Outreach Technology

News From TSBVI Technology

Computer Programming Camp for TVIs

For the fourth year now, the Washington State School for the Blind will host a workshop on teaching computer science to students with visual impairments called the “Experience Programming in Quorum Workshop” (aka EPIQ Workshop). The workshop will be held on July 17-23, 2014

As part of the workshop, you will learn programming basics in a Java-based programming language called Quorum. The inventor of the language, Dr. Andy Stefik, will lead the workshop and teach you how to use Quorum to create dynamic websites with your students. The platform, developed by Dr. Stefik, is 100% accessible to all students, including those with visual impairments and blindness.

The language is currently being taught at the Alabama School for the Blind, the Washington State School for the Blind, and the Maryland School for the Blind along with many smaller sites around the country to students with visual impairments. The language and the curriculum developed by Dr. Stefik and his colleagues is also being used by middle and high schools across the nation because of the simplicity of the language.

We would love to have any interested TVIs again join us this summer in Vancouver, Washington. Registration, housing and most meals are free to TVIs. Financial assistance for travel will be provided as funds are available.

If more information about the workshop and the application, please go to Quorum TVI Camp

Scholarships for Space Camp

I am very excited to tell you about this amazing opportunity for students throughout the world.  In cooperation with Space Camp and SCIVIS, the St. Louis Lighthouse for the Blind is offering full scholarships and transportation assistance to children of unique cultural diversity to attend SCIVIS 2014.
The link below will give you the details of the scholarship program.

 Please send this out to all of your listserves and fellow professionals around the world.  SCIVIS 2014, our 25th Anniversary, should prove to be an exciting year!

 Dan Oates, Coordinator

Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS)

Blind advocates: Hollywood lobbying threatens deal for accessible books

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.”

Learn about YouDescribe – Free Audio Description Tool

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.

New Closed-Captioning Glasses Help Deaf Go Out To The Movies

This story is from All Tech Considered  Technology News from NPR.


 3:48 PM

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.”

NaviDys For iPad Offers Total Control Over Browser Text

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 Bringing New Accessibility Features to Free Kindle Reading Apps

Amazon Kindle press release

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:

  • Read aloud over 1.8 million titles available in the Kindle Store using Apple’s VoiceOver technology. Over 300,000 of these books are exclusive to the Kindle Store. Over 900,000 books are less than $4.99; over 1.5 million are less than $9.99.
  • Seamlessly navigate within their library or within a book, with consistent title, menu and button names; navigate to a specific page within a book and sort books in the library by author or title.
  • Read character-by-character, word-by-word, line-by-line, or continuously, as well as move forward or backward in the text.
  • Search for a book within their library or search within their book and navigate to specific text.
  • Add and delete notes, bookmarks, and highlights.
  • Use customer-favorite features like X-Ray, End Actions and sharing on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Look up words in the dictionary and Wikipedia.
  • Customize the reading experience including changing the font, text size, background color, margin, and brightness.
  • Use iOS accessibility features like Zoom, Assistive Touch, and Stereo to Mono, as well as peripheral braille displays.