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December 2001

Statement of Purpose:

The Training Work Group focuses on the training needs of those who create and use textbooks and instructional materials for students who are blind or visually impaired. The focus is to identify the necessary steps required to increase the number of qualified braille transcribers and identify the skill sets needed in training people associated with the creation and use of textbooks and instructional materials for students with visual impairments. The target audiences include among others: braille transcribers, textbook publishers, producers of specialized materials, parents, and educators.

Activity Areas - Completed:

  1. Completed a national survey that was sent to representatives in each state to gain a national overview of the numbers of trained braillists, their skill levels, and the types of tasks they typically perform.
  2. Completed charts that list training issues for the different groups who are often involved in decisions related to instructional materials or who need more information, such as administrators, parents, the students themselves, etc. This enabled the Training Work Group to work in partnership with the Communication and Collaboration Workgroup to ensure that correct and up-to-date information will be shared with everyone.
  3. Distributed survey results with analysis completed by Dr. Anne L. Corn and Dr. Rob Wall of Vanderbilt University. 
    www.tsbvi.edu/textbooks/afb/train-survey-results.htm and www.afb.org/education.asp
  4. Completed a fact sheet about the Training and Other Needs Survey. 
  5. Participated in the initial steps to develop a new occupation as a Literary Braille Textbook Transcriber.  A series of courses and curricula are being developed through the collaborative efforts among AFB, Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas, and the Texas Education Agency.  Work Group representatives participated in the initial focus group and job analysis activities.   See report. www.tsbvi.edu  and at http://www.afb.org/education.asp.

Activity Areas - Projected for 2002

  1. Continue participation in the development of a new occupation identified as Literary Braille Textbook Transcriber.
  2. Support the graphics research project by the Braille Authority of North America, Technical Committee on Tactile Graphics and the Canadian Braille Authority.
  3. Support passage of federal legislation:  Instructional Materials Accessibility Act (IMAA) of 2002.
  4. Participate in the development of the AFB Solutions Forum's national training and web-based instructional project to train existing braille transcribers to use publishers' electronic files.
  5. Participate with the AFB Joint Technology Task Force (Electronic Files/Research and Development Work Group) in developing a training workshop that will assist publishers and their vendors in their use of NISO/XML tag sets.
  6. Support alternative instructional options to the National Library Service's braillist training program.
  7. Participate in policy papers for the braille textbook trancscriber profession.

Activities - Future

  1. Support implementation of the Instructional Materials Accessibility Act of 2002 by assisting states and/or local education agencies to develop the required "statewide plan designed to ensure that instructional materials required for classroom use are made available in specialized formats..."
  2. Support states and/or local education agencies access to the proposed Capacity Building Grants as identified in the Instructional Materials Accessibility Act of 2002.
  3. Support development of training programs in the use of the projected NISO/XML file format standards for production of materials in specialized formats, which is being introduced through the IMAA 2002.
  4. Support development of training programs in the use of new software developed to efficiently use the new file format standards for production of materials in specialized formats.