ICT and Inclusion Presentations

Fil McIntyre presentingFor the third year running, BRITE partnered with CALL Scotland to deliver ICT and Inclusion: Two days of seminars and exhibition targeted at people working to include learners with additional support needs.  Niall Hardie and Fil McIntyre from BRITE were both presenting semimars on technology which may assist learners. With twenty exhibitors and twenty eight seminars, the days were pretty full and some people were unable to get to hear Niall and Fil.  A summary of Fil’s seminars is below, with Niall’s to follow shortly.

Tablets and Accessibility: iPad vs. Android vs. Windows

This session featured a brief run through of the accessibility options on the three main tablet operating systems.  iOS (on the iPad) came out strongest by far with a wide range of visual and cognitive support options (and more to come in iOS7), but this is not to dismiss Android and Windows.  Fil was keen to point out that users’ accessibility may be down to the size or format of the tablet.  In this case Android offers a much wider choice due to the amount of manufacturers providing Android tablets.

For Windows 8 tablets the accessibility options are very similar to a desktop PC, but (for example) provide a much wider range of high contrast display settings when compared to iOS’s normal or negative option.  Also the fact that a Windows 8 tablet can run full versions of Windows software may open it up as a possibility for users who cannot find an app equivalent to their access software.

BRITE can provide half-day seminars on the subject of tablet useage.  Two examples are “Tablet Tools” and “Bring Your Own Accessibility”.

Getting Captions Onto Your Video the Easy Way

Captioned videos can assist not only deaf students, but also those for whom English is a second language.  It is generally time consuming and expensive to get the captions onto videos. In this session Fil showed how to easily synchronise a transcript to your video by uploading both the transcript and the video to Youtube.  Youtube’s voice recognition will ensure the correct text is shown at the time it is spoken.

For further practical details on how to do this see this earlier post on the BRITE blog.

Host a BRITE seminar and receive free training for your employees

We’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in hosting a seminar during the next academic session.

In exchange for providing facilities and refreshments, you’ll receive a minimum of 6 free places on the seminar for your employees. We provide the seminar content, teaching staff, marketing, and admin.

If your institution would be interested in hosting one of the following seminars, please get in touch with our training manager, Niall, at nhardie@brite.ac.uk.

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Seen at BETT – Hardware

BETT logoLast week I spent one and a half days at BETT; the biggest education technology exhibition in the UK.  There are many large exhibitors (Google, Microsoft etc.) who have spent thousands on their stands and are all amplifying their presentations so they can be heard over each other.  However the really interesting stands – as far as Assistive Technology is concerned – are tucked away up on the balcony or in the SEN Zone which is right at the back of the hall.

This post will focus on interesting new hardware developments and I’ll write in the near future about software developments.  Click on any images for a larger view. Continue reading

Event review: Sight Village Scotland 2011

April’s Sight Village events in Edinburgh and Glasgow saw a number of key suppliers and service providers come together to create informative days for anyone with an interest in technology and support for people who are blind or have a visual impairment.

Exhibitors included: Calibre Audio Library; Concept Northern; Dolphin Computer Access; ForceTen; Guide Dogs; Humanware; Optelec; RNIB; Sight and Sound Technology and Zychem.

It was reassuring to note that some reliable products have not seen major changes. For instance, Humanware’s MyReader2 digital magnifier-reader and Zychem’s tactile diagram kit, both items that are popular with users of BRITE’s Equipment Loan Bank, have not changed.

A couple of new developments on show at the exhibition worth noting included the Transformer portable digital magnifier and the Eye Pal SOLO scanner and reader, further details of which follow below.

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Seminar review: Make It Accessible

BRITE recently joined JISC to facilitate two seminars which  focussed on creating accessible formats.

A number of further and higher education institutions were represented, with staff from both marketing and learning support backgrounds in attendance. Employees from schools and City of Edinburgh Libraries also featured in the groups, demonstrating how vital it is to be able to provide accessible information in a range of environments.

Make It Accessible introduced essential tips to make printed information accessible to readers with visual impairments or dyslexia.

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Free VI Technology Events in April

HumanWare VictorReader Stream Sight Village Scotland presents an opportunity to learn about the latest technology for people who are blind, or who have low vision.

Key suppliers will be demonstrating a range of technology suited to different tasks and needs.

Typically, the technology featured includes screen reading software, digital talking book players, screen magnification, digital magnifiers, and tools to produce Braille.

Suitable both for people who are completely new to this technology, and those who have some background wishing to update their knowledge, these events are FREE to attend and will be held at the following venues:

  • Edinburgh – Hilton Hotel, Grosvenor Street, Edinburgh, EH12 5EF between 10 am and 3:30 pm on Tuesday 5th April.
  • Glasgow – Hampden Park Stadium, Glasgow, G42 9BA between 10 am and 3:30 pm on Wednesday 6th April.

Image above is of a VictorReader Stream Digital Talking Book device, taken from the Humanware UK site. This item may be borrowed for evaluation purposes by members of the BRITE Equipment Loan Bank.

Print Disability Copyright Licence

Image of random textIt used to be that in copyright terms you were on shaky ground if adapting text for individuals who were not Visually Impaired, but who may struggle with print.  Earlier this year the Copyright Licensing Agency announced a new Print Disability Licence.  This will ensure that educational institutions are covered when adapting text to alternative formats whether print or digital.

The licence describes a print-disabled person as “…anyone for whom a visual, cognitive or physical disability hinders the ability to read print. This includes all visual impairments, dyslexia, and any physical disabilities that prevent the handling of a physical copy of a print publication.”

If adapting resources for students or staff within your college you are covered by an extension to the standard CLA licence.  You would only need to apply for the full PDL if you circulate adapted resources outwith your organisation.  The full guidelines can be found on the CLA website.