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From Online PDF to Print, Accessibly

When creating PDF documents that may be effectively shared online and still look nice when printed, make sure that you do not overlook these basic items.  semantically tagged content (headings, lists, tables) logical reading order (test with a screen reader) embed fonts descriptive hyperlinks, no "click here" language color contrast ratio 4.5:1 ​informational images have alternative text decorative images are marked as artifacts linked table of contents logical bookmarks  Accessibility Permission Flag is set to 'on' primary language is set tables are tagged with rows, headers These are just a few of the most important things to remember when creating your PDF document. If you have questions or would like more information, email me. See also https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/create-verify-pdf-accessibility.html and Matterhorn Protocol which is an accessible document that meets and models all of the above requirements:  http://www.pdfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/MatterhornProtocol_1-02.pdf 
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Assistive Technology Needs for a Student with a Visual Impairment

Just in case you are having trouble figuring out what technology is out there for a student with a visual impairment, here is a resource that could help you out while making your supervisor (or the one who has the money) nervous. It was compiled by the good folks at the California School for the Blind:  Jerry Kuns, James Carreon and Adrian Amandi.  It is quite an extensive list. The file is a downloadable Word document and is listed as one of the links labeled "What's Available in Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairment-March 2011".   It has been updated to include iOS and Mac accessibility.  Of course, your student(s) may not need "everything" but this is a good reference for what type of technology is available.  Besides this resource document, included on the web page are various assistive technology topics.  It is quite a wealth of information. http://www.csb-cde.ca.gov/technology.htm Happy reading. Patrick Van Geem, TVI Assistive...
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Access to Textbooks Article from AFB Accessworld

Access to Textbooks A Step Forward for Accessible Textbooks: A Review of the STudent E-rent Pilot Project J.J. Meddaugh Sponsored by a federal grant, STEPP was launched in 2010 by the Alternative Media Access Center and Georgia Tech University in partnership with CourseSmart, one of the largest distributors for college textbooks. Using the CourseSmart website, thousands of titles are available on a rental basis for online viewing. Titles are available for roughly half the cost of purchasing the physical book at retail price. While other programs are available that offer textbook rentals for students, this is one of the few examples where practically the entire system is accessible. CourseSmart offers an accessible reader that allows for simple navigation and searching of the book. For the full article see AFB Accessworld.
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iPad Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments

Robert Miller of the Oklahoma School for the Blind Assistive Technology Lab has written an in-depth curriculum for using the iPad with VoiceOver, Zoom and Refreshable Braille Displays. The curriculum will guide you and your student step by step through setting the accessibility features up to teaching specific gestures and commands needed to use the iPad with VoiceOver and Zoom.  As with any shared curriculum, please give credit to the author or authors when distributing the curriculum.  Robert asks for any feedback to help him improve his curriculum. Three versions of the curriculum can be found on the Oklahoma School for the Blind website.  
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Saving Internet Pages as EPUB Files

This is a wonderful resource, which allows your student to save a webpage as an individual EPUB file. What is an EPUB?  ".epub" is an electronic book format that has become the industry standard, allowing eBooks that use this format to be read on a wide variety of eReaders, from dedicated hardware to desktop software to online based readers. EPUB files can be read in most portable ebook readers, such as Sony, Ipad, Kobo, etc. For the purposes of this post I will describe how to open your EPUB files in iBooks on the iPad. First, some information from the dotEPUB website: "dotEPUB is software in the cloud that allows you to convert any webpage into an ebook. For content consumers (readers), we have developed a bookmarklet (or favlet) for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari or Opera. And, if you are a Google Chrome user, you can install the dotEPUB extension in your browser." On the dotEPUB website I located and activated the...
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Learning Ally Audiobook Manager

For everyone, myself included, who has tried and failed to download and transfer books from Learning Ally there are now tutorials on their website to help. The tutorials cover online bookshelf, audiobook manager and legacy audiobook manager. The tutorials are in audio podcast and text format. Learning Ally. Have a look and finally figure out how to load that book on your device or computer. Sharon Nichols Outreach Assistive Technology Consultant
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Braille Production with MacOS

Many school districts are switching to MacOS for various reasons, particularly around the issue of virus protection.  The problem for us in the field of visual impairments is that much of the accessibility software is PC (Windows OS) based, especially when it comes to embossing and braille production.  There is an emulation software called VMware Fusion which is now in its 4th edition so it can work with MacOS 10.7 (Lion). Emulating software (according to Wikipedia)  duplicates (or emulates) the functions of a first computer system in a different second computer system, so that the behavior of the second system closely resembles the behavior of the first system.  In this case, the MacOS can now run Windows XP or 7  as a separate application.  Windows-based applications are now able to almost run in the same way as they do on a PC computer.  The emphasis is on “almost”.  There are some...
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Free Digital Textbooks on Windows 7 using JAWS or WindowEyes

Access Technology Institute are offering two free digital textbooks.  Both books are tutorials on Windows 7 using either JAWS or WindowEyes.  The books are downloadable as .zip files.  When extracting the files, five file formats are available: Word 2007(.docx), plain text (.txt), DAISY, .html, and individual MP3 files.  These are rich resources for students or TVIs who now can access these files using various software and/or devices, such as DAISY playback devices/applications, braille notetakers, or computers.   Cathy Ann Murtha, author of the textbooks, structures her tutorials in a way that makes it easy and pleasant to learn. The same structure could be used to teach students access software applications.  Please take advantage of this free offering.  The website address is:  blindtraining.com.   Pat Van Geem Assistive Technology Consultant
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The Accessibility of Four Types of Electronic Documents

Accessibility of electronic files as supplements for online courses or lessons is an important issue for students with disabilities.  General education teachers, who actually do most of the electronic production for students, do not seem to understand the accessibility issues of these documents.  If a document is not made accessible, the user with disabilities can experience difficulties in: document navigation, clarity of content, searching for specific information, and user fatigue due to the complex document layout.  There are four major types of electronic files that are used for online or off line lessons. The Four Types of Electronic Documents Electronic documents are used for various reasons, such as: activities, reference material, supplemental information, worksheets, and other assignments.  Students get the documents through email, by downloading them from learning management systems or through a file sharing system. Depending on the author, accessibility of these files can vary greatly.  The electronic documents...
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