ATU179 – Accessible Textbooks part 1 – Happy Halloween Steve Jobs role

first_imgPodcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Show notes:Happy Halloween!Daniel McNulty – PATINS Project State Director [email protected] | links from Daniel: www.cast.orgPhotographed memories come to life for the blind thanks to a 3D printer : T-Lounge : Tech Times of Parkinson’s disease app is diagnosed with the illness | Society | The Observer Jobs Made The iPhone Easier To Use For Deaf People – Business Insider Accessibility Webinar: A11y- Web Accessibility – Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads Network Webinar Series: C4ATX – Unlocking Communication in the Severely Impaired Child – Thurs Nov 6 at 3:00 PM EST Words with Friends Free –——————————Listen 24/7 at www.AssistiveTechnologyRadio.comIf you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook:——-transcript follows ——-DANIEL MCNULTY: Hi, this is Daniel McNulty, state director of the PATINS Project in the Indiana center for accessible materials, and this is your Assistive Technology Update.[Spooky Sounds]WADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology, designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Welcome to episode number 179 of assistive technology update, scheduled to be released on October 31, Halloween, of 2014.Okay, I can’t maintain that echoey voice forever. However, I wanted to let you know that we’re going to do something a little bit different today. Our guest is Daniel McNulty and we’re going to talk about accessible textbooks and some of the things that have been related to that.One of the differences you might notice in the show today is instead of our regular camera effect —[Camera Shutter]— we’ve invited our little ghouly buddy to indicate the difference between the news segments. He sounds like this.[Growl]And some of the stories you will hear Ghouly differentiate a 3D printing photographic memory system for folks were blind or visually impaired; how Steve Jobs made the iPhone easier to use for folks who are deaf or hard of hearing; a free webinar on web accessibility; and how the creator of a Parkinson’s app was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.We hope you’ll check out her website at, join us on Twitter at INDATA Project, or give us some feedback on our listener line. The number is 317-721-7124.I’m reading an article from tech times that talks about how 3D printers are being used to how people who are blind or visually impaired experience memories. The point that they make in the beginning of the article is that people take photographs. They take selfies, for example, to help commemorate point in time and to remember. For people who are blind or visually impaired, they don’t have the opportunity. So there’s a company called 3D Pirates — or Pirate 3D. They’ve got a 3D printer called the buccaneer. They have an ad that’s fascinating way they take 3D scenarios and they print them out for people who are blind or visually impaired. One of them is a film maker and they created an area, a scene, in the movie that he made that involves a table. And another is a woman who is blind who sees a 3D image of herself wearing a hat earlier in time. Listen to this quick excerpt.>> I remember this hat.>> There was a table in the foreground. This is it.WADE WINGLER: So frankly, I had never thought about the difference between how people who are sighted in people who are blind use photographs to conjure up memories and relive some of those moments. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes. Check out this video. Is fascinating and very emotional really and talks about how people who are blind are using this 3D printer to create some very interesting memorable objects.I’m looking at an article in the Guardian which is a UK-based newspaper. The headline gives me a little bit of a mixed emotion. Headline reads, “The creator of Parkinson’s disease app is diagnosed with illness.” This story talks about Roger Eglin who is a computer expert and app developer who was working on an app for people with Parkinson’s disease. The thing that he was focusing on with speech volume and the idea that folks with Parkinson’s have a hard time speaking loud enough to overcome background noise. This app is designed to help people with Parkinson’s monitor the level of the speech in practice so that they keep their speech levels loud enough to overcome some of the background noise in a situation.Interesting enough, as he was doing research to develop this app and learn more about Parkinson’s, he started to recognize some of the symptoms and himself. They talk about shaking up thumbs that was the thing that keys him in. As part of that, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s just before the app was released in August 2013. Indicates that he got a good attitude and this is causing him to focus more on the app development and be more aware of Parkinson’s and how this technology might be useful. An interesting turn of events that this gentleman working on something to help folks with Parkinson’s was diagnosed as part of that process. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to the Guardian and you can read more about Roger Eglin and his experience was Parkinson’s and the app.I’m looking at a story here on The headline reads, “The story of how Steve Jobs helped make the iPhone easier to use for deaf people.” Interesting little story here. I know that Steve Jobs is no longer with us. I’m sure that’s why this information is being talked about. Apparently added Tampa Bay Business 100 awards, Sean Ballinger, who is the CEO of Visual Relays Services, talked about how he originally reached out to Steve Jobs. He just simply fired off an email to [email protected], not knowing whether or not that was the right address. He was contacted by somebody a few days later from Apple saying I don’t know why, but I’ve been told to help you.He reports that that is one of the reasons that FaceTime was created the way it was, as such a tool to help people who are deaf and use sign language to be able to very easily communicate. And then when Apple announced FaceTime, they actually had somebody who is deaf using sign language as one of the use cases that they had in their ad related to the forks FaceTime announcements. Interesting article that talks about the fact that Apple has done a great job of making their products more accessible to people with Disabilities and provides more story and background about this particular situation. