Accessible Assistive Technology Resources Bridges Blog Series: Access April 2024

Chatting About ChatGPT

Access April with Our Bridges Resource Library

This month we take a deep dive into what may be the most important need of blind and low-vision people in our current Information Age: ACCESS. Accessible assistive technology (AAT) is great, but it’s only a tool to access the materials we need. We need to know how to use our technology, determine whether or not something is accessible, and advocate for the access we need if necessary.

  • April 2: Accessibility of the New “IRS Free File” Tools
  • April 9: Chris’ Favorite JAWS Power Moves
  • April 16: Awesome JAWS Access Tools: Convenient OCR and Voice Assistant
  • April 23: JAWS Picture Smart AI Feature
  • April 30: Chatting About ChatGPT

In this final installment of our Access April series, we chat about a new tool (and toy) with nearly endless possibilities: ChatGPT.

What Is ChatGPT?

We’ve already mentioned ChatGPT in this series, so you may already be familiar with its language-generating capabilities. When ChatGPT describes pictures with JAWS Picture Smart AI, as we discussed in last week’s Bridges JAWS Picture Smart AI Feature Transition Tip, it is responding to visual images with human-like text.

But that’s only one side of its communication potential. It’s just as important to recognize that ChatGPT can also understand and respond to human communication, both spoken and written. So, true to its name, we can have a “chat” with ChatGPT.

How can ChatGPT Be Used?

Travel planning

ChatGPT can do a seemingly endless number of tasks, but it seems to be best at tasks involving writing or getting information. For example, when Bridges Project Coordinator Chris Nusbaum needed to make last-minute travel arrangements recently to attend the memorial service of a friend, he entered the address of the memorial service into ChatGPT and asked for affordable hotels nearby. It responded with ten hotels with affordable rates and positive reviews within a short distance of the location.

This is where a combination of tools came in: While ChatGPT could find the hotel, it could not make the reservation, and the prices it showed did not necessarily reflect discounts or sales. So Chris took the ChatGPT leads to Expedia, where he had points, and he used that app to book the reservation. But ChatGPT provided a good start at a stressful time.

Getting a head start on research and gathering background information

In another good example, Chris needed to make an instructional presentation for one of his assistive technology students. This was new territory for him, so he used ChatGPT to help create both his “lesson plan” and guided notes for the student to fill in using her Braille display. For another student, he asked ChatGPT for fun writing prompts that would help the student practice his typing. The results were more interesting than most of the prompts Chris has come up with on the fly!

ChatGPT Pro Tips

  1. Remember that a “chat” with ChatGPT is like having a conversation. If a prompt didn’t give you what you need, send a new prompt rephrasing or clarifying it.
  2. If you use ChatGPT to write something that you will later publish or send to other people, it’s always a good idea to save what ChatGPT gives you and edit it to make it your own. You may want to modify it anyway, and AI writing can sometimes sound a little stilted, though it’s getting better and better.
  3. Note from Chris: In addition to reviewing the information for accuracy, I review for voice and tone. Even if I like what ChatGPT said, most of the things ChatGPT writes were obviously not written by me; they just don’t sound like me! It’s important to keep your own voice in your writing, so review and edit – and make sure that it is really yours.
  4. When writing a prompt, be as descriptive as you can so you can get the best information. This is why Chris used the address as a landmark when he was looking for a hotel instead of simply telling it the city.

Experience Chris and ChatGPT In Action!

In this ChatGPT in Action video on the Bridges YouTube channel, Chris demonstrates ChatGPT in several situations. He also gives some tips on writing prompts and walks through the accessibility of the iOS app. Contact our Helpdesk anytime with any questions about how to use ChatGPT or a one-on-one chat with our team! Here’s a link to the ChatGPT In Action Transcript.

Happy “chatting”!

We Are Here to Help

If you need help experimenting with Picture Smart or just want to share your latest discovery, contact our free Bridges Helpdesk anytime!

We encourage all who want to make the most efficient use of ChatGPT to give it a try. If you have questions or need a one-on-one training session, contact our free Bridges Helpdesk anytime.

Please check out the Bridges Technical Assistance Center Resource Library today!

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Bridges Technical Assistance Center’s Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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