Back to School learning isn’t just for Children.
With summer days coming to an end, families everywhere are getting geared up for a brand-new school year. And as the first day of autumn term draws near, it’s time to shop for school supplies, get uniforms organised, and put on our thinking caps ready for the new academic year.
But, for those of us who won’t be sitting in a classroom, the idea of learning new things can be just as exciting and enriching. If you are visually impaired or a RealSAM Pocket user, there are a lot of engaging resources to explore if you would also like to learn something new this Autumn. Here’s some of our favourite suggestions.
1. Get to Know Your Local Community
On RealSAM Pocket, you can stream both national and local talking newspapers. Headlines are updated daily and it’s easy to find specific newspapers and navigate to different sections by voice. Click here for the list of available newspapers on Pocket.
Learn about what’s going on near you. Are there fun Autumn festivals coming up? All over the country, there are food festivals, light shows, October spooky celebrations, and many other family events that you can look forward to this season. For example, if you check out the ‘What’s On’ section in the Lancashire Evening Post, you’ll find out about ‘An invitation to fill your September with friendship’ where older residents are invited to socialise for different events.
2. Follow the Latest on Current Events
Staying up to date about national and global news can help you think critically so you can make informed decisions. It can give you a better understanding of different cultures and let you see issues from different perspectives. Current events also spark conversations between peers, family, and friends. By sharing what you think and hearing what others have to say, you’re not just talking, you’re forming a deeper connection and becoming more empathetic to others.
If you’re visually impaired and you want to learn more about accessible newspapers check out the RNIB Newsagent or the list of national newspapers available on Pocket.
3. Learn More About Accessibility
Learning about accessibility developments can be helpful to anyone who is living with a disability. It’s always encouraging to hear about other people overcoming accessibility challenges. Those of us affected by sight loss can remember that we’re not alone when we learn about different situations. And we tend to be more hopeful when we stay up to date about the passage of accessibility regulations, new assistive technology, AI accessibility features, exciting work opportunities, and more supportive resources.
We can learn about accessibility developments from social media. On the RealSAM UK Facebook page you’ll be updated with the latest developments with RealSAM. But we also love sharing content that’s relevant to the sight loss community. On the RealSAM News webpage, you can read articles about supportive organisations, resources, inspiring stories, and helpful ideas for everyday challenges.
There are also various blind and visually impaired content creators on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. They explore a range of topics, including their personal experiences, new insights about accessibility and showcasing technology that makes a difference. Here are just a few of many amazing YouTube channels by and for those who are blind or visually impaired.
RNIB – The Royal National Institute of Blind People
Lucy Edwards – ‘Follow my blind British Adventure.’
Access Tech Live – formerly Double Tap TV
Carrie on Accessibility – ‘Explore, Promote, Improve, and Collaborate to make the world more Accessible.
Seeing Blind – ‘This channel is for anyone trying to live their best life with a disability…’
The Blind Life – ‘Learning to live your best blind life.’
Additionally, there are numerous podcasts by and for the visually impaired community. Check out the RealSAM Collection on Pocket that includes titles listed below and so much more. Just ‘tap to talk’ and say, ‘Podcasts.’ Choose the RealSAM Collection and learn more about accessibility and related topics.
Audio Pizza – ‘More Than Just a Sound Bite – Audio reviews and tutorials on the things we’re passionate about.’
Blind Abilities – The most comprehensive resource for Assistive Technology, success Stories, College and Career Pathways and all with a Blindness Perspective.
Braillecast – ‘Connecting the dots for Braillist everywhere.’
Blind Bargain Audio – ‘Featuring the BB cast, technology news, interviews, and more.’
4. Learn About Fun Hobbies, New Skills, Interesting Topics
Are you tired of eating the same meals? Would you like to try out new recipes? Are you interested in picking up a new hobby like knitting or woodworking? Maybe you’ve dreamed about traveling to captivating destinations?
You can explore all of these topics in books and magazines. If you’re blind or visually impaired there are multiple ways to access nonfiction books and fun magazines. Learn about different accessible formats from: ‘5 Accessible Book Formats’ on the RealSAM UK website.
Download a list of available talking magazines from the RNIB Newsagent page. BBC History Magazine, People’s Friend, and Reader’s Digest are some examples of popular magazines available in audio format from the RNIB.
On the RealSAM Pocket you’ll be able to stream non-fiction books about anything and everything from 5 different libraries: RNIB, Calibre Audio, Torch Trust, LibriVox, and Project Gutenberg. Learn more from ‘Reading books on the RealSAM Pocket’ blog article.
Get the recipe for Thai Pumpkin Soup when you press the ‘tap to talk’ button and ask Pocket to read you Thrifty Feast by Made in Hackney. Learn about the Middle Ages when you ask Pocket to ‘Read me a book called The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval Guide to England or learn how to manage stress when you ask Pocket, ‘List books about anxiety.’
And with the new RealSAM customer portal feature, it’s even easier to dive into books. With Catalogue Browsing, it’s now possible for users to search for books and add them to your bookshelf on Pocket.
You may not be going to school, but learning is a lifelong process and in our digital age, why not take advantage of a world of knowledge at our fingertips?
By Guenivir Kendrick