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Search results for the Tag keyword: assistive technology
By Paul Nisbet on Friday 18th December, 2009 at 6:08pm
This is a chance for you to help improve the accessibility of Glow. If Glow is to fulfil it's aims it needs to be accessible to every pupil in Scotland and one way of helping many pupils with visual or reading difficulties is through 'text-to-speech' software, so that pupils can have material on Glow read out to them by the computer. There are many text-to-speech programs for reading different types of digital text, such as:
- Rod Macaulay's WordTalk (which you can download free from CALL), can read out Word documents, for example, or
- TextHelp's PDFaloud, which can read PDFs such as digital textbooks or SQA exam papers,
but we also need a program for reading text from the web itself.
Again there are several options (see Allan's Reading the Web guide at http://www.callscotland.org.uk/Resources/Publications/Information-Sheets/) , and one of them is Browsealoud from TextHelp Systems. Browsealoud is a free program that reads 'speech-enabled' web sites and also Word and PDF files on the web sites.TextHelp have agreed to 'speech-enable' the CALL Scotland and LTS web sites and also Glow until the end of January 2010, for us to evaluate. CALLs speech-enabled web sites are:
All LTS web sites (http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/) and also everything accessed through the Glow portal are speech-enabled.The pilot Books for All Scotland Database at http://www.booksforallscotland.org.uk/ is also speech-enabled.To read the web sites with Browsealoud you need to download it from http://www.browsealoud.com/page.asp?pg_id=80004.Jennifer MacDougal from LTS has agreed to set up a discussion forum for the Glow users and so once you have tried out Browsealoud on Glow, go to My Glow Groups > ASN Group and add your comments about it to the discussion. The direct URL for this is https://portal.glowscotland.org.uk/establishments/nationalsite/Additional%20Support%20for%20Learning/Lists/Pages/Discussions.aspxBrowsealoud is essentially a tool for reading web sites with text-to-speech software. It can help pupils with visual impairment, dyslexia, reading and learning difficulties or pupils who are not fluent English readers access information on web sites. It can speak using a number of different voices including Heather, the Scottish voice. To take part in this trial, download and run Browsealoud and then test it on Glow or on the CALL or LTS websites, and then log any comments or issues on the Glow group. If you cant access Glow send an email to CALL at email@example.com. LTS are currently looking at how the accessibility of Glow can be improved, and a text-to-speech facility could be extremely useful, if not essential, for thousands of pupils in Scotland (not much point in having a national intranet if it isnt accessible to all pupils in Scotland). Browsealoud is only one option for reading the web and so you might also like to look at some others such as Click Speak, a free add-on for Firefox, but it is really important that we all have a chance to test this particular tool to find out if it does what we all want. Please comment on whether you think Browsealoud would help pupils access Glow, as well as any problems that you come across. Take a look at the video tours and user guides on the Browsealoud web site as well – see http://www.browsealoud.com/page.asp?pg_id=80006Were aware that you wont have much time before the end of term, but no doubt some keen people will be unable to resist the temptation to play with Browsealoud over the break, and there will be a few weeks at the start of next term for you to try it.Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year
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By Paul Nisbet on Friday 4th December, 2009 at 4:13pm
The University of Edinburgh celebrated 40 years of commercialisation with an exhibition and reception in the Playfair library on November 16th 2009. The Smart Wheelchair was Mr (or should that be Miss?) 1987 - the year when we started work on the first protoype. The event was attended by His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who had a narrow escape from being run over while watching the Smart Wheelchair following the track around the stand. The Duke remarked that a big problem with wheelchairs is the low height of the seat, which he said is a bit of an issue at cocktail parties: I'm not sure there's much of a market for a cocktail-shaking Smart Wheelchair with powered elevating seat but who knows, I'll add it to the wish list....
The DVD and booklet produced to mark the occasion feature the Smart Wheelchair and also CALLTalk, the communication vocabulary developed by Sally Millar and Janet Larcher. Thanks to Derek Waddell, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from Edinburgh Research and Innovation Limited (ERI), for inviting us to the event. A video report is available and CALL's work was also featured in the latest edition of Infinite, ERI's annual review.
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By Sally Millar on Monday 2nd November, 2009 at 10:28am
Act NOW and book a place at one of the forthcoming Scottish Communication Matters Road Shows. It is completely free, and you get a free lunch as well! Choice of three venues (all 9.15am - 3.30pm, or 'drop in'):
- Tuesday 1st December - Edinburgh (Murrayfield Stadium, with CALL)
- Wednesday 2nd December - Aberdeen (Pittodrie Football Stadium, with TASSC)
- Thursday 3rd December - Glasgow (Hampden Park Stadium, with SCTCI)
This is THE opportunity of the year to find out about all the equipment and software available to support people with complex communication support needs. Suppliers of communication technology exhibit their wares and highlight any new products. As well as each giving a short presentation - you choose which you wish to attend - product experts are on hand all day to answer any questions you may have, demonstrate equipment, supply catalogues and literature, give you mini 1:1 tutorials. Unlike with visits from one particular company, you get the chance to 'compare and contrast' systems. Staff from the local specialist AAC services in Scotland are on hand to help to point you to local sources of informaiton and support, and you will also be able to 'network' with like-minded colleagues. Hope to see you there!
To find out more and to book online, go to Communication Matters Road Shows. Or, you can email Communication Matters or ring 0845 456 8211, giving your name, full address with postcode and contact telephone number. You will receive an acknowledgement of your booking.
You are also always welcome to contact CALL for further information, on 0131 651 6235 or 0131 651 6236.