My colleague, Karen Moffatt, CCC-SLP, and I presented an educational session on this topic at the 2016 Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) National Conference earlier this month. As expected, there was a large amount of interest in the subject as educators and administrators across the globe try to figure out how to tap the full potential of this device in the classroom. We feel like everybody should be skilled users, but they’re still relatively new and upgrading all the time. As Karen put it so clearly during our session, ” iPads have only been with us for about six years, but it feels like forever.”
I’m going to date myself a little bit here by telling you that I have a terrific album collection from the 1960’s through the 80’s. I love looking at the covers and listening to the ‘crackle’ sound when the needle first touches the vinyl, but didn’t own a stereo that would play them! Only just recently did I pick up a vintage system that rocks. It was simply a matter of matching the right player to my specific media…
I often field calls from teachers and clinicians asking how to download Bookshare books onto Kindles and Nooks. I know a lot of districts have invested in these low-cost devices for digital reading support and they love them. That makes it even more disappointing to find that the two are incompatible with Bookshare. Federal laws mandate that Bookshare books are converted into very specific digital formats for e-reading accessibility and neither the Kindle or basic Nook devices are designed to read these file types (although the newer Nook HD does). Simply put, the device just isn’t able to play them any more than my 8-track player will play a CD.
I love Bookshare, but I will admit that it takes a little work to learn how to use it. That said, it is WELL worth the effort and will make you wonder how your students ever read without it! I was happy to learn today that they now offer an option for web reading without an individual membership and wanted to share this link with you for learning more. Previously, students needed an individual subscription and password to log in outside of the school’s account. Now the teacher can assign a specific log in for them, download books for the student, and assign them to a shared reading list to allow student access from the internet anywhere. Wow. It just keeps getting easier!
Wow! We’ve been out of school here in east Tennessee for 2 full weeks due to “snowmageddon 2015”. I missed seeing my students while trapped at home under ice and snow, but it gave me a lot of time to create new curriculum materials using visual supports. Take a look at our ready-to-print thematic project titled “Let’s Build a Snowman’ in case you need something to tie in with our recent weather events. Of course, now I am working on projects for Easter and spring in hopes that we can wish the cold weather away!
While working on my projects, I realized that I’d never shared the Boardmaker Help & Training Center site created by Mayer-Johnson/Dynavox. An excellent resource, it contains tips, guides, and short video tutorials to help when learning to create with Boardmaker products. It’s easy to navigate and offers a host of supports. Check it out today!
Bookshare has always been one of my favorite resources for accessing digital content and I loved it even more after OSEP funding allowed them to offer the service for FREE to our students with disabilities. If you’re unfamiliar with the program, feel free to look over this tutorial from my session Bookshare: Providing Digital Books for Students with Special Needs. This is from an educational session I will be offering at the Partners in Education Conference sponsored by the TN Department of Education in Nashville next month. If you’ll visit their site and click on the ‘Getting Started’ tab, there are terrific links and resources there to answer most all of your questions, as well as a YouTube channel full of quick video tutorials. So, sign up and get those kids the materials they want in the format they need with Bookshare!
Thanks to Shelley Haven from Tech Potential for putting together this great list of Bookshare Reading Options! This list includes reading your accessible books through programs like Kurzweil, WYNN 7, Read&Write Gold and iBooks. It also tells you how to transfer them to your Kindle!
If you are lost when it comes to using Bookshare or if you have questions about some of its specific features, you’re in luck! Bookshare has several tutorial videos available for free on their website to help you navigate and use Bookshare skillfully. They also have over 35 videos on their YouTube channel uploaded by BookshareTeam. Check out these resources here: Bookshare.org/Training.YouTube/Bookshare
You can now access your books on the go through Bookshare’s new app for Apple, Read2Go. This app gives full audio feedback as you navigate through its menu to customize your reading experience. With many different color themes for highlighting, changing backgrounds and text you are able to change each visual feature to suite your needs. It also has several audio options such as reading text out loud, how fast it is read and whether or not you need the menu read out loud. You are also able to increase the text size to a 70pt font! The app is priced at $19.99, which isn’t bad, considering both the membership and online versions are free!
With over 203,000 accessible books, Bookshare is the largest accessible library in the world, and it keeps growing!
Do you know students who have difficulty reading because they are visually impaired, physically unable to hold a book or turn pages, or have visual tracking problems? Bookshare is a great resource for students that are not able to read or turn pages in a standard book to still receive the material in a format that is simple and easy to use! They can have words highlighted as they read, change fonts, letter size, background colors and text colors, have the book read to them, and even put a digital copy on an iPod or iPad for on the go reading! To learn more about Bookshare and how to join, check out their website: Bookshare.org We will be adding more information about Bookshare and its amazing features soon!