Thursday, June 25, 2009

Assessing Formats for Accessible Instructional Materials, Part Two

Matching an AIM (Accessible Instructional Materials) format (See part one for format types) with students involves more than just locating a textbook title in etext or qualifying for eligibility to acquire NIMAS files. The correct software, type of reader, text to speech voice, method of access and visual settings for those with orthopedic or low vision issues all combine to make or break the implementation of the text in an alternative format.
In Oregon, we have the Talking Book and Braille Service for our Blind and low vision students. They usually access braille formats or listen through a Braillenote or computer. They use JAWS to navigate the computer and DAISY files that can be in a braille format (.brf).
OTAP, The Oregon Technology Access Program, has begun to develop a new state recognized media provider for accessing titles for those that are not blind - but either orthopedically impaired or having an organic brain dysfunction (See part one for more on eligibility and these conditions). As a teacher or parent gets past the eligibility piece and on into the accessing of materials, you have options of using and state media providers that are recognized by NIMAC. There are other services that provide public domain texts in e formats such as and Lit2Go, etc.
As an assistive technology specialis, I am trying to develop a procedure which will help me streamline the process by which I work with teachers and IEP teams, so that we know what services we want to use for a student to access titles and what software and hardware will best serve the student to access and hear/see the text files.

What areas need to be considered in a Learning Media Assessment?
Below is a sample I have been brainstorming as a possible checklist for a Learning Media Assessment Form. It is a work in progress, but you can take it as it is and tweek it for your own use. I will hopefully have a finished and working document by the time school starts in September, and this is not an all-inclusive form - but it is a start. Let me know your thoughts and feedback. If you are familiar with the SETT method of AT Assessment, you will recognize those pieces in the sample below.

Learning Media Assessment Document
Student information:
Classroom Teacher:

Case Manager:

Student Diagnosis:

Student Objectives? IEP Goals?:

Planning AIM:
1. Has the textbook and other materials been identified that need to be accessible? List below:

2. Who is the primary contact (your staff) for materials, converted files, etc.

3. What Authorized Users are being used? Bookshare ____; RFB & D ______; Other _______

4. In what settings will the student need text to be accessed? School ____; Home ____; Other _______________;

5. What are needs for implementation/staff training?

Media Assesment:
Check the type of media this student should use:

Audio (Mp3 file only) ___

Audio (DAISY) _____

Etext for large print only ____

Etext with reader _____

Format for etext: pdf ____; txt ____; html ____; BRF ____; DAISY _____; xml _____;

Software Tool used to read etext: K3000 _____; Read Outloud ____; DSpeech ____; TopOCR _____; Wynn _____; iTunes _____;

Hardware Tool: Classmate Reader _____; Mp3 device (i.e., ipod/Zune/Etc.) _____;

Optional readers for blind users (DAISY): AMIS _____; Victor Reader _____; Dolphin _____;ZoomTextPlus _____; JAWS _____;

Hardware Tool: Braillenote _____; PacMate ______;

This is all I have so far. Take this as a start and customize it to fit your needs.
I would suggest visiting the AIM consortium area on CAST and visiting the CAST site in general for more resources.
OTAP is working on a much more extensive set of info sheets and assessment pieces, designed by Gayl Bowser. Check the OTAP site this next fall to see when they will be accessible. Also, I am teaching 2 day classess in the Portland area in August for the Oregon Assistive Technology Summer Institute. College credit will be available through Portland State University. I will be teaching a day on free and low cost print disability tools, and a day on using Access Apps tools. Check here for registration and details. The venue is about an hour from the Oregon Coast as well.

All the best to you,



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