Digital text and assistive technology - a marriage made in heaven? But maybe too much of the accessibility agenda is being driven by the wrong people?
RSC Scotland Tablet Devices's insight:
Here’s the challenge…the technology is there, the possibilities are there, but the people with real influence are too passive.
Digital files have been part of the publisher’s workflow since 2000 so it would be easy to conclude that every print impaired person accesses their learning through digital texts, reducing the barrier of print impairment.
Predictably, it’s not that simple because teaching is complex, publishing is complex, ignorance is rife and disabled people are too passive. Let’s unpack that.
Alistair McNaught draws on his dietary whims to ask when did it become the job of librarians to assess the accessibility of ebook platforms?
Margaret McKay's insight:
Alistair highlights the fact that library staff have been pretty passive about this up to now but he suspect it's going to change sometime soon - it only takes one learner to sue one institution for one inaccessible ebook platform and there will be a scramble for platforms with decent guidance on their accessibility features
The book is a comprehensive guide for learning providers thinking about investing in e-book technologies. It covers topics like taking advantage of the features e-books offer learners; the options available including e-readers, tablets and smartphones; the costs involved; and technical and management issues.
It also includes examples of current uses and experiences in adult learning settings, recent research and projects and innovative uses of e-book technologies
Colleen Hurren, Learning Technologist at Cumbernauld College, has been exploring the potential of using iPads for learning and teaching with students. The college chose a Book Creator app, which was eay to use, low cost and proved to be extremely popular with students.
Beauty care students made reflective records of their work placement in Malta and an instructive book for hair design. The Book Creator app is also suitable for learners with learning difficulties and for those who find technology challenging. Join in the chat with Colleen at 12.30 to discover other ways to use this software in FE to create multi-sensory, interactive ebooks.
In this case study Lorraine Cochrane describes the work she has been involved in using iPads and eBook creators with students with learning difficulties at South Lanarkshire College.
Lorraine works with numerous groups on an outreach basis at day centres supported by the College. She was keen to incorporate the use of iPads and iOS apps into the work she was doing with learners as a way of making learning experiences more active and participative and in addition she was keen to incorporate technology that was mobile and could be used in different environments.
The library survey was conducted between January and April 2011 by JISC Techdis and endorsed by the Right to Read Alliance. An online questionnaire was devised and promoted to higher education (HE) librarians through the Higher Education Academy subject centre networks and a number of library lists, including those with specific disability interests such as CLAUD and the Open Rose Group in Yorkshire.
For many learners, course materials in standard print format are difficult to use. Getting these in alternative formats could make a big difference but how do you find out what the options are? This guide seeks to provide an overview of the alternative formats available and how you can create them.
Guidance from the Alt Format service at the University of Dundee.
The basic process of creating an alternatively formatted document is to extract text from existing document(s) ie e-books, PDF’s or printed material, then to copy this into a Microsoft Word document and present this in a structured way.
Through JISC’s ebook for FE project, an opportunity arose to supply key online resources for Hair and Beauty departments, making it the ideal time to work with staff to train them in their use.
The staff of this department were keen to undertake training to utilise this technology, so a series of group training sessions were held with Learning Hub staff delivering the sessions. Since these sessions, the uptake among department staff has been remarkably high and there has been a subsequent considerable drop in hard copy resources purchased for this area.
e-Books do offer substantial potential for a wide range of users but this field is currently immature and there can be unexpected surprises – for example tutors and librarians may find that whilst the files are accessible the e-books may not be.