Freedom Scientific Workshops, Travel Info, and FAQs

Freedom Scientific offers instructor-led workshops for our software products, both on location and at our Saint Petersburg headquarters. Use our workshops to teach your trainers, key personnel, employees, or yourself how to effectively use our products. Our training workshops have no more than 10 or 12 students per class for a low teacher-to-student ratio that keeps the interaction between teacher and students high.

Upcoming Workshops

We conduct hands-on training workshops in cities throughout the United States. These workshops can be held at the Freedom Scientific office in Florida, at commercial training facilities in various cities, or at your location.

ZoomText University, May 24 & 25, Connecticut

  • When: Wednesday and Thursday, May 24 & 25, 2017
  • Where: Hartford, CT
  • What: ZoomText University
  • Times: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

If you are a teacher that needs to know how to use the latest screen magnification technology, an IT professional that needs to assist low vision clients, a student or current ZoomText customer who needs to know how to get the most out of ZoomText 11, then this hands-on training is just for you.

VFO and The NEAT Center at Oak Hill are proud to announce ZoomText 11 training in Hartford on May 24 and 25, 2017. The training will be located at the following address:

The NEAT Center at Oak Hill
33 Coventry Street
Hartford, CT 06112

Unlike other training courses that can cost up to $1,500 or more, ZoomText University training is only $550 per student for a two day class! VFO accepts most major credit cards, checks, money orders, and almost all state authorizations.

To sign up for the training, please contact the VFO Training Department by phone at 800.444.4443 extension 1016 or 1021 or by e-mail at VFO training.

For directions to the training location, please call 860-286-3100.

Space is limited, so sign up soon!

Quick Links on this Page

Online Learning
Workshop Descriptions
Course Fee
Travel and Hotel Information
Participant FAQs

Online Learning

Online learning is now available from the Freedom Scientific Training Department. Learn to use JAWS, ZoomText, and more from the convenience of your home or office. With travel expenses on the increase, working online to learn new skills makes even more sense than ever. Visit the Training and Certification page of the Training Department for more information on this new learning opportunity from Freedom Scientific. View the schedule and register now for upcoming Webinars.

Freedom Scientific also offers CEU (Continuing Education Units) Credits for workshop participants. Contact your Professional Board for clarification before you register to ensure that your professional organization accepts our CEUs.

NOTE: The keyboard is used to work with JAWS and Windows during all of our workshops. You are instructed in specific JAWS, ZoomText, and Windows keystrokes. However, it is required that you already have good basic keyboarding and typing skills, and a working knowledge of Windows prior to taking any of these workshops.

Workshop Descriptions

Choose the workshop name links for more detailed descriptions.

Creating Accessible Documents

Do you develop electronic documents used by either customers or employees? Do you develop documents to be used by persons who are blind or low vision? This two-day hands-on workshop teaches the fundamentals of developing accessible documents. Topics include creating accessible:

  • Microsoft Word documents and preparing them for creating accessible PDFs
  • PDF files
  • Microsoft Excel spreadsheets
  • Microsoft PowerPoint presentations

Web Page Testing with JAWS

Learn to use JAWS to test Web pages and other HTML or PDF documents for accessibility and usability. This two-day hands-on workshop is designed for Web page authors, Web masters, accessibility testers, and anyone else who is interested in learning how JAWS can be used to test and validate accessible Web page design.

Emphasis is placed on being able to use JAWS to gather information from the visual appearance of Web pages as well as from the virtual HTML environment, where some text and attributes may not be visible on the screen.

Equal emphasis is placed on testing for usability, and not just accessibility.

Supporting and Teaching Windows with JAWS

If you have not attended a JAWS® screen reading software workshop in the last few years, you'll want to get caught up with the latest features and techniques. Sign up now to enhance your skill set.

This four-day workshop uses international standards for all technical trainers of popular software and uses successful guidelines for trainer behaviors and presentation methods. The workshop starts out by teaching basic JAWS screen-reading keystrokes and quickly moves into more advanced features of JAWS.

Hands-on training covers almost everything you ever wanted to know about JAWS, including changing and setting preferences in JAWS, the JAWS Managers, DAISY training materials, menus and dialog boxes, using the Internet with JAWS, and much more.

Basics of Script Writing with JAWS

This four-day hands-on workshop is designed for users who want to learn how to begin writing scripts with JAWS. Learn how to use the Script manager to write and compile scripts. Learn the difference between scripts and functions, how to use variables and constants, speak or display messages in the virtual viewer, and more.

Script Development with JAWS

This comprehensive four-day workshop equips IT professionals, access trainers, teachers, and workforce developers with a thorough knowledge of customizing JAWS through the use of the powerful scripting language. Constantly updated to reflect the newest features in JAWS, this solutions-based workshop is designed to be a perfect continuation of training for those who have completed the Basics of Script Writing workshop or for those who already have basic script writing skills.

