There is no doubt that access to technology has undergone a huge revolution over the last Decade. It affects our lives in ways that have enhanced our lifestyles, leisure pursuits, day to day routines and access to information and resources. The main two areas for me where this has been significant is through smart devices such as the Iphone and IPad and also AI (artificial intelligence) devices such as the amazon echo and alexa.
My interest in technology has stretched back over many years; both as a user and also in my working life. In terms of the latter, I have taught in various areas of technology in further and adult education, worked on technology related development projects and provided training support as part of a community based service. Although I don't work in tech at present, I still have a very keen interest in it's use, it's availability and also the provision of support available to enable people to access and utilise it. I would say though that my interest has always been on how technology applies to enhance lifestyles rather than the way items of technology are put together.
For me, one of the greatest developments in technology over the last decade is how it has supported our right to read. For many years, the provision of accessible books was a huge bone of contention with only a small proportion of texts being made available. The main formats for this were either audio or braille books. The cost of production and the complication of copywrite laws meant that we only had a small selection of books available to read.
Since a change in the copywrite law and also (and very importantly) the development of smart devices, accessing books has become more readily available. One of the applications that has made a huge difference to me has been Kindle; an electronic means of accessing books and infromation.
Many people will associate kindle as a smart tablet device in it's own right. A number of these have been developed with varying levels of accessibility built in (magnification or screen reading functionality). Over the years, they have become more accessible and amazon have put a lot of time into ensuring that this is the case.
I've accessed Kindle books through an application on my IPad (my favourite item of technology from the last decade). As a screen reader user (voiceover), this has really enhanced my love of reading and my access to books. Instead of having to rely on a small amount of texts being available, the world of reading was now open to me and I was certainly going to make the most of it.
I had one concern though when learning to use the kindle application; how would I get used to reading books by listening to one of the inbuilt voices within voiceover? Audio books were always a bit of a hit and miss for me as my enjoyment of them really depended on the person reading them. I needn't be concerned though as I found it not to be a real problem in my enjoyment of books.
Since accessing kindle for the first time, other reading options have become available. Significantly, since the development of amazon's echo series, it's been possible to access books via a smart speaker/device - certainly a topic for another blog article.
Well, this is one area where technology has made a difference for me. What item of technology has changed your life? How about writing a short article on this and having it published in the VI talk blog.
Note: if you like reading and would like to share this passion with others, why not join the VI Talk book club. It is available on facebook and it is a great way of discussing books with others who share your interest.