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Create your PDF prelims, assessments, worksheets and activities on your iPad!

By Paul Nisbet on Friday 12th December, 2014 at 5:36pm

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Previously if you wanted to create an interactive digital prelim, assessment or other resource with answer boxes on screen, you had to use Adobe Acrobat Pro, which costs around about £60 per license under a special licensing arrangement from Education Scotland. Even though this is a very good deal (the full commercial rate for Acrobat Pro is £440), some staff have commented that it is a significant outlay for each department in a school to buy a copy. 

However, there are now some alternatives to Acrobat Pro that are worth considering. I'll outline the Windows software options in a blog next week, and today I want to introduce PDF Office, which is a brand new app that lets you create digital question papers and prelims on your iPad!

DF Office lets you open a PDF, do small edits to the text and add drawings and other annotations, and most importantly, you can insert form fields for answer boxes. There is a form field detection feature that adds fields automatically for you. In testing on my standard prelim paper, I found that it works very well: it even detected the difference between a field where I wanted a tick box, and other fields where I wanted text boxes. (This is better than Acrobat, which puts text boxes into tick box fields that you then have to delete.)

You can change the properties of the fields to make them look like the SQA Digital Question papers, i.e. red borders, multi-line where necessary. I couldn't find a way to select all the fields in the whole paper to make these changes once, but it was easy to select all the fields on one page and set the properties for that page.

You can draw in fields for text, tick boxes, numbers, date, radio buttons, action buttons (e.g. send by email), drop-down lists, and image fields for users to insert photos from the camera. You can tap on a field and duplicate it, which gives a faster way of inserting fields.  

You would want to use a stylus rather than your finger, to get accurate positioning (although it 'snaps' to other fields that keeps things nicely aligned), and I actually found it slightly easier and quicker than using a mouse on a computer.

The completed PDFs can be accessed and completed by students on iPad using apps like Adobe Reader, ClaroPDF and PDF Expert, or on a computer with Adobe Reader or Foxit Reader.

Cost? The app is free, but to use it you need a subscription which is quoted at $4.99/month or $39.99/year. However, when I installed it, it gave me a free year's subscription for nothing because I already had PDF Expert, one of Readdle's other apps, on my iPad. PDF Expert costs £6.99, so for just £6.99 you can get both PDF Expert, which is an excellent tool for reading and managing PDFs, and a year's worth of making digital prelims and resources on your iPad!

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iVona MiniReader and MS Word - keyboard shortcuts

By Stuart Aitken on Wednesday 10th December, 2014 at 4:48pm

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Many pupils are now using iVona MiniReader as their main text-to-speech tool in Scottish schools. One question has come up a couple of times and it came up again in today's SQA ICT & Literacy Seminar (URL).

iVona MiniReader with Play button

Today's question was how to use iVona to read out a National Literacy 3 or 4 exemplar paper using only the keyboard. The N3 and N4 papers are available in MS Word. So we are considering iVona working with MS Word keyboard shortcuts. (PDF has different keyboard shortcuts not covered in this blog.)

Pressing Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar isn't a problem for pupils who can find the word, phrase, sentence to speak! 

But what if the pupil has dyspraxia, or a physical disability or, say, a visual impairment  that makes it difficult to i) locate the chunk of text to be spoken, and ii) to then navigate to that Play button in order to press it? 

Become a Power user!

Often referred to as Power users, keyboard users also have a trick available. It uses Extend mode, F8 (Function key 8).​

 

We'll cover three scenarios.

  1. Pupils who can independently find the first word to be spoken.
  2.     Pupils who need to use the keyboard to find the first word or phrase to be spoken.
  3.     Pupils who can only press one key at a time.

1. Pupils who can independently find the first word to be spoken

  1. Open the Word document, launch iVona MiniReader.
  2. Position cursor (blinking) somewhere in the first word to be spoken.
  3. Press F8 once to turn it on. Press again to select the whole word.
  4. (Optional) To select the whole sentence to be read, press F8 a second time.
  5. (Optional) To select the whole paragraph to be read, press F8 a third time.
  6. Press Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar to speak the word, sentence or paragraph.
  7. To deselect the word, sentence or paragraph, press Esc, followed by an arrow key.

2. Pupils who need to use the keyboard to find the first word or phrase to be spoken

  1. Open your Word document and launch iVona MiniReader
  2. Press Ctrl+F to find the first word or phrase to be spoken - this opens the Find pane. Type in the word or phrase to be found.
  3. Press Enter.
  4. Use the arrow key to highlight the box containing the word or phrase.
  5. (Optional) To select the whole sentence to be read, press F8 a second time - may need three presses.
  6. (Optional) To select the whole paragraph to be read, press F8 a third time - may need four presses.
  7. Press Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar to speak the word or phrase found (iVona actually speaks it from the Word document itself rather than from the pane - clever!).
  8. To deselect the word, sentence or paragraph, press Esc, followed by an arrow key.

