You're reading this Bookshare Bulletin because you're a friend, volunteer or Member of Bookshare, and you know what digital accessible books are. You believe in them and you know how to download them for yourself, your students or a family member. Most likely, you also know people who don't know what digital accessible books are yet. Can you think of friends, relatives, parents, students, teachers, administrators and teachers-in-training who still need to learn about digital accessible books?
NEW Online Learning Module
Bookshare has a new online learning module called "Bookshare: Providing Accessible Materials for Students with Print Disabilities," for people who want to learn more about digital accessible books and how to use them. This module was developed by the IRIS Center for Training Enhancements housed at Vanderbilt University to help others learn about the benefits and use of digital accessible books. While it's designed for pre-service and in-service teacher training, it has tremendous value for anyone unfamiliar with accessible books.
The easy-to-use module has simple definitions, audio clips, and short movies about accessible books, assistive technology, and Bookshare. It follows the story of a general education teacher who has students with disabilities needing accommodations in his classroom. From this practical introduction, the module progresses to topics from Bookshare membership to how to find books and how to download the free software tools.
How Can You Spring into Action?
Tell a friend, parent, student or colleague about Bookshare, digital accessible books, and the new IRIS online learning module.
Request the books you need for the fall now to be sure you are ready for your students.
If you or your school are not Bookshare Members
yet, sign up now and sign up your students to ensure timely access
to required school reading, as well as good books for reading pleasure.
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DIAGRAM - Benetech Launches New Research and Development Center for Accessible Digital Images
The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs awarded Benetech, the parent organization for Bookshare, along with partners WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and the U.S. Fund for DAISY, a $5 million, five-year award to establish a new R&D Center, called DIAGRAM. DIAGRAM stands for Digital Image and Graphic Resources for Accessible Materials. This R&D collaboration, kicking off in May, will transform the production and use of accessible digital images as we know it today.
The mission of DIAGRAM is to:
Develop simple, cost-effective tools and best practices for producers of accessible instructional materials, such as publishers, and state and local education agencies to expand the field of image description and interactive exploration of graphical content.
Read the DIAGRAM press release for more information.
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Safely Protect Your Bookshare Books
Bookshare Members know that sharing logins or books is not allowed. Given our rapid growth, we thought we'd take a moment to remind you about an important policy that protects our mission, publishers' copyrights, and your access to accessible books. We take the Chafee Amendment, the exemption to the copyright law, very seriously.
Did you know that Bookshare monitors online book activity and suspends any user who violates the terms of our agreement? For example, in these days of ubiquitous storage, be careful of using any server that is not 100% private. Nor can you use a Member's account to download books for yourself. If you are a qualified Bookshare Member, you should have your own membership and not borrow someone else's. Bookshare can identify our books through our Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. Our DRM fingerprints and maintains a record of every book downloaded.
Thanks for keeping your books safe by remembering and following these important points from the membership agreement:
Only qualified Members with proof of disability as defined by law can read Bookshare books.
Sharing Bookshare books with others is not allowed.
All books are encrypted for a specific user.
If it has been a while since you signed up, you'll want to re-read the Membership agreements and the Seven Point Digital Rights Management plan.
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Noteworthy Books You May Enjoy
For Special Education Teachers -- Introduction to Special Education, 7th Edition by Naomi Chowdhuri Tyler and Deborah Deutsch Smith
Encyclopaedia Britannica -- 15 Volumes Now Available! These include The American Presidency, Earth's Changing Environment, New Views of the Solar System and many more.
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Student Spotlight - San Diego Unified School District Makes a Difference with Bookshare
In February, I had the pleasure of visiting the San Diego Unified School District and talking with their Assistive Technology (AT) team. I'd like to send special thanks to Anne Callies, AT coordinator, whose team serves 1200 students with disabilities. About 50 of these students are now Bookshare Members. This school district serves over 130K students; 10% of students require special education services of one form or another.
David's reading skills have improved and he enjoys reading adventure books in the Bookshare library!
During my visit, I met with several remarkable students! David is in 8th grade and is partially home-schooled. I also met his mom Maureen. David has a reading disability that makes it difficult for him to track words and comprehend content. He has been using Bookshare with the Kurzweil 3000 for the past year on his laptop. He noted that he has seen huge improvements in his ability to read and to comprehend information, including his rate of speed in his reading, and his enjoyment of reading. David enjoys adventure and mystery books. He can't imagine moving into high school next year without Bookshare. He also uses tools in Kurzweil like dictionary look-up, spell-check and synonym look-up, and finds these tools beneficial for completing book reports. David's mom, Maureen said that Bookshare has been a "godsend."
Raymond uses Bookshare for his high school studies and notes a big improvement in his reading skills.
At Clairemont High School, I met Raymond, a remarkable student who is blind from the Philippines. He uses Bookshare on his BrailleNote. Raymond enjoys adventure and mystery books. He finds Bookshare easy to use and loves the fact that he doesn't have to lug around big heavy Braille books. He would like more books in foreign languages and wondered if Bookshare had any music books. And the answer to that question is yes, Bookshare does have music books. Raymond hopes to go to technical school some day. He's been working with the same teacher since elementary school and she reports vast improvements in his literacy skills, especially with access to Bookshare and AT devices.
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Outreach to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), Fresno, CA
Mario Provides a Bookshare Train-the-Trainer
Workshop with IDA Fresno
Finding resources for students with print disabilities can be challenging. This is particularly true in schools and communities that are underserved due to their geographic location or income level. For communities that struggle to find quality resources, Bookshare can be a great asset. To this end, we partnered with the local International Dyslexia Association (IDA) chapter in Fresno, California to get digital accessible books and the assistive technology that reads ebooks into the hands of students with qualified print disabilities in the California Central Valley.