Learn to:

  • Create and use messages in speech, braille, and the virtual viewer
  • Create work shortcuts and make non-standard Windows applications more accessible
  • Gather information from different areas of the screen and provide it in a more efficient manner for the end-user, increasing efficiency and productivity at the job site
  • Use rectangles to set MAGic focus for magnification
  • Use Windows identifiers, hierarchy, and control ID's
  • Modify the default JAWS behavior for event functions and scripts
  • Understand considerations for writing scripts for PAC Mate Omni™
  • And much more

Participants who wish to take this workshop must first complete prerequisites for the Script Development for JAWS and MAGic workshop before attending.

Scheduled Workshops in Saint Petersburg

IMPORTANT NOTE: All workshops are subject to cancellation if we do not have a minimum number of confirmed attendees. Please let us know if you are even thinking of attending. Freedom Scientific reserves the right to cancel any workshop up to three weeks before the start of the workshop. If you are planning to attend, please make sure you have contacted the Training Department to ensure that we are counting you as a possible attendee before we make a decision to cancel a workshop. Thanks very much.

All classes begin at 9:00 AM and end each day at 4:00 PM unless otherwise specified. There are no workshops scheduled for the Saint Petersburg location currently. If you are interested in hosting or attending a workshop please contact training at for more information.

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Fill out our Workshop Registration Form, and FAX or mail the completed form to Freedom Scientific.

If you prefer to receive a registration form by e-mail, please send your training request to training at


Student substitutions can be made at any time. Cancellations must be in writing and postmarked 15 business days prior to the start date of the workshop to receive a full refund. Registrants canceling less than 15 business days prior to the start date of the workshop shall be held liable for a 50 percent cancellation fee. Registrants not in attendance for the workshop shall be subject to forfeiture of the entire course fee. Freedom Scientific reserves the right to cancel any workshop up to three weeks prior to the start date of the workshop. In the event of course cancellation, Freedom Scientific shall not be held liable for fees or penalties incurred due to changes in transportation, or other reservations made three weeks or more prior to the scheduled class.

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Course Fee

Tuition must be paid prior to attending class. Tuition includes the cost of the workshop and all workshop materials. Refreshments and lunch will be provided each day of the workshop for workshops held in Saint Petersburg. Computers will be furnished at the training center for your use during the workshop.

We offer a 5 percent discount on the course fee when two people from the same organization register together for the same workshop in Saint Petersburg. We offer a 10 percent discount on the course fee when three or more people from the same organization register together for the same workshop in Saint Petersburg. We also offer a 10 percent discount to any individual purchasing two or more workshops either back-to-back or at the same time in Saint Petersburg. These discounts may not be combined and do not apply to workshops held at other locations.

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Travel and Hotel Information

Directions to Freedom Scientific for those driving separately.

When you arrive at the airport, please call the hotel (if it provides transportation) to arrange for the hotel shuttle to pick you up.

NOTE: Due to airport security measures, drivers cannot leave their van unattended so be sure to wait in the area your hotel instructs you to meet them.

Let the hotel know which airline you arrived on and ask how long it will take for the shuttle to pick you up. After you have checked into the hotel, you should reserve a ride back to the airport on the date of your departure with the front desk.


No hotels are within walking distance. While several hotels are within a few miles of Freedom Scientific, Freedom Scientific is located near a busy highway without the benefit of sidewalks.

There are several recommended hotels in the area that provide transportation to and from Freedom Scientific. Some also provide transportation to and from Tampa International Airport.

Holiday Inn

3535 Ulmerton Road
Clearwater, FL 33762
Phone: 727-577-9100 (mention Freedom Scientific)

  • Complimentary on-the-house hot breakfast with over 15 different items to start each day off right
  • Complimentary shuttle service from and to Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg Airport 24/7 and within a 5 mile radius
  • Complimentary high-speed Internet access in guestrooms and lobby area to save time and money
  • Complimentary local phone calls and no surcharge for long distance calls made directly with a credit card, saving you money
  • A complimentary copy of USA TODAY® in the lobby each morning to provide you with information and current events
  • Priority Club Rewards program that offers you both points and miles for free travel
  • Holiday Inn welcomes service animals at no extra charge

Homewood Suites by Hilton

2233 Ulmerton Road
Clearwater, FL 33762

Includes full, hot breakfast seven days per week and lite dinner Monday through Thursday evenings. Also includes free Internet access, guest laundry on premises, "suite shop," and complimentary transportation to and from local grocery store.

Provides transportation to and from our classes, but not Tampa International Airport. For transportation to and from the airport, use SuperShuttle service. SuperShuttle has a booth located in each baggage claim area and operates 24 hours a day. To contact SuperShuttle, the phone number is 727-572-1111.
Driving directions to Homewood Suites

La Quinta Inn, Tampa Bay ClearwaterAirport

3301 Ulmerton Rd.
Clearwater, FL 33762
Phone: 727-572-7222
Or toll free: 800-531-5900

Includes complimentary continental breakfast, free local calls, outdoor heated swimming pool and jacuzzi, fitness center with sauna, coffee maker, hair dryer, iron with ironing board, voicemail, high speed wireless, and more. Refrigerator and microwave in every room. Pets welcome.