To close the Find pane - some pupils may find it distracting or it may take up too much space on the screen

  1. With the cursor (blinking) in the Find pane somewhere.

  2. Press Ctrl+Spacebar then W.

3. ​For pupils who can only press one key at a time

Use Sticky Keys

  1. To activate Sticky Keys press Windows key +U > Make the keyboard easier to use > Turn on Sticky keys.
  2. It is now possible to press keyboard combinations by pressing one key, then the next etc. Each key will 'stick' e.g. Ctrl then Shift then Spacebar has the same effect as pressing Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar together.

The document Extend Selection Shortcuts Word is a slightly edited version of those listed under Microsoft Word 2010 Help - which of course can be accessed by pressing the F1 key. 

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SQA Past Papers for 2014 are now available

By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 3rd December, 2014 at 5:42pm

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You can now download the 2014 past papers from the SQA Digital Question Papers pages. Since prelim season is almost upon us, these can be useful for class teaching as well as revision, and of course for students to practice using the papers on a computer, iPad or other device.

You can also download Specimen papers for National 5 and Higher exams from th same page.

'Question and answer' papers have answer boxes on the digital paper so that candidates can type their answers on-screen, but 'question only' papers do not have the answer boxes. So in these exams, a candidate can use a Digital Answer Booklet to type up their answers. DABs are available in Microsoft Word and PDF format from the SQA Digital Answer Booklet page. 

     

Paper with answer boxes     History paper without               National 5 History Digital Answer Booklet 

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TeeJay CfE Books 1a and 1b now available with answer boxes

By Paul Nisbet on Friday 10th October, 2014 at 1:14pm

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Tom Strang at TeeJay Publishers has kindly provided digital versions of the new Curriculum for Excellence books for the Books for All Database, so that learners with print disabilities can read and access them. 

Sarah and Rebecca here in CALL have been working hard to insert answer boxes and adapt the books so that learners can tackle the exercises on screen, and we've just uploaded new versions of Books 1a and 1b to the Books for All Database.

The books are 'PDF Portfolios' so when you open a book with Adobe Reader on your computer you will see thumbnails of each chapter: double-click on a chapter to view the preview and then double click again to open it.

(You'll need Adobe Flash installed to view the Portfolio properly, and from our trials it seems that most school computers do have this.)

 

 

Or, you can extract the chapter as a separate file and save it on your computer. We recommend extracting the chapters and accessing them separately because the PDF Portfolio can take a while to open and the extracted individual files seem to open much faster. 

 

Most of the pages have answer boxes inserted so that you can type your answers on-screen.

To jump to the next answer box press the Tab key on the keyboard: to go back to the previous box, press Shift-Tab.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the pages did not have enough room to insert the answers boxes, and so Sarah and Rebecca added extra pages to give more space to lay out the answer boxes. You'll find that many of the exercises with arithmetic working take this form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercises that involve drawing can be done on the computer using the Adobe Reader Drawing Markups. (Click Comment at the right hand side of the toolbar to see the Annotations and Drawing Markup tools).

This tiling exercise has been done using the Polygon tool. I set the colours of the polygon by right-clicking on the Polygon tool in the Drawing Markups and setting the Tool Default Properties. In this exercise, I drew the tiles in different orientations then used CTRL-C and CTRL-V to copy and paste multiple tiles. 

You can download a quick guide on using the various Adobe Reader XI drawing and commenting tools

 

On an iPad, tap to download the book and then Open it in the free Adobe Reader app

 

 

 

 

You'll then see each chapter listed: tap to open the chapter in Adobe Reader.

 

 

 

 

However, you can't type in answers and so we recommend tapping again and opening the chapter in an app that allows you to type in answers to form fields such as PDF Expert.

 

 

 

 

PDF Expert lets you type in answers, draw shapes and annotate the text, and it also has text to speech so you can read the questions.

(We used to suggest ClaroPDF for accessing PDFs with answer boxes/form fields but at time of writing it has a bug which means that when you type an answer into a box, your answer often gets copied to other answer boxes on the same page! Claro are working on a fix for this, but it's not there yet.)

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Getting into the Books for All Database from Glow

By Allan Wilson on Tuesday 7th October, 2014 at 4:51pm

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Some people have been having a problem with logging into the Books for All Scotland Database from the Books for All web site since the launch of the new version of Glow. They are getting an error message, "The username or password you entered was incorrect." Please check and try again. The solution, for the moment, is to log in to Glow BEFORE you go to the Books for All web site. You can do this by going to portal.glowscotland.org.uk and logging on with your Glow username and password, or just Google "Glow login"

If you do log in through Glow, you'll find that there is a 'Tile' for the Books for All site in the bottom right hand corner of the Shared Launch Pad, which makes it much easier to find the Books for All database.

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Something about sums

By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 1st October, 2014 at 5:51pm

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One common challenge facing many learners with additional support needs is that of writing down mathematical and arithmetic working. This can be a real difficulty for learners with handwriting problems, dyspraxia, low muscle tone, dyslexia and dyspraxia, and learners on the autistic spectrum. So the question is - how can a learner use a computer, iPad or other device to easily and quickly type out arithmetic?

We've experimented with different techniques and one that seems to work well is to set up tables in Microsoft Word. 