If you are attending the International Dyslexia Association conference in Toronto, Canada on May 8th, stop by the Bookshare booth to say hello!
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Transitions to Higher Education or the Workforce
Are you ready to make the transition from high school to college, or to the working world? Put Bookshare in your backpack! Sign up for an individual membership as soon as possible. You can even do this during the K-12 school years. Later, you can extend your learning opportunities far beyond high school or college.
When you get started with Bookshare, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of reading and learning. A Bookshare individual membership is like having an unlimited digital library card. If you know a student making a transition, please help him/her get started with a Bookshare membership.
Membership Is FREE for Students
If you, or a student you know, will be continuing on with education, Bookshare membership is free. If you take a break, you can re-register as a non-student Member. Qualified non-students pay $75 the first year ($25 for a one-time set up fee and $50 for the membership fee). After the first year, the annual fee is $50. Any time you resume your student status, your membership transfers to a free membership.
Heading off to College?
In college, you can be your own best advocate. College classes require lots of reading...from literature to research materials. Schedules are tight. With an individual membership, you'll find and download many of the books needed for your courses. If Bookshare doesn't have the books, you can request help from Bookshare to have a book added to the library. Students who use Bookshare find it easier to keep up with their reading assignments and succeed in school. And remember that Bookshare has two free online reading tools to read accessible books that can really make a big difference for you.
Joining the Work Force?
Bookshare has many accessible books that can help you with your job search and interview preparation. Try searching on these topics to find out what is available:
Disabilities and Employment
Resume and Cover Letter Writing
Choosing a Job
Starting a business
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Volunteer Outreach Beyond Students
Bookshare volunteers just launched a program to increase awareness of its online accessible library among senior citizens and veterans. Filled with the volunteer spirit that characterizes Bookshare, a small group of Bookshare volunteers will launch this project beginning by researching the best approaches and technology options.
According to the National Library of Medicine and Institutes of Health, the prevalence of blindness is expected to double between 2000 and 2020. In the U.S., there are approximately 160,000 legally blind veterans. When you factor in the number of veterans diagnosed with low vision, the number jumps to more than one million veterans.
A 2004 study conducted by the Eye Disease Prevalence Research Group, found that low vision blindness increases with age, specifically in people over 65 years old. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy are the most common eye diseases in Americans age 40 and over.
The loss of the ability to read is frightening;
however, Bookshare can help qualified individuals who cannot read standard
print continue to enjoy books and the pleasurable pastime of reading.
If you are a senior citizen or veteran, and a Bookshare Member, would
you be willing to share your Bookshare experience with us? You will
be helping us learn more about your needs and supporting this important
volunteer project. If you'd like to assist with this project, please
contact our volunteer coordinator.
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On-Site Professional Development Workshops
Did you know that Bookshare now offers on-site professional development workshops on Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) for students with print disabilities? Because so many teachers learn new technologies better when they have hands-on practice, Bookshare now offers on-site, hands-on workshops in addition to our online webinars. You can choose one or both of the workshops offered: "Aligning Assistive Technology to the Needs of the Students" and "Bookshare in Depth."
All workshops include:
A focus on the student and improving outcomes
Explanations of AIM and assistive technology in the classroom
Virtual coaching for sustained learning
We just trained 50 educators to learn how to search for and download digital books and to integrate Bookshare into their daily classroom instruction. A principal who attended this workshop said, "The workshop sessions were wonderful. My teachers are excited about using this technology!" If your district is planning to improve your use of AIM, these vendor-neutral, Bookshare-Approved workshops are a must. Request a workshop now for your school or organization!
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Upcoming Webinars and Conferences
Sign Up for Bookshare Membership Basics and Bookshare in Action at these dates/times:
Bookshare Membership Basics - Tuesday, May 4 (1:00 p.m. PT, 2:00 p.m. MT, 3:00 p.m. CT, 4:00 p.m. ET) Register now.
Bookshare in Action - Thursday, May 20 (3:00 p.m. PT, 4:00 p.m. MT, 5:00 p.m. CT, 6:00 p.m. ET) Register now.
Bookshare had a fun event at the CSUN conference. Those who came shared yummy desserts, met the dynamic Bookshare team, and heard about new developments. We played trivia and Jeopardy games, gave away Starbucks gift cards and a grand prize of an iPod nano! Everyone was impressed to hear about the rapid growth of Bookshare, including over 50 publishing partnerships and 1,200 NIMAC textbooks. Everyone agreed that starting a Bookshare fan club on Facebook is a great way to interact with Bookshare users. We'll have more fun parties at NFB and ACB, so please plan to come!
Visit Bookshare at these conferences:
CEC - April 21-24, Nashville, TN
CTEBVI - April 23-25, Los Angeles, CA
Missouri Power Up - April 26-27, Columbia, MO
TX CEC Conf - June 17-19, Irving TX
TATN - June 15-18, San Antonio, TX
NFB - July 3-8, Dallas, TX
ACB -- July 9-17, Phoenix, AZ
AHEAD - July 13-17, Denver, CO
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News & Events
Radio Disability News Interview with V.P. and General Manager, Betsy Beaumon
Betsy Beaumon was interviewed by Monica Wharton for the Disability
News Radio Talk Show. Listen
to Betsy's radio interview.
Happy spring time!
From the Bookshare Team
P.S. We now have over 1000 Facebook fans and hundreds of followers. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and accessible Twitter. With your help we can use these social media to reach more people.
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