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

This story is from All Tech Considered  Technology News from NPR. by RACHEL ROOD May 12, 2013 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...
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Assistive Technology Needs for a Student with a Visual Impairment

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. http://www.csb-cde.ca.gov/technology.htm Happy reading. Patrick Van Geem, TVI Assistive...
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Change Reaction Mac OS X Game for the Blind

ChangeReaction, Draconis Entertainment's classic audio  puzzle game for the blind and visually impaired comes to  OS X with new audio, three entirely different modes of  game play, a host of new features, and a cheaper price  tag! Primarily intended for blind and visually impaired gamers,  ChangeReaction is played via the keyboard and your  ears. Navigate the game board with the arrow keys,  dropping coins on the stacks to create chains of  explosions and rack up higher and higher scores! Match  three coins of the same denomination vertically or  horizontally to trigger a chain reaction that blows up all  adjacent coins of the same value! This game has no visual  element. Use your fingers, ears, and wits to rack up the  highest scores possible! Find the game on the Mac App Store. 
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Spellgate Accessible iOS game

Three University of North Carolina computer science students created a beginning spelling game app that is totally accessible! Spellgate, a free app, is now in the app store. Zoom and VoiceOver work well with the game. They also added an option in settings so that when you use the Refresh-able Braille Device (RBD), you can turn off the picture labeling if desired so that the RBD does not spell out the picture label. (Spelling out the picture label provides the answer!) You can also mute VO and the student will have to rely on reading the RBD letters. The students will continue to work on the game next semester, so please provide your input! They plan to do some fine tuning and hope to add letter recognition (matching letters) and a way for teachers to add their own words. Click on the link for more information: http://www.ifreeware.net/download-spellgate.html In the app store, you can...
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Testing for the pH Factor in Liquids using the LabQuest (1st Version)

This is a short four-part video demonstrating how students in a science lab at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired use the LabQuest equipment from Vernier Science .  They are finding the pH factor of four liquids: distilled water, tap water, milk and vinegar. The data collection device used in the experiment is the stand-alone LabQuest-Version 1.   LabQuest 1 is the only Vernier device that “accepts” the Sci-Voice scripting software.  With Sci-Voice installed, the LabQuest 1 device is able to voice the data.  This enables the student with a visual impairment to hear the incremental changes relative to time of any experiment that is recorded by a sensor probe used in conjunction with the LabQuest device.  Discerning the change in incremental findings of substances as they occur in real time is essential to laboratory experiments and data collection.   A pH sensor is plugged into one of the...
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Free On-line Video Tutorials for Voiceover!

Watch Brian Charlson, Director of Technology at The Carroll Center as he demonstrates how to use Voiceover  screen reader on the iPhone. Thesefree tutorials focus on the use of Apple products and blind friendly apps. There is also a videoUsing Apple TV with Voiceover showing how to use the digital entertainment center device, Apple TV. All videos are captioned and audio described. Enjoy the show! VoiceOver Screen Navigation on the iPhone 4S Using Apple TV with Voiceover Identify Anything with VizWiz on the iPhone Gestures with VoiceOver on the iPhone 4S Accessing BookShare with Read2Go on Apple iOS
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Online "Hark the Sound" Game

Hark the Sound, an educational game for blind students that uses the ARROW KEYS is now available online for free.  One of their new games for young blind students is called “Save the Animals”.  The game requires the student to identify the first letter of the animal they hear then press the correct braille letter on the keyboard.  The home row keys  FDS and JKL are used to type in the braille letters.  To access the online application and game, Go to:  http://www.harkthesound.org Click on “Browse the games now” Press your right or left arrow keys until you hear “braille games”.   Press your up arrow key once.  Continue to use your right or left arrow keys until you hear “Save the animals” then press the up arrow. A wonderful way to reinforce braille with a new student.
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Using Audacity with JAWS

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use and multilingual audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to: Record live audio. Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs. Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files. Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together. Change the speed or pitch of a recording. Many teachers are using Audacity to create audio files for students to use in the classroom yet there are very few students creating audio files themselves. The students can now create their own audio files using a website with detailed instructions on how to create audio files using Audacity with JAWS. The instructions were written by David Bailes and can be found on the  Jaws Guides page of the VIP Software Guides website.
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Learning Ally Audiobook Manager

For everyone, myself included, who has tried and failed to download and transfer books from Learning Ally there are now tutorials on their website to help. The tutorials cover online bookshelf, audiobook manager and legacy audiobook manager. The tutorials are in audio podcast and text format. Learning Ally. Have a look and finally figure out how to load that book on your device or computer. Sharon Nichols Outreach Assistive Technology Consultant
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iPad for children with MIVI

The following iPad apps were chosen for a workshop with DARS Center for Learning Management. DARS is an acronym for Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. The iPad accessibility features were demonstrated as well. The workshop covered working with children who have multiple disabilities, so the apps reflect their needs. For apps specific to visually impaired users, please reference these two websites: AppleVis (www.applevis.com) and Apps for the Visually Impaired (http://appadvice.com/applists/show/apps-for-the-visually-impaired). The websites and apps listed are not the only websites or apps to explore, they are just the ones chosen for the specific workshop. Apps List I Love Fireworks and Fireworks Arcade - You can touch the screen to trigger the fireworks to go off, you can drag your finger on the screen to have the firework trail up into the sky in whatever pattern you'd like, and the longer you hold your finger on the touch screen, the bigger the firework....
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Resource for Working on Listening Skills

This website is actually designed for ESL students, but can be used with a variety of students working on listening skills. Often students are listed as auditory learners but have not worked on developing their listening skills, so this website might offer one resource.  http://www.esl-lab.com/
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