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by Jim Allan, Presented at Texas Focus, June 1999

Textbooks (5 types)

  • Paper
  • Audio Tape
  • MultiMedia CD-ROM
  • Internet/Web delivered
  • Hybrid Textbooks & Future Developments

Paper Based Textbooks

  • must be converted into braille or large print
    • disks from textbook publishers
    • clean up and format for braille production
    • delivery to student
  • science, math, and other non-literary subjects have trouble with timely delivery
    • mostly transcribed by hand
    • shortage of specialty braille code transcribers
  • Very bulky, cumbersome, etc., etc....


  • Publishers slowly changing production software that allows easier (more useful) export for braille files
    • clean up and format takes less time
  • Publishers beginning to use special tools for developing non-literary subjects
    • less transcribing by hand (more automation)
    • faster delivery of books to students
  • Publishers beginning to publish in 2 or 3 media types (paper, CD, and Web)
    • cheap and more efficient to develop book once and publish in many media types
    • standardize tools and tagging
    • easier more efficient export for braille in literary and non-literary subjects

Audio Tape Textbooks

  • delivered on 4-track cassette
    • need a special player
    • difficult to search for section
    • difficult to jump between sections
    • others...


MultiMedia/CD-ROM Textbooks

  • Lots of graphics and sound
  • Generally, INACCESSIBLE via keyboard commands, speech or braille output
  • Usually work with Screen Enlargement software
  • Becoming more prevalent in Texas (40% of recent math adoptions were software/multimedia titles)


Internet/Web Delivered Textbooks

  • Usually work on all computers
  • Easy to update and keep current
  • Students can access from home
  • Varying degrees of accessibility
  • Becoming more prevalent in Texas


Hybrid Textbooks & Future Developments

  • Combination of paper, CD-ROM, Internet
  • Distance Education
  • See above accessibility considerations for different media