Instructional Materials Designed to Work for Everyone
It is encouraging to see new companies partnering with educational publishers to create accessible instructional materials that are innovative and accessible to all learners right from the start. Examples are provided at the bottom of this page. We have also been encouraged by efforts to create Open Education Resources that are fully accessible although much work remains to be done in this area.
One new important initiative of note is the Enabling Technologies Network (http://www.editeur.org/109/Enabling-Technologies-Framework/) which is a three-year project funded by WIPO and endorsed by the Stakeholders Platform of WIPO. Its goal is to support the development of mainstream publishing processes that are capable of delivering digital publications that are fully accessible to individuals with reading and print disabilities. The target is to produce products that are usable by everyone.
The initial focus of this work has been to develop best practice guidelines for publishers to use in their production process and the technologies selected are considered global rather than localized (e.g. ONIX, ePUB, and DAISY). The new guidelines document, Accessible Publishing, Best Practice Guidelines for Publishers is available in Word, HTML, and PDF formats from the link EDItEUR Collaborations Enabling Technologies Framework.
The National Center on AIM strongly supports the development and implementation of a market model for preparing and delivering specialized formats of instructional materials to schools. We understand that a number of publishers are moving in this direction, and we applaud those efforts. In addition to providing opportunities for schools to purchase specialized-format instructional materials for students with print disabilities, once a publisher owns electronic rights to all of a product’s text and images, that publisher will be able to sell resulting specialized formats to schools for any student that may need or prefer such formats.
We estimate that approximately 5% of the K–12 student population qualifies for specialized formats under the Chafee Amendment to copyright law. This includes students who are blind, have low vision, have physical challenges that prevent holding a book and turning its pages, and students with reading-related learning disabilities resulting from organic dysfunction. There are additional qualifications related to IDEA and certifications.
While developing a market model, it will be important to keep the following in mind:
- In order to participate in adoptions and local district purchases, a publisher will quite likely still be asked to prepare and submit valid NIMAS filesets to the NIMAC. We suspect that high-quality products offered directly by publishers will do well compared with other options, but it seems unlikely that most publishers will be able to offer all of the current specialized formats (high-quality Braille or tactile graphics, for example) that would normally be prepared by highly qualified accessible media producers (AMPs).
- Should a publisher decide to offer a full suite of specialized formats, we recommend that the following be made available: DAISY Talking Book (preferably DTB3), accessible HTML, large print, and audio (high-quality TTS to MP3 or human recorded voice). We would expect that third-party experts would be required to produce high-quality Braille and tactile graphics.
- Standards for each format should be carefully studied, and versions with images should include alternative text and long descriptions with those images for an HTML output and alternative text and producer notes for a DAISY output. Content of long descriptions and producer notes would be identical. Many, but not all, images will require long descriptions or producer notes.
- Specialized formats should be tested with appropriate players and reviewed by experts who have experience acquiring and using specialized formats with K-12 students.
Pearson HTML Books offer the same text and images as their print format versions yet in accessible HTML (both print and HTML versions are offered for the same price). Pearson, in utilizing NIMAS source files for their HTML books, has created content that can be more easily converted to accessible formats such as Braille and text-to-speech. Pearson issued 13 high school level titles in 2009 and is slated to add more in January 2010. Find out more by visiting CAST's UDL Spotlight on Pearson HTML Books at http://udlspotlight.wordpress.com/.
Inkling brings higher education content to iPad with interactivity, social collaboration, and simple ease-of-use. No more heavy, expensive textbooks to carry around campus. Inkling textbooks are interactive, flexible, and accessible. Download Inkling to your iPad from the App Store and try a free chapter. Then use VoiceOver for text to speech, highlighting, and navigation.
Visit the Inkling web site and register obtain sample chapters for the iPad at http://www.inkling.com/.
Also see http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/inkling/id379351586?mt=8 for a description and iPad screenshots.
Learn more about Inkling accessibility at http://www.inkling.com/blog/education-everyone/.
CourseSmart (www.coursesmart.com) offers downloadable and online versions of higher education textbooks and resources. Both offer convenience, accessibility, and useful tools for more effective studying.
- Pages look identical to print textbook with same pagination
- Easy navigation with linked table of contents
- Search specific topics within an eTextbook, a chapter, or a page
- Take notes and highlight text
- Copy and paste text
- Print pages, share information with classmates, and more
CourseSmart accessibility: http://www.coursesmart.com/accessibility
Chegg (www.chegg.com) offers e-textbooks through an accessible e-reader that can be used on any device with an Internet connection. Fully integrated with study tools with rich textbook content for a more productive way to read, learn, and interact with books.
- Zoom functionality to support vision impaired users
- High-resolution text for easy reading
- Intuitive search and navigation with linked table of contents
- Note-taking within margins and 1-click note review
- Color-coded highlighting
- Visual bookmarking, inline dictionary, Wikipedia access, and more
Learn more about Chegg's e-reader app and e-textbooks service.