I thought I would share some links on new accessibility features on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch using the new Apple iOS7 operating system.
Both of the links lead to About Assistive Technology
Disputes between blind groups and content companies could kill copyright treaty.
From arstechnica (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/05/blind-advocates-hollywood-lobbying-threatens-deal-for-accessible-books/)
by Timothy B. Lee – May 10 2013, 8:04am CDT
Exerpt of article:
“For the last several years, negotiators at the World Intellectual Property Organization have been working on a copyright treaty that would make it easier for blind people to get accessible versions of books, like well-annotated audio books or large-print editions. But aggressive lobbying by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and other US copyright interests threatens to derail the negotiations, according to several advocates for the blind who spoke to Ars.
“The main sticking point has been whether to try to use the treaty as a vehicle for enhancing copyright protections or whether the treaty should remain clearly focused on carving out an exception to allow works to be produced in accessible formats for the blind,” said Frederic Schroeder, a blind academic who has represented the National Federation of the Blind at recent negotiations. “We don’t want this treaty to result in weaker copyright protection or strengthened copyright protection,” he said. The blind community just wants easier access to books.”
YouDescribe – You Have a Microphone…You Have YouTube…You Can Do It! How You Can Add Audio Description to Any YouTube Video
Join us for a free, forward-looking webinar on the changing world of educational video description on May 30, 2013 at 02:00 PM EDT / 01:00 PM CDT / 12:00 PM MDT / 11:00 AM PDT. This innovative webinar is hosted by the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), in collaboration with the Video Description Research and Development Center (VDRDC), and the Description Leadership Network (DLN). Register now at http://webinars.dcmp.org/.
This exciting and interactive presentation is perfect for teachers, administrators, and parents who want to learn about the latest developments in video description technology and how it can help students who are blind and visually-impaired in educational settings.
Learn about YouDescribe, the exiting new tool developed by the Video Description Research and Development Center (VDRDC). YouDescribe is a FREE tool that anyone can use to add description to YouTube videos. YouDescribe includes everything needed to create description; all you need to provide is a microphone. In addition, YouDescribe has a FREE embed-able player which can be used to include described videos on your own site. The webinar will include a review of the basic rules for creating description, as well as demonstrations on: registering as a YouDescribe user; recording descriptions with YouDescribe; playing described videos via YouDescribe; and embedding YouDescribe videos on web pages. Presented will be information for teachers on how YouDescribe can be used to improve accessibility of video for students who are blind/visually impaired, and an overview of educational resources provided by the DCMP.
The Video Description Research and Development Center (VDRDC), administered by The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, is a two-year project with the mission to develop new technologies and techniques for the annotation of online video content and improving video accessibility for students who are blind or visually-impaired. The VDRDC is funded by the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), grant number H327110005.
This Webinar is the third in a series of four to be presented during the two-year project. An archived copy of the first webinar, Bringing Video Description Into the 21st Century, is available on the registration page.
Webinar participants will have valuable opportunity to learn from and interact with VDRDC scientists and members of the Description Leadership Network – a coalition of world-class organizations involved with the practicality, policy, and technology of blindness and video accessibility. DLN members include: The American Council of the Blind (ACB), The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), Bridge Multimedia, CaptionMax, The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), Dicapta, IDEAL Group, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA), The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), Narrative Television Network (NTN), Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF), and The Accessible Planet (TAP).
CEU credit, through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP), will be available to participants.
This story is from All Tech Considered Technology News from NPR.
by RACHEL ROOD
There will be a special attraction for deaf people in theaters nationwide soon. By the end of this month, Regal Cinemas plans to have distributed closed-captioning glasses to more than 6,000 theaters across the country.
Sony Entertainment Access Glasses are sort of like 3-D glasses, but for captioning. The captions are projected onto the glasses and appear to float about 10 feet in front of the user. They also come with audio tracks that describe the action on the screen for blind people, or they can boost the audio levels of the movie for those who are hard of hearing.
Randy Smith Jr., the chief executive officer for Regal Cinemas, says he has worked for more than a decade to find a solution to this problem. He tells Arun Rath, host of weekends on All Things Considered, that it has been his goal since 1998 “to develop a technology that would allow accessibility to the deaf and blind for every show time, for every feature.”
From Cult of Mac:
Ever wish that you could change the font size in your iPad web browser? Well, with NaviDys you totally can. You can also switch up the font, and adjust letter spacing and line spacing. What is this browser? A type nerd’s dream? Well, maybe, but really it’s designed to make things easier for the visually impaired.
