and other disabilities, to discuss and support using accessible technology.

I’m partially sighted myself, and I wanted a group to discuss different types of technology, for example, what apps are good to use with voice on my smartphone.

Woman with guide dogThere weren’t  any groups like this in Leicestershire, so a friend and I decided to set one up, so that beginners and people more experienced in using technology could come together to talk about their tech problems and opportunities.

Members bring their smart phones, tablets and laptops to the group, and we offer friendly peer support to help each other with any problems we may be having, or share tips on any great apps that are out there.

I’m glad I’ve set up the tech group because it gives me the opportunity to pass on what I’ve learnt to others, and also learn new things from members.

One of the most rewarding things about setting up the tech group has been that we have reached people who haven’t previously had much, if any experience of using technology. We show them how to use a smartphone or tablet for the first time, teach them how to take and send a photo on WhatsApp, write a message, and send it to a friend. This was the reason the group was started.

Some of the other things discussed at the group include how to use the KNFB Reader, which is an app that allows you to scan a printed document by taking a photo of it on your phone and have it read aloud to you.

We also talk about accessible games, free screen readers, like Neva, and listening to books on your phone using apps such as Audible and OverDrive.

The Leicester tech group meets on the second Monday of each month at the Globe pub, 43 Silver Street, Leicester; in the snug.  We are a friendly group and everybody is welcome!

If you would like more information about the group, you can email Sarah on saz.leadbetter@sky.com or visit the VIPTech email group at groups.io, discussing technology that helps partially sighted and blind people.

Read more about Online Today, a Big Lottery funded to help people with sensory loss across the UK get online.

Author: Sarah Leadbetter

Sarah set up and runs a technology group in Leicestershire for people with sight loss and other disabilities,

3 thoughts on “Why I set up my own technology group”

  1. Very interesting approach Sarah. Literally, this is one of a good idea of bringing different people into the group for discussing different technologies.

  2. This is a great initiative. Your support group is apt, as people with disabilities need not be left behind in the technological advances notwithstanding the form of impairments. Kudos!

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