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Tag: blind

Up Close and Personal at the American Council of the Blind Conference

St. Louis, Missouri, was the location of the 57th Annual American Council of the Blind (ACB) Conference and Convention in early July. Benetech, the parent nonprofit of Bookshare, the world’s largest library of ebooks for people with reading barriers, is a strong supporter of the ACB and sent me and Jake Brownell, another engineer, to the event. The conference provided moments of inspiration, exciting new assistive technology devices, and a chance to network with other participants. One of the keynote speakers, professional low vision actor Marilee Talkington, who played a blind character on the television show NCIS, offered these words…

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Because #RepresentationMatters

Children need and deserve books that reflect themselves and the diversity of the world around them. In addition to people of color, people with disabilities are underrepresented in the popular media. For many children and teens with disabilities, it is difficult to find books with accurate portrayals of disabilities. With this gap in mind, Bookshare has assembled four new collections that feature characters with learning disabilities and visual impairments, because everyone has differences and abilities and representation matters. Books that Feature Characters with Learning Disabilities The novels in these two collections feature characters with a learning disability, such as dyslexia,…

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Back to School with Bookshare: Tips from the Teaching Trenches (Part 2)

Equal access means equal opportunity for students with disabilities Welcome to the second blog in our Back to School with Bookshare series. These blogs help teachers get a strong start to the school year so they can help their students be successful. The first blog featured Special Education Resource Teacher Diane Lurye and the ways she uses Bookshare to encourage reading independence. “Technology is the equalizer for students with disabilities,” says Deirdre Watkins, an Itinerant Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments in the Dekalb County School District in Georgia. She serves sixteen students in pre-K through 12th grade across six…

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From Brazil to Brooklyn

Bookshare helps Antonio Guimaraes navigate continents, schools, cities, and careers Antonio Guimaraes remembers those laborious days in college when he spent hours at the scanner using an OCR reader to convert his printed textbooks to digital text and audio. “I queued up some music and fired up my Kurzweil 1000. Two hours later I still wasn’t finished scanning my textbook, so I would take breaks and mark the next starting point with a paper clip,” says Antonio. Fortunately, for Antonio and others like him who are blind or visually impaired, the technology supporting reading software and assistive devices has advanced…

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Benetech Partners with Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services to Bring Bookshare to Patrons with Print Disabilities

GLASS offers over 425,000 accessible ebooks in its pursuit of total accessibility Benetech, provider of Bookshare, is proud to announce a new partnership with Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS), making over 425,000 accessible ebooks available for free to patrons who cannot read printed books due to blindness, low vision, dyslexia, and other print disabilities. GLASS is the statewide network of talking book centers that provides library services for the blind and others whose physical abilities require the use of books and magazines in digital audio formats or in braille. Beginning July 1, every Georgian with an eligible print…

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#SVGives: 10 for 10 Brings Bookshare to More Readers

UPDATE: Thank you to the generous donors who helped us reach our goal of $10K to bring Bookshare to more readers!   Small gifts, big impact. Last year, in just one day, over $8 million dollars was raised for Bay Area nonprofits through Silicon Valley Gives, a community-wide day of giving hosted by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Benetech is one of hundreds of nonprofits in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Benito, and San Francisco counties who are joining together to lift up and empower communities in need. Every contribution has an impact. No gift is too small. That’s why…

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Benetech Receives Google Impact Challenge Award to Expand Bookshare’s Global Reach

Benetech is pleased to announce that it has been selected by Google.org as one of twenty-nine nonprofits to receive funding to increase access to opportunity and independence for hundreds of millions living with disabilities around the world. Launched in May of 2015, the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities put $20 million in Google.org grants behind nonprofits using emerging technologies to increase independence for people living with disabilities. This program aims to scale impact through technology and extends funding to “entrepreneurial nonprofits to bring innovative tech ideas to life and test their potential for scale.” “The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities set out…

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Get On Board with Unified English Braille

Braille, the ingenious system of six dots invented by Louis Braille almost 200 years ago in France, has meant literacy to millions of blind and visually-impaired individuals around the world. Since braille represents living languages, periodic modifications are necessary to reflect changes in languages and to keep braille vital and contemporary. In the United States, English Braille, American Edition (EBAE) has been the predominant braille code. To keep U.S. braille consistent and up to date with the braille code used for international English, Unified English Braille (UEB) has been adopted as the official U.S. braille code. UEB is being implemented…

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Advancing Literacy Outcomes for Children with Disabilities in India

By Terry Jenna, Bookshare International Program Manager Benetech’s mission is to serve communities in need by creating scalable technology solutions. As the operator of Bookshare, we are working diligently to extend our reach across borders to the international community. While technological breakthroughs are creating new opportunities and lowering barriers for society as a whole, the sad truth is that millions of individuals with disabilities around the world are still left behind. This is a particular reality for students in the developing world who cannot read traditional books due to blindness and other print disabilities. They grapple with formidable challenges as…

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