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Bookshare Member and Accessible ebooks Shine at TCEA and SXSWedu

tcea logo“Learn Anywhere” was the theme of this year’s Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Conference, held February 3–6 in Austin. TCEA is one of the largest regional EdTech (educational technology) events in the U.S., and Benetech’s Accessible Books for Texas (ABT) team was on hand to demonstrate tools that help Bookshare members read accessible ebooks anytime, anywhere.

Austin eighth grader Ben Cooper shows Texas Education Agency staff how he reads accessible ebooks from Bookshare quickly and easily on his iPad.

Hundreds of Texas educators, administrators, school librarians, and school IT professionals stopped by the Bookshare/ABT booth to learn how their students with print disabilities can succeed at reading with accessible ebooks from Bookshare. They also learned about the wide variety of reading tools to support people with learning differences. In addition, many attended two dynamic conference sessions presented by the ABT team about “Anytime, Anywhere Learning for Readers with Print Disabilities.”

TCEA was also the ideal venue to connect with Austin eighth grader Ben Cooper, an avid Bookshare user and passionate dyslexia advocate. Ben visited the conference to talk with Texas Education Agency staff about the challenges he faces as a student with a learning disability and how Bookshare helps him succeed in school.

Student talks on video about the ebooks he reads for school.

In a recent Benetech video titled “As They See It: Technology for Students with Learning Disabilities,” Ben and other Texas students with learning disabilities share their excitement about ebooks, Bookshare, and assistive technologies that open doors to confidence, independence, and achievement. He also delivers a heartfelt and compelling message to students: “If you are struggling with reading, you might want to…get checked for a learning disability. Check it out now before you get pummeled with reading.”

sxswedu logoAt the upcoming SXSWedu Conference, Ben will bring his powerful message to more people.


  •  On March 9 at 3:00 p.m., hear Ben give a 10-minute talk on “Disability Rights” as part of the Student Voice Summit at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Austin.


  • On March 10 at 6:00 p.m., during the SXSWedu Education Expo in the Austin Convention Center, hear Ben and several other presenters encourage attendees to “Think Big!” when it comes to dyslexia.


  •  On March 12 at 9:00 a.m. in the Hilton Downtown Austin, Ben will participate in discussions on “Dyslexia: Changing How We Think about Potential.”


ABT logoThe ABT team will attend Ben’s presentations and staff a Bookshare table during the Education Expo, March 10 from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. Throughout the conference, the ABT team will also demonstrate Bookshare in the “Experience Dyslexia” section of the hands-on playground area.


Ben Cooper ready to discuss the benefits of accessible books and reading technologies.

The Bookshare and ABT teams are excited to be represented by such a vibrant young man as Ben Cooper. As a result of his advocacy, we look forward to seeing more students with qualifying print disabilities sign up for Bookshare membership and benefit from its many resources


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