These are pretty simple to use: type each digit into a separate table cell and hit the arrow keys on the keyboard to move from cell to cell, or click with the mouse on the cell.

The carry or borrow rows are set to be a smaller font and shown in red so that they stand out.

To strike out a number when subtracting, select the digit and then click the ‘strikethrough’ button on the Home ribbon. 

I've created a set of 14 different Word templates for addition, subtraction and multiplication, for starters. You can download a zip file with the templates, plus a 'How to Use' guide, from the Books for All web site. If you unzip the files to a folder on your computer and then open the How to Use guide you will see thumbnails of what each template looks like, plus a link to open the template directly.

I'd welcome any feedback, comments or suggestions for improvements on these files. I've also created some PDF versions that aren't quite finished, and I'll make some OneNote templates in a similar format.

Here's how a few of them look:

Maths Grid 2

 

Multiplication TU

 

Division 1 digit 

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New TeeJay Maths books in action!

By Joanna Courtney on Wednesday 24th September, 2014 at 12:40pm

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I was in a school yesterday assessing a pupil. He is working on book 1A from the TeeJay Maths scheme. His hand writing is poor and liable to get worse with time and as the amount of writing he has to tackle increases throughout Secondary.

I showed his teacher the Books For All database and she logged in with her Glow Username and password (impressively, she knew this off the top of her head!)

We searched for TeeJay book 1A and it appeared, ready for download, along with several more of the TeeJay titles.

Within minutes, he was typing his answers into the text boxes independently and with ease and said to me at the end of the session 'I like it.' He went off to his next class happy and confident.

By the end of the day, there were several requests by other teachers for digital TeeJay titles to use with their print disabled pupils.

A great example of Books for All at its best and of real life 'Active Maths!'

A good day.

 

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SoundingBoard webinar

By Joanna Courtney on Thursday 18th September, 2014 at 5:13pm

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If you'd like to know more about the great FREE communication app SoundingBoard and how it can be used with pupils who have communication support needs, why not have a look at our recent webinar?

It covers simple editing, using digital images on buttons, sharing resources and switch access for those with physical difficulties.

Also make sure you download this FREE app onto your iPad so that you can use our app board symbolised resources which accompany the Scottish Children's Book Awards Bookbug category of shortlisted books!

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New TeeJay National 4 and 5 books on the Books for All Database

By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 10th September, 2014 at 1:07pm

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Our grateful thanks to Tom Strang and colleagues at TeeJay for providing us with PDFs of their new National 4 and 5 maths textbooks. The CfE Books N4-1, N4-2, N4+ and N5 are now available from the Books for All Scotland Database.

The books are PDF files and we have added bookmarks to aid navigation, and reader-extended them so that learners can use the comment, markup and drawing tools to type answers and complete some of the exercises on screen.

(We've not added answer boxes to these books because: there are few questions that can be answered with plain text answer boxes (the maths is more advanced); in many cases there isn't space on the page to insert the answer boxes; and we're still working on the earlier levels.)   

These books are for learners who cannot read or access the paper copies, and we've had feedback that they are helpful for learners with visual impairment, physical disability, dyslexia and ASD. 

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Scottish Children's Book Awards Bookbug Symbol Pack

By Joanna Courtney on Wednesday 3rd September, 2014 at 11:05am

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The shortlisted titles for this year's Scottish Children's Book Awards were announced on August 28th by the Scottish Book Trust. The Bookbug books are Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten by Alison Murray, Robot Rumpus by Sean Taylor and Ross Collins and Lost for Words by Natalie Russell.

CALL Scotland has produced accessible versions of the shortlisted books to allow children with print disabilities (which make it hard for them to access a standard book) to take part in the scheme.

The Bookbug books are available as Adobe PDFs, PowerPoint files and as Keynote files for iPad. You will need to have PowerPoint 97-2003 installed (or FREE PowerPoint Viewer) to play the PowerPoint stories and have Keynote installed on your iPad to play the Keynote files (£6.99 from the App Store).  Note that there are also commercial eBook versions of some of the books - if your pupil can use them, then you should go for this option.

This year CALL has also created a pack of symbolised resources to accompany the Bookbug category of short-listed books, which can be used with pupils with Additional Support Needs and those with communication difficulties. These include Go Talk 9+ overlays or printable symbol boards to go with each story, for general shared reading and for voting for the winner! There are also vocabulary sheets to go with each board to help with recording the messages.

We hope this pack will make the Book Awards into a fun and inclusive project for all your pupils to enjoy and really take part in!

As well as resources for reading the stories, we’ve provided a symbolised teaching activity and vocabulary sheet to go with each story book, adapted from the Scottish Book Trust’s Teacher Pack; Woolly Good Fun, Track Tapir down and Give Wash-bot a scare! So go on, get involved.

We’re sure that your creative minds can come up with your own activities in addition to those we’ve provided and we would LOVE to hear about what you’re doing to get your pupils involved this year!

Use them on your iPad too!

For those using iPads in the classroom or for pupils using an iPad as an AAC device, SoundingBoard app versions of the boards