Future Reflections Winter 2013
By adding the sense of touch, eTouch Sciences has developed a fun and exciting way for students to learn math and science more effectively. Using a haptic device, students can interact with three-dimensional objects that are displayed on the computer screen. Students can feel the shapes and textures of the parts of a plant cell, experience how much things weigh on other planets, or explore a volcano and feel the lava flow. Educational apps provide a wide range of math and science lessons that include haptic feedback, audio, and high contrast graphics.
Innovations at Bookshare
Contact: Betsy Burgess, (408) 348-5596
Bookshare, a global leader in providing accessible digital books to readers with print disabilities, is pleased to announce two innovative product additions. The Web Reader will help Bookshare members open and read books directly with a browser, without requiring them to download the book or utilize separate software. The Bookshelf will help members and sponsors organize reading for themselves or their students. For example, teachers can now place assigned K-12 reading on a Bookshelf to be downloaded later, or they can give students direct access to a book so they can log in and read using the Web Reader. Several videos on YouTube explain how to use Bookshare.org, some feature young blind students. Go to www.YouTube.com and in the Search box, type Bookshare.org. For a video specifically on using Web Reader, go to YouTube and type, Bookshare Web Reader.
Just Books Read Aloud
This website features 225 children's books read aloud as YouTube videos. Offerings include The Golden Locket, Pinkalicious School Rules, and The Screaming Mean Machine. You can search for titles by length (tiny, short, medium, or long), or by author, narrator, or category.
Tech-Ease 4 All
Tech-Ease 4 All is a collection of "how to" tutorials for the built-in accessibility options of each operating system: Universal Access in Apple's OS X and Ease of Access in Microsoft Windows. Each tutorial consists of a brief closed-captioned video, a webpage with step-by-step directions and screenshots, and a PDF document that has been tagged for screen reader access. A section of the site is dedicated to the needs of people with visual disabilities, with instructions for how to use the VoiceOver screen reader on the Mac and the built-in Narrator on Windows to access email, browse the web, and more. The site also features a section on web accessibility where visitors can learn how to create accessible webpages, PDF documents, and videos.
Making Tactile Books
Christine Moe, a teacher of the visually impaired, developed this site to promote early literacy among blind and severely visually impaired children in the preschool years and for emerging Braille readers. The site includes directions for making books, ideas for creating interesting and attractive tactile books and other materials, and links to other resources and ideas.
Tactile Book Advancement Group (TBAG)
61 Princes Way, London, SW19 UK
TBAG works to promote the design, provision, and enjoyment of tactile books for blind and partially sighted children. This website includes information about designing, producing, using, buying, and borrowing books with tactile illustrations.
Spatial and Map Cognition Research Lab
University of Oregon
The Spatial and Map Cognition Research Lab at the University of Oregon has developed resources to help teachers create tactile maps and use them with their students. These tactile mapping products have been developed through ongoing research on spatial thinking, navigation, and map use. The Tactile and Mapping Editor (TaME) is software that makes the production of tactile maps and graphics easier for the general population. Tactile Thematic Maps are downloadable files that can be printed on swell paper (microcapsule paper) with an embosser. The Tactile Symbol Set was developed to create a set of common symbols to make use of tactile maps easier and a more standardized experience. Symbols include streets, intersections, buildings, parks, and more. Products are available free of charge at the website.
Dots and Dogs
33562-4 Yucaipa Blvd., #435
Yucaipa, CA 92399
Dots and Dogs sells a variety of products designed for blind people, including a number of toys that help develop tactile and auditory skills. Among them are Texture Dominoes, Feel & Find 3D, the Weight Box Game, and the Sound Box Game.
Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers
Founded in 2000, Brain, Child is the nation's largest literary magazine devoted to motherhood. Each issue contains personal essays, poetry, news, book reviews, and in-depth feature stories. The magazine is available in hardcopy, online, and as an Apple digital app.
WGBH National Center for Accessible Media
1 Guest St.
Boston, MA 02135
This site lists motion pictures that are being shown with audio description for the blind and/or closed captioning for the hearing impaired. It also lists theater chains that provide these services.