Double-tapping a chunk of text to zoom in works great, except that once that wrapped text hits the edge of the screen it isn’t getting any bigger – not unless you want to pan left and right just to read a sentence. Navidys brings in a host of text-based accessibility options, including one thing that might just make it my go-to browser for reading: Christian Boer’s Dyslexie font.
How much for this mobile marvel? Just $3.
Amazon today announced new accessibility features for the Kindle reading app, making it easier than ever for blind and visually impaired customers to navigate their Kindle libraries, read and interact with their books, and more. These new features are available starting today on Kindle for iOS, and accessibility enhancements will be available on additional platforms in the future.
“We’re excited to introduce these new features to our Kindle for iOS app, making it easier than ever for our blind and visually impaired customers to access the vast selection of over 1.8 million books in the Kindle Store on their iPhone or iPad,” said Dorothy Nicholls, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “With this update, we’re also making customer-favorite features—such as X-Ray, End Actions, sharing, highlighting and bookmarking—more accessible. We look forward to continuing to develop and extend our accessibility features on Kindle Fire and our other Kindle apps.”
New accessibility features of the Kindle app enable blind and visually impaired customers to:
I’m sure many people know, but in case you don’t there are iOS apps developed specifically for people who are blind or low vision. And if you are unfamiliar with the AppleVis website it is an excellent resource for iOS apps and podcasts.
I recently read the “Impatient Optimists” blog posting on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation site entitled: Introducing inBloom: Accessible, Affordable Education Technology
First I have to say that I am not “a techie”. In fact, I may be the only person that not only doesn’t have a smart phone, but doesn’t have any sort of a data plan on the cell phone that I do own… and sometimes use. However, I am married to a techie and while the knowledge doesn’t rub off, the attitude does. As a result, my beliefs in this topic can be summarized as follows:
The author, Vicki Phillips, describes the challenge schools face as they strive to personalize learning as teachers start to implement Common Core State Standards. Data and content live “in separate places and in different formats” which can inhibit integration in to the classroom environment. This challenge is called “interoperability” The intent of the partners in the inBloom initiative is tackle interoperability in a timely way and not wait for the expected 20 years the marketplace might need.
The parts about this blog that caught my attention were in the title and some of the language used throughout.
I am encouraged that the first word is “Accessible”. I am optimistic enough to think that when someone uses “accessible” we are no longer talking about PC vs Apple platforms. I am hopeful that it is assumed that all educational technology will be accessible in the near future. For example, it is well documented that students beyond those with disabilities can benefit when provided with audio-outputs.
The other section that attracted my attention, and hope, was the following quotation:
We are all committed to making it easier to personalize learning for students, and our support for inBloom is a key building block for this goal. And, as expectations rise and budgets shrink, it is imperative that scarce dollars spent on learning technologies are effective for students and teachers and affordable for schools. We are united in a common goal.
Ms. Phillips uses the phrase “personalized learning” more than once in the 6 short paragraphs of this blog. This, in conjunction with “accessible” may truly reflect a respect for students with various learning needs.
It is impossible to say how and when this very broad and very ambitious initiative will translate into individual classrooms. Yet, as I watch the development of this project I am hopeful, even optimistic that the common goal we are reaching for is this: All students can learn and that this project will be a tool to help realize that goal.
KC Dignan, PhD.
Professional Preparation Coordinator
The BrailleTouch app is now available in the US iTunes Store; free for the basic and then a purchase price to add in additional features such as text, E-mail, etc. It might be fun for students to try, especially the free version.
It is awkward feeling at first but you get used to it as all fingers represent the same dots as they would on the Perkins Brailler.
It helps to have a case on your iphone while learning to use the app so you have a surface to grip which prevents your phone from slipping out of your hand while learning to use the braille keyboard.
Just in case you are having trouble figuring out what technology is out there for a student with a visual impairment, here is a resource that could help you out while making your supervisor (or the one who has the money) nervous. It was compiled by the good folks at the California School for the Blind: Jerry Kuns, James Carreon and Adrian Amandi. It is quite an extensive list.
The file is a downloadable Word document and is listed as one of the links labeled “What’s Available in Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairment-March 2011″. It has been updated to include iOS and Mac accessibility. Of course, your student(s) may not need “everything” but this is a good reference for what type of technology is available.
Besides this resource document, included on the web page are various assistive technology topics. It is quite a wealth of information.
Patrick Van Geem, TVI
Assistive Technology Consultant
TSBVI Outreach Department