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to the business article and you can learn more about how Steve Jobs helped to make the iPhone work better for people who are deaf.Are you interested in web development and accessibility? Are you a user of assistive technology who would like to know more about how to make websites more accessible? Here at the INDATA Project, we are thrilled to announce that we are sponsoring Dennis Lembree who is the author of Web Acts and very well known in the web accessibility community. He is going to be doing a webinar for us. It’s going to be held on Wednesday, December 10, from 11 AM to 4 PM Eastern time. There’s no cost to attend. We’re going to talk about basic through advanced levels of accessibility techniques. We are going to talk about content structure, forms, tables, CSS gotchas, area, and other ways to make sure that your website is more accessible. Again, there is no cost. It’s going to be on Wednesday, December 10 of 2014 at 11 AM.If you’re interested in registering and being a part of that day, take your web browser over to Check our show notes. We’ll have a link there. We hope you’ll register and join us. It’s going to be a fascinating day of some very great and technical information about how to make those websites more accessible.Are you a speech therapist or an educator who works with children with communication challenges? Our friends over at Tools for Life are doing webinar. Is going to be on Thursday, November 6, at 3 PM to 4 PM Eastern Time. Mickey Rosner is a speech pathologist and an ATP with children’s healthcare of Atlanta. They’re going to focus on strategies to help parents, teachers, and therapist who help kids with disabilities learn to communicate. They’re going to talk about strategies with kids with multiple impairments, with low commission, and present unique physical limitations. It’s all about basic communication and getting those kids started. Is no cost for the webinar and I’m going to pop a link in the show notes. If you’re available on November 6 at 3 o’clock in the afternoon Eastern Time, make sure you join the folks at Tools for Life.Each week, one of our partners tells what’s happening in the ever-changing world of apps, so here’s an app worth mentioning.>> This is Amy Barry with BridgingApps, and this is an app worth mentioning. Today’s app is called Word with Friends HD free. This app is a fun, interactive crossword app similar to scrabble. Users will learn the value of having a strong vocabulary and build spelling skills. This app is also great for problem-solving, teaching digital citizenship, and social interaction. We recommend Words with Friends for users over the age of 13 due to the unfiltered open chat. Teens and young users should be monitored and encouraged only play with people they know in real life.Gameplay involves making words out of seven letter tiles and placing them on a grid gameboard. Each tile has its own point value. Users take turns with another player on the same device or online and continue to draw letter tiles and build words, crossword style, until one of the players use all his or her tiles. The point values of the tiles are automatically computed, and the user with the highest number of points wins.We try out the Words with Friends app with users between the ages of 10 and 65. The app was highly engaging and a huge hit. Everyone liked being able to play with friends and family. A favorite feature is having a limited time to play with. Older adults preferred playing this app on an iPad due to the larger letter tiles. Notes, the free app version does display a lot of annoying ads. The upgrade costs $9.99 and eliminates the ads.The Words with Friends app is free at the iTunes and Google Play store. The app can be used on iOS and Android devices. For more information on this app and others like it, visit WINGLER: I’m really excited today to have a third time guest on the show. Daniel McNulty is my friend and the state director of the PATINS Project here in Indiana. We’re going to talk today about accessibility and text books and e-books and how a student with a disability gets access to a textbook if they need it in an accessible format. First, Daniel, thank you for taking time out of your day to chat with us.DANIEL MCNULTY: My pleasure.WADE WINGLER: Daniel, I know that I’m pretty familiar with PATINS and what you guys do, but for my audience, especially my audience outside of the US who isn’t familiar with the PATINS Project, can you give us a quick overview of PATINS?DANIEL MCNULTY: Absolutely. The PATINS Project has been around for about 19 years and the state of Indiana. We started as a discretionary grant and we have since evolved into what’s called a sole-source provider of assistive technology and accessible instructional material. We have five regional sites around the state, plus a sixth site that just does accessible instructional materials. Throughout those regional sites, we loan assistive technology out. We do a lot of consultation. We do a lot of professional development and technical assistance and technical training, in addition to sending out the actual accessible instructional materials, which will talk about later.That’s officially what we do. We do it with a relatively small staff of about 50 folks and some of those 15 people are part-time.WADE WINGLER: A lot of my listeners are familiar with the INDATA Project here in Indiana and the other tech act projects around the state. One of the questions that I get, especially here in Indiana, is what’s the difference between INDATA and PATINS. I think it might be worth mentioning that throughout the country, the tech act projects are charged with so that everybody. The PATINS Project is limited specifically to K-12 students, isn’t that right?DANIEL MCNULTY: That’s correct. We just serve the K-12 public school population in Indiana.WADE WINGLER: Okay. So the topic I want to get to today is about textbooks. Textbooks have been part of the K-12 educational experience as far back as I can remember and probably many generations before that’s. Having accessible textbooks is something that probably fairly recent in terms of