Our Summer Bulletin has so many important articles that I hope you will set aside time to follow the links and read all the great news. Please do share it with your friends and colleagues! Here are the highlights:
First, we passed the 100,000 book milestone and are already over 114,000! Please read the blog.
Summer Reading Contest
Our Bookshare summer reading contest for individual members is in full swing! You can start anytime and still win. We will select winners based on various categories and age groups. Prizes include an iPad 2, Victor Reader Stream, ClassMate Reader, MP3 players and more! Sign up now and good luck! Summer is a great time to catch up on all the great books you want to read.
Washington DC Provides Accessible Books
Lastly, you’ll want to learn about a major project in Washington DC Public Schools to provide accessible books to students with print disabilities.
District Administrator’s Top 100 Products in 2011 - Nominate Bookshare
District Administrator, a popular K-12 Magazine is asking for nominations from educators and technology advocates to identify the Top 100 Products and Services in education. We hope you will agree that Bookshare belongs in the Top 100!
If so, please nominate us as a service that makes a big difference for students and adults with print disabilities. We appreciate your support!
The approval process for the Read2Go app is taking longer than we expected. We are working closely with Apple and believe the path to approval is now clearer. Thank you for your patience. If you have not signed up to be notified when Read2Go is available, please do so now!
Bookshare Blog – Hot Topics
Are you reading the Bookshare blog? Here is the latest roundup of interesting articles. If you have a blog topic that would interest Bookshare members or one you would like to write and contribute, please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your ideas!
Books of Interest:
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Family & Member Spotlight
The DaSilva Family Participate in Bookshare/DC Public Schools Press Event
Sabrina and her parents, Monica and Lionel DaSilva at the DC Public Library.
Sabrina DaSilva attends Sharpe Health School, which is part of the Washington, DC, Public Schools system.
An asthma attack caused Sabrina to develop an eye condition and physical limitations that affects her ability to read print materials.
To accommodate her needs, the school provides a laptop computer equipped with Victor Reader Soft and switches that enable her to start, stop and pause text and through her new Bookshare membership, Sabrina can now keep up with her reading assignments in textbooks and novels.
Mr. Lionel DaSilva, Sabrina’s father said, “So far, Bookshare and the computer have opened up a new world for my daughter. Before this, she had limited access to books; now she can read on her own and turn pages forward and backward with a switch. She can also go back and review text she doesn’t understand. This is a big benefit for her.” Recently Sabrina demonstrated her use of Bookshare at a DC press event (read about it below). The book she read was the Narrative of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave.
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Congratulations Kyra Sweeney
Kyra Sweeney, a Bookshare Member from Santa Monica, CA is a five-time finalist and 2011 winner in the National Braille Challenge. Read this young champion’s story and be inspired! Kyra shares some important tips on how to prepare for the National Braille Challenge competitions, including tapping into Bookshare.
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“What Am I” Video
Don’t forget to watch our fun video ‘What Am I
’ with friends, administrators, and teachers. This catchy video and lyrics will help you learn more about the benefits of digital books. It is a great tool for in-service trainings and summer self-development. After you watch the video, jump on our Facebook
page and tell us what you learned and how you might use the video. There are many advantages to reading digital accessible books; can you name them all?
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DC Public Schools Accessible Books Program
Norma Villanueva, Program Director Special Education & Low Incidence and Dr. Richard Nyankori, Deputy Chancellor, DC Public Schools at the DC Public Martin Luther King Library.
In April, we held a press event in Washington DC at the DC Public Library (Martin Luther King), in which students and administrators from the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and officials from the Blind Rehabilitation Services Administration shared their plans for and use of Bookshare.
Parents, press, educators and students listened as DC administrators talked about their vision for improving academic equality in inclusive classrooms and lifelong learning for students through accessible books. This large urban district program is a shining example of the use of accessible books to support students with print disabilities. You can read the press release and an article about the event on the DCPS website.
And please share this great model with administrators, teachers, librarians and digital media specialists. Stay tuned for more photos and videos.
Carlos Zacharias Hilton demonstrates Bookshare using the Read:OutLoud Bookshare Edition accessible text reader.
In addition to administrator presentations, eight students from DCPS demonstrated how to download and read digital books. Each student used a different assistive technology or portable device including Read:OutLoud, a Victor Reader Stream, a BrailleNote, an MP3 player and an iPad. The crowd was very impressed with the students’ reading abilities and skills with their devices!
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The American Association of Deaf/Blind (AADB) Symposium
by Cherie Miller
Another proud moment for Bookshare is the article recently published in the AADB publication, Perspectives on how Bookshare works for the deaf-blind community, written by Liz Halperin, Bookshare's Deaf-Blind Contact and member and Kristina Cohen, Education Program Manager. Liz just presented a paper at the AADB Symposium in Ft. Mitchell, KY this week.
