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WEBED-ATIA02: AIM - Products and Services from ATIA Members
PRESENTERS: Joy Zabala, CAST; Betsy Burgess, Benetech/Bookshares; and Mary Jo Barry, Don Johnston Incorporated on Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) products and services
DATE: Wednesday, April 20, 2011: 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Webinar Description:

This webinar features an overview of AIM from The National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials setting the legal and pedagogical context for AIM with a discussion of the landscape of available AIM-related resources and services. Benetech/Bookshare will present the Bookshare AIM products and services. Don Johnston will present the Read:OutLoud product and AIM related materials. There will be time for questions for specific state-related issues or more general questions around AIM legal or implementation issues and sharing success stories. Each presentation, including key learning points, is described in detail below.

You may receive CEUs for viewing these archived webinar sessions. RESNA is an approved authorized provider for CEU credits by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). You can receive .1 CEUs for a sixty minute webinar and .15 CEUs for a ninety minute webinar. To apply for CEUs for this webinar, just download the form, complete it and send it to RESNA as the directions indicate. There is a $16 fee to receive credits for each webinar.

Archived webinar ID: WEBED-ATIA02 (no key required)    Transcript

Presentation 1

Presentation Title: Setting the Context for Accessible instructional Materials
Presenter: Joy Zabala, Director of Technical Assistance, CAST and National AIM Center
Presenter email:
Presentation description:
This presentation from The National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials will provide a brief overview of national Initiatives funded by the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, including:

  • The NIMAS Center maintains and updates the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) which guides the production of specialized formats of textbooks and related instructional materials.
  • The National Instructional Materials Access Center which serves as a repository into which publishers deposit source files compliant with the NIMAS and
  • The AIM Center works with key stakeholders to support the implementation of NIMAS and timely provision of accessible instructional materials (AIM) to students who require them

Dr. Zabala will set the context for AIM with a brief introduction to some of the legal and pedagogical issues surrounding this important area. This section will include a brief overview of the landscape of AIM products and services from different private and public organizations including learning opportunities and AIM-related tools from the AIM Center.

Key Learning Points:

  1. Learn about AIM-related provision in education and copyright statutes
  2. Name five basic sources of accessible content and who can use materials from each.
  3. Describe the products and services available from the National AIM Center at CAST

Presenter Bio:

Joy Zabala, Director of Technical Assistance, CAST and National AIM Center
Dr. Joy Zabala brings rich experience in education and assistive technology to her current focus on improving the quality, availability, and timely delivery of accessible instructional materials to elementary and secondary students with print disabilities. Dr. Zabala is developer of the SETT Framework, a tool that helps collaborative teams select, develop, and use a variety of solutions to support the communication, participation, and achievement of students with disabilities. She is a founding member of the QIAT Community of AT professionals and facilitator of the QIAT List. She is a past president and current secretary of the Technology and Media Division (TAM) of the Council for Exceptional Children. Dr. Zabala is a strong supporter of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Assistive Technology as complementary supports for student achievement.

Organization Profile:

CAST is an educational research & development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning. CAST hosts The NIMAS Development Center and the National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials which serves as a resource to state- and district-level educators, parents, publishers, conversion houses, accessible media producers, and others interested in learning more about and implementing AIM and NIMAS.
Web Site:

Presentation 2:

Presentation Title: What's available for AIM from Benetech/Bookshare?
Presenter: Betsy Burgess, Senior Director of Marketing, Benetech/Bookshare
Presenter email:
Presentation description:
This presentation will describe: How Bookshare Works, Who Bookshare Serves and How Printed Books Are Made Accessible

How Bookshare Works
BookshareŽ is an online library of digital books for people with print disabilities. It operates under an exception to U.S. copyright law which allows copyrighted digital books to be made available to people with qualifying disabilities. In addition, many publishers and authors have volunteered to provide Bookshare with access to their works. By requiring individuals to register as Members and provide a Proof of Disability, Bookshare ensures that only qualified individuals use the service. Bookshare Members download books, textbooks and newspapers in a compressed, encrypted file. They then read the material using adaptive technology, typically software that reads the book aloud (text-to-speech) and/or displays the text of the book on a computer screen, or Braille access devices, such as refreshable Braille displays. Through an award from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Bookshare offers free memberships to U.S. schools and qualifying U.S. students.

