November 1st, 2012

Access improvements to Windows 8 include:

  • Redesigned Narrator to improve its performance so that it quickly reads out what you have selected.

  • Added more languages and voices to Narrator to support additional countries and preferences.

  • Updated components and features within Windows to leverage UI Automation that allows them to be read by Narrator.

  • Updated UI Automation (UIA) with more text patterns and document content so that Narrator can use it to read the outputs from applications.

Read more on the Building Windows 8 Blog.

October 30th, 2012

The ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) SETSIG (Special Education Technology Special Interest Group) hosted a webinar in October of 2012, allowing participants to explore how to support all students using interactive whiteboards to build lessons that address the three principles of UDL. Using videos and SMART Notebook and Promethean Flipchart templates, Johnny Hamilton and Kendra Grant explored curriculum examples that build multiple means of recognition, action and expression and engagement into every lesson. Archive available.

October 27th, 2012


National Federation of the Blind Applauds Landmark Court Ruling

Decision Will Revolutionize Blind People’s Access to Books

The National Federation of the Blind today applauded a decision issued on October 10, 2012, by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which permits the distribution of millions of books to blind and print-disabled people.  The ruling in Authors Guild, Inc., et al., v. HathiTrust, et al.  held that providing access for students with print disabilities constitutes a “transformative use” under the fair use provision of the Copyright Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act and that Section 121 of the Copyright Act (the “Chafee Amendment”) permits university libraries to digitize their collections for distribution and use by the blind.  As a result, the University of Michigan will now be permitted to make its entire 10 million volume digital collection available to all blind Americans, revolutionizing access to digital books by the blind and print disabled.
The ruling is part of the court’s decision to grant the NFB’s and HathiTrust’s motions for summary judgment in a lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild against the HathiTrust, a repository of several university library collections scanned by Google, and participating universities.  The Authors Guild alleged the HathiTrust and universities violated the Copyright Act by engaging in mass digitization of their collections.  Because these works represent the largest collection of works accessible to the blind and print disabled, the NFB intervened in the lawsuit.  
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Access to the printed word has historically been one of the greatest challenges faced by the blind.  The landmark decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York will revolutionize access to books for the blind.  For the first time ever, blind students and scholars will have the opportunity to participate equally in library research.  The blind, just like the sighted, will have a world of education and information at their fingertips.  The National Federation of the Blind commends the court’s decision, which constitutes a significant step toward full and equal access to information by the blind.”
October 25th, 2012

The Maryland Assistive Technology Network, MATN Online, presented a webinar  in early 2011 on Web 2.0 Tools that support Universal Design for Learning principles. Web applications that do text-to-movie, offer online corkboards, support work processing, and make books accessible are discussed. There is a recording and handout available.

October 25th, 2012

The Maryland Assistive Technology Network, MATN Online, presented a webinar on Transition and AT:  Ensuring Continuity in March 2010. The presenter was Gayle Bowser. A recording, Student Guide for Assistive Technology Transition Planning, and a Quality Indicators for Assisitive Technology - Post Secondary - (QIAT-PS) handout is available.