Perspectives, published by The Teaching Research Institute of Western Oregon University, is an international journal and free publication with articles, essays, and announcements about topics related to people who are deaf-blind. The journal serves as a discussion forum for sharing ideas for individuals, family members, teachers, service providers and professionals.
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Meet Carl Rand, DIAGRAM Center Program Manager
Carl Rand is Benetech’s DIAGRAM (Digital Image and Graphic Resources for Accessible Materials) Center Program Manager. He has extensive experience in technology project management and process improvement, and is a former secondary school science teacher. Prior to joining Bookshare, Carl worked for major corporations including CA Technologies, NetApp, Intuit, Nortel Networks, Visa International and IBM. He also taught project management courses online and in the classroom for San Jose State Professional Development and UC Irvine Extension. Carl holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BA in Marine Biology from Occidental College. Below, Carl provides updates on what’s happening with DIAGRAM today.
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DIAGRAM Program Update
The DIAGRAM Center is a 5-year project funded by the Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and is led by Betsy Beaumon, our Benetech Literacy VP and General Manager. The goal of the DIAGRAM R&D Center is to improve access to graphical content in educational materials for students with print disabilities. We collaborate with The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) at WGBH and the US Fund for DAISY to develop standards, tools and processes that will change the field around the creation and consumption of accessible graphical content.
An important first step in our work was to create a detailed survey of existing production tools and assistive technology/reading tools in order to get a baseline understanding of current support for accessible graphics and math. These tools have been researched and tested by NCAM, and will be updated over the course of the project. You can check out the survey information in our product matrices in the Research and Development section of the DIAGRAM Center website.
In order to make it more economically feasible to add descriptions to the vast number of graphics in textbooks and other educational materials, Benetech is developing a web-based image description tool. This tool makes it possible for educators, alternative media producers like Benetech, and volunteers to work from a standard web browser to interactively add image descriptions to DAISY books. Currently in its initial test phase, the tool will eventually allow for a highly scalable “crowd sourcing” approach to this work.
Lastly, standards define how future books and tools will be built, and we are engaged in a major technical standards effort related to accessible graphics. We want to ensure that not only DAISY and EPUB, the converging e-book standards, but also HTML, the standard for multi-media and web content, so critical to emerging educational tools, are all setup to allow the maximum accessibility of graphics and other rich media. Among other work, the DIAGRAM team has been instrumental in calling attention to the need for the retention of the current LONGDESC (Long Description) attribute in HTML 5, and is developing a related content model to fully take advantage of it. We are also active at many levels in the work on EPUB and DAISY, including by IDPF President and DAISY Secretary General George Kerscher, one of our core DIAGRAM partners. For more information, visit the DIAGRAM Center web site.
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Bookshare Publisher Partnerships
More than 100 publishers in the U.S. have now signed our agreement, along with over 30 publishers internationally in Canada, the U.K., Asia and India.
We signed our first French Canadian publisher, Edition Dédicaces, based in Montreal. Guy Boulianne, the publisher, is actively promoting Bookshare. He recently sent me an article about Bookshare in the newspaper La Metropole, a free newspaper distributed in Montreal and read by over 150,000 people. Check it out, all you French speakers . . . or users of Google’s translation tool!
Harlequin continues to deluge us with content, as Members who look at our daily content uploads can well attest. On particularly busy Harlequin upload days, we have received some droll correspondence from some Members who aren’t interested in reading romance. We’ve now posted several thousand Harlequin titles to the collection – including titles for teens and for Spanish-speaking readers – and are expecting many thousands more from their vast backlist of over 7,000 titles total. In addition we are getting frontlist uploads of about 150 titles per month.
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Bookshare on the Road!
American Association of the Deaf-Blind (AADB)
June 19-24 - Ft. Mitchell, KY
National Federation of the Blind Annual Convention (NFB)
July 3 - 8, 2011 - Orlando, FL
American Council of the Blind (ACB)
July 8 -16 - Reno, Nevada
Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
July 11 - 16 - Seattle, WA
Note: Bookshare will host a breakfast for university members on Thursday morning, July 16, 7:45 am in the Madrono Room at the Sheraton Hotel.
Texas CASE Summer Camp Convention (TCASE)
July 19 - 21 - Austin, TX
Rowell Family Empowerment Conference on the Coast
July 19 -21 - Fortuna, CA
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We appreciate your follows, retweets and postings on Twitter and our Facebook wall.
Please share our newsletter with people you know. Today, we are 145,000 Members strong and will soon reach 115,000 books in the collection.
Don’t forget to sign up for the summer reading contest! Have a wonderful and exciting reading journey this summer!
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