Provides transportation to and from our classes, but not Tampa International Airport. For transportation to and from the airport, use SuperShuttle service. SuperShuttle has a booth located in each baggage claim area and operates 24 hours a day. The phone number for SuperShuttle is 727-572-1111.

Driving directions to La Quinta Inn

Hampton Inn and Suites Clearwater/Saint Petersburg

4050 Ulmerton Rd.
Clearwater, FL 33762
Phone: 727-572-7456
Or toll free: 800-426-7866

  • Hot breakfast buffet
  • High-speed Internet access in guestrooms and lobby area
  • In-room movie channels along with pay-per-view premium movie choices
  • Copy of USA TODAY in the lobby each morning
  • Coffee and tea in the lobby 24 hours a day
  • Shuttle within a 5 mile radius including Freedom Scientific
  • Hilton HHonors loyalty program that offers travelers both points and miles for free travel
  • Heated outdoor pool
  • Fitness center, business center, and guest laundry

Provides transportation to and from our classes, but not Tampa International Airport. For transportation to and from the airport, use SuperShuttle service. SuperShuttle has a booth located in each baggage claim area and operates 24 hours a day. The phone number for SuperShuttle is 727-572-1111.

Other hotels are within a few miles of our facility. Should you decide to stay at another hotel, be aware that you may be responsible for transportation to and from the airport as well as to and from our classes.

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Freedom Scientific Workshop Participant FAQs

Is transportation available for special needs in the area?

All of the hotels we recommend here provide transportation to and from our workshops daily at no additional charge. Some (but not all) of them also provide free transportation to and from Tampa International Airport. If you are interested in going elsewhere in Pinellas County during your stay, there is a low-cost alternative available to qualifying persons.

A paratransit program is available here in Pinellas County. To use it you need to provide proof of certification for paratransit service in your home area. Once you have done that, you can take advantage of the Demand Response Transportation (DART) service. For more information on what documentation is needed, please contact the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) at 727-540-1873. We suggest doing this as soon as possible because the PSTA then has to send your certification to the DART provider. Since this is a process involving more than one company please try to make arrangements well in advance. Once you have given your info to the PSTA, follow up as often as you can to make sure everything is set up before you arrive.

Here are just a few of the more basic rules of using DART:

  1. You can call up to one month before your scheduled trip to make a reservation, but no later than 5:00 PM the day before your trip. DART operators are available to take reservations between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, and between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM on weekends and holidays. The reservation numbers are as follows:
  • Wheelchair Trip Reservations/Cancellation 727-585-9900
  • Demand Response Information 727-540-1800
  1. Trip availability is based on the bus route that is closest to your home address. In the case of students attending workshops, this would be the hotel you are staying at.
  2. If you need to cancel a trip you have scheduled, you should call 727-724-0440 no later than two hours before your scheduled pick-up time.
  3. You must be ready to go within five minutes after your scheduled pick-up time. For example, if you have a scheduled pick-up time of 5:00 PM, you have until 5:05 PM to be at the DART vehicle. If you are not ready after the five-minute window is up, the driver can leave you and call you in as a "no show."
  4. You have a 30 minute pick-up window. For example, if you schedule a 5:00 PM pick-up time, the DART vehicle can show up any time between 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM. So, it is always a good idea to take into account the 30 minute window.

Can I bring a notetaker to class?

If you bring a notetaker to your class, you may also wish to bring the disk drive accessory and any AC power adapters. Many of the class documents which are given to you on CD are also available in DOC, HTML, or TXT format. Having the capability to transfer these files to your notetaker will give you the opportunity to further explore some of the lessons in the evenings if you wish to do so. Each computer station in our lab has extra power strips on the table in case you need to run your notetaker with the AC power adapter. You may also bring your own personal USB storage device for transferring files and information.

Can I bring a laptop/notebook to class?

Many students ask if they can bring notebook or laptop computers to the class. The answer is "yes," and it can be helpful for note taking and for doing work at your hotel in the evenings. However, we do not conduct the class using students' personal computers. We prefer to keep everyone using the computers provided in our training lab, as all of them are set to the same operating system, same software versions, and all other settings on those computers are identical. This facilitates the training because we don't have to slow down to overcome differencesin operating systems, other versions of software, or different system settings.

Can I bring my own keyboard?

Sure thing. If you have a keyboard with the keys marked that you are accustomed to, we can put it on our computer for the duration of the class.

Does Freedom Scientific have a dress code?

Dress for class is business casual. No ties or jackets are required. Shorts are not allowed, but Friday is casual day at Freedom Scientific, and many of our staff wears blue jeans that day. The training lab sometimes gets rather cool, so you may wish to bring a sweater to class for your own comfort.

What time does class get out on Friday?

Class officially ends at 3:00 PM on Friday, but this can depend on the number of attendees in a workshop and how quickly the workshop moves along during the week.

What are class hours?

Class hours are 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM daily, with the exception of Friday as mentioned above.

Are there any hotels within walking distance?

The hotels we recommend are within one to two miles of our location. However, there are no sidewalks adjacent to the roadways, so we do not recommend walking to our headquarters. The hotels we recommend provide free transportation to and from our workshops daily.

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