the big picture of the history of education. I know that I experienced the situation and that many of our listeners do as well. Kids with disabilities might not have the ability to access a standard textbook. Can you take me to school a little bit, pun fully intended, about how parents or teachers or students with disabilities go about getting accessible textbooks for those kids?DANIEL MCNULTY: Absolutely. It would be my pleasure. To back up to something that you just said, it’s kind of astounding when you think about the fact that this whole accessible textbook, the idea of an accessible textbook, is really fairly relatively new. Why are we just now realizing that kids actually need to be able to access their textbooks if we want them to be learning from them? It’s kind of amazing.Nonetheless, we are moving forward. So to access accessible textbooks, we have to start by thinking about what the barriers are that the student is having between them and excess of that material. There could be lots of different barriers. Depending on what the barrier is, it’s going to guide us in the direction of a certain format. Where I’m going with this is a textbook in one format, regardless of what format we pick, if it’s in one format, it’s not ideal. So if it’s just in a printed format for example, is not accessible to someone who can’t see it. So we may need to have that in an audio version or a digital text version that can be read out loud.So when we think along those lines and we go to the federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, we’re talking about four formats that are specifically listed in IDEA. Those formats are braille, audio, large print, or digital text. Now, for your audience is listening in Indiana, Indiana’s Article 7 which is our special at rules, adds four additional formats. Those are digital video, captioning, tactile graphics, and audio descriptions.So we have to — and I like to always refer back to the set framework from Joy Zavala. So when we’re talking about this set framework, we’re talking about the student first and then the particular environments that the student is in and then the particular task that the student trying to accomplish. And then very last, we talk about the tools. That sort of applies to not only the tools we are talking about assistive technology, but also to accessible instructional materials. So we look at the student, where they are, and where we want to assess them on and then we consider which formats might be best for them.It may be the case that the student may need braille for half their day and for the other half of the day they need the same textbook and audio. For example, maybe they prefer to use and are better with braille in the classroom, but then maybe they have an hour or two after school or they have a long bus ride home or at home, braille just isn’t the best option for whatever reason. Maybe the books are heavy in the student can’t carry them that easily. So an additional formats, and additional version perhaps an audio might be a great accompaniment. It may be multiple formats.So in the state of Indiana, we have this great center called the Indiana Center for Accessible Materials. That is the sixth PATINS site. So we have these five sites that do a lot of great technical assistance. They loan out assistive technology, a lot of professional development. The sixth site and Jasper, Indiana, that just houses and delivers all of the accessible instructional materials to Indiana’s public K-12 schools.So that’s where all of the materials come from. But there’s a few steps that happen before that and if you stuff that happened after that. So we can talk about those in a couple of different ways, but I’ll let you guide with your next question.WADE WINGLER: Absolutely. I think is probably worth saying that although we’re talking about the Indiana specific situation, something very similar happens in other states here in the US, right?DANIEL MCNULTY: Yes and no. There something called NIMAS. This is a federal mandate. It’s a technical standard that basically says for every printed textbook, there has to be a standardized, accessible, digital version of the textbook. That’s on the federal level. From that perspective, there is something similar in each of the states in the United States. However, each day goes about it differently. There are a few states have something similar to ours, but I would say a lot of other states go about it slightly differently by naming a national AMP, an Accessible Media Producer, rather than housing it in-state.So there are some definite advantages to the way we do it in Indiana. It could be considered more work for us, but in the long run, I think it allows us to provide a more individualized and specialized service delivery to individual student.So to answer your question, there is something that exists in all states. The states have all opted into NIMAS. But exactly what it looks like could be complete different. But there is a resource if folks are interested, if your listeners are interested, on If you just go to NIMAS at Cast, there is a great link that takes you directly to each of the states resource centers for NIMAS.WADE WINGLER: Excellent. I’ll pop a link in the show notes over to the cast website the folks can find that directly. So under the assumption that there may be some variation from state to state, let’s say I’m a teacher and a classroom and I’ve got a kid here who I know that needs some accessible textbooks. What am I going to do?DANIEL MCNULTY: This is where it starts to get turkey. We’ve got this great center where all of these materials come from and we got the support that happens at the other five sites in Indiana. But then before we get to that, there’s this whole pace of, okay, the student is not succeeding in class the way we think they should. We’ve got to to the point of maybe it’s because they are not accessing the materials the way they should.I’ll start with the way it should happen everywhere because this is a federal law. It’s all based on copyright. It’s illegal to take material of any sort, whether it’s printed material or a photograph or anything that’s created, and alter the format of it without written permission of the owner. So if we take that to the educational level, if we take a textbook, whether it’s in printed format or digital format or any other format, and we alter the format of it without permission, technically we’re breaking copyrights.This whole NIMAS mandate is really an exception to the copyright law. What it is based on is this 1931 act that says “An act to provide books for the adult blind.” What that means for us in education is essentially not all students qualify for these accessible materials. People can get caught up in that part that I just mentioned that not all students qualify. So what the tendency is for folks to start with that point they want to say let’s see if they even qualify and then will decide how to move forward. But I want to start right there and caution folks do not start with the qualifying piece. Start with the piece that says would they benefit from it. Would they benefit from accessible materials? If the answer is yes to that, there we can find ways to make it happen. Even if they end up not being a student who qualifies for NIMAS files, there are lots of other potential avenues that we can go down to get those materials. I paid for a student to ever not get what they need because they don’t qualify based on an act from 1931. I want to make that caution upfront.So in the state of Indiana, we look at the student, and in a case conference and decide is the student just not accessing the materials the way we think they should. We played around a little bit with letting them listen to some text to speech. Because in the state of Indiana, every state has free text to speech available to send home to students as well. Maybe we’ve played around with it a little bit and that might be the way to go. At that point, what really should happen is a systematic plan for collecting some data. So let’s compare how the student does with reading a printed textbook himself versus having a teacher read it versus having a computer read it versus having an iPad read it. Then we reconvene as a case conference and decide they definitely do better when the iPad leads to the student.Then what we look at are specific features that are needed. So the student needs to be able to adjust the rate of speaking, maybe they need to be able to see the tax been highlighted as it’s been read to them, that sort of thing. So then the next step in the process is once we know the materials that they need or would probably do better with, and how do we get them? And we get to the point of to the qualify for NIMAS files? If they do, there’s tons of resources on our website for that purpose. I realize they can be a little bit overwhelming, so there’s also three of my staff at the ICAM who are more than happy to take anybody’s hand and walked into the process. So don’t ever hesitate to contact them. Again, most states have somebody similar was willing to help you with that.So to qualify, according to the federal law, they have to be a student who’s blind or has low vision or physical impairment or they have a specific learning disability that is of an organic dysfunction. So it’s medical in nature. So I medical doctor’s signature basically on that is what’s required. So I’ve got some of those things on file already for a student who’s blind or has a significant vision impairments. Those medical pieces are already on file. For some of the other students that may not be on file for, there’s several forms on our website. Form 4, the last one, is intended to help qualify those students who possibly don’t already qualify with something that’s currently on file.WADE WINGLER: So now that we’ve identified that the student is eligible to get the book and presumably find the book, is a true that we’re going to find most of the books in that list?DANIEL MCNULTY: That’s a great question. The number of books that are — let me back up. There is a federal repository in Louisville called the NIMAC. That’s a physical center in Louisville that serves as the federal repository for all of these NIMAS files. These NIMAS files are digital accessible versions of printed textbooks. Each state is authorized up to two authorized users to withdraw those files from the federal NIMAC. So in the state of Indiana, it’s the ICAM. The ICAM withdraws the files from the NIMAC and then disperse of them to the DRMs, or the Digital Rights Managers, and school districts in the state of Indiana.So when you go to the ICAM in the state of Indiana, and this is another benefit of the way we do it in Indiana versus just naming one national AMP as are authorized user. When you come to the ICAM in Indiana, the three staff members I mentioned there will search the NIMAC, the federal repository for text files, and they’ll also search every other avenue that they can find. So they’ll search some of the national AMPs, they’ll search some free resources and of the national library.To answer your question, not every book is available. But that repository is constantly growing. Let me jump back a little bit. Publishers really aren’t required to do anything with regard to accessibility. But we are in the K-12 world and in the post K-12 world we definitely are required by law to do certain things regarding accessibility. So the bridge there that I’m trying to build is between us and publishers. If you want is accessible files from publishers, we have to demand them. So we have to demand them in the way of contract language. On our website, there’s some free contract language that folks are welcome to download and use and modify. But without that bridge, without the contract language, those publishers really aren’t required to submit anything to the NIMAC.WADE WINGLER: Wait a minute. I have to jump in there. Just to make sure I understand this, the federal government requires that you, PATINS in this case, provides the accessible textbook, but there’s nothing forcing the publisher to participate?And that, folks, is the first ever cliffhanger ending for Assistive Technology Update. Join me next week when Daniel McNulty in part two of this episode will talk about the answer to that question. Our textbook publishers legally required to provide accessible textbooks? It’s a fascinating conversation. Join us next week.WADE WINGLER: Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124. Looking for show notes from today’s show? Head on over to Shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana. 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