Who Bookshare Serves
Bookshare provides multiple reading options for each of the communities it serves:

  • People with Visual Impairments
    Members with visual impairments can listen to books with using a text-to-speech synthesized voice, read books in Braille, or access the material in large print. Hard copy Braille books can also be ordered
  • People with Physical Disabilities
    Members can read books on a computer or a variety of portable devices, either visually and with text-to-speech as desired.
  • People with Learning Disabilities
    Members with severe dyslexia typically benefit from access to the full text of books in digital format, for multi-modal reading with both visual and audio (through synthetic text to speech). Many great software programs exist that provide a range of reading support specifically designed for individuals with learning disabilities, including highlighting of text as it is read aloud, changing margin, word, paragraph and line spacing, and setting custom background and print colors.

Making Print Books Accessible
Bookshare adds books to the digital library in a variety of ways working with volunteers, publishers, educational institutions and staff. The book is made available to Bookshare Members for download in two accessible digital formats from the Bookshare website:

  • DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System)-a talking-book file format. DAISY books from Bookshare are DAISY 3 text files that work with screen readers, self-voicing synthetic-voice DAISY players, portable self-voicing DAISY players, and scan-and-read software such as Kurzweil K1000 and K3000, WYNN, and OpenBook.
  • BRF (Braille Refreshable Format)-digital Braille for use with Braille embossers and refreshable Braille devices.

Key Learning Points:

  1. Understand how easy it is to use this technology/service in a variety of settings.
  2. Describe the primary functions of the technology/service.
  3. List potential advantages for using this technology/service.
  4. Identify who this solution would be appropriate based on applicable features.

Presenter Bio:

Betsy Burgess joins Benetech with a combined background in both education and high tech marketing. She has over 15 years of experience in various marketing and public relations capacities for software startups, most recently serving as Senior Director of Marketing Communications. A former teacher herself, she has developed and taught computer and Internet training seminars, and delivered those seminars to educators around the country.

In the early days of the Internet, Betsy launched a small business focused on helping schools and educators use the Internet in the classroom. She also published two books and six CDs designed to help educators integrate the Internet into the curriculum. After completing her BA at Wellesley College, Betsy earned a Master's degree in Education with a specialization in Learning Disabilities.

Company Profile:

Benetech, the parent nonprofit for Bookshare, is a nonprofit technology company based in Palo Alto, California. Benetech pursues projects with a strong social rather than financial rate of return on investment, harnessing open source technology to create innovative solutions to challenging social issues. The Benetech Bookshare service is the world's largest accessible online library of copyrighted books for people with print disabilities. BookshareŽ is free for all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities, thanks to an award from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Bookshare offers approximately 90,000 digital books, textbooks, teacher-recommended reading, periodicals and assistive technology tools.
Web Site: and

Presentation 3:

Presentation Title: Ready, AIM, Implement!
Presenter: Mary Jo Barry, Marketing and Business Development Manager, Don Johnston Incorporated

Presentation description:
A movement is underway that makes instructional materials accessible to students with disabilities. Textbook publishers are creating accessible versions, many books are now available online, and then there's the Internet. Digital information is key to ALL our students' futures. State and Federal Government have a plan for making texts available to students who qualify as having a print disability, but what about majority of your IEP students, those who don't qualify? How and where do you get these texts, what tools will you need to leverage their power and how can you make the Internet accessible too? I'll walk you through Read:OutLoud, Don Johnston's text reader and show you how we're approaching accessibility. I'll also suggest some alternate portable devices that can get your students access, no matter where you're at in your AIM Implementation!

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the laws guiding Accessible Instructional Materials
  2. Create the least restrictive environment for students through universal access
  3. Explore Read:OutLoud and other tools that will help you maximize your digital texts

Presenter Bio:

Mary Jo Barry has BA Elementary Ed degree and is the Don Johnston Incorporated Marketing and Business Development Manager. Mary Jo has 7 years of Classroom experience with regular education students. During her 13 years with Don Johnston, she has worked extensively with state and federal education institutions, vendor collaborators, special education experts, district administrators and educators to help create and market cutting edge assistive technology solutions and services.

Company Profile:

Don Johnston empowers educators with assistive technology solutions to help the widest range of students build core literacy skills. Don Johnston's award-winning products build in physical accessibility, integrate validated research, capitalize on new discoveries in brain science, align to standards and are presented in multiple medias through engaging instructional models.
Web Site:

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Archived webinar ID: WEBED-ATIA02 (no key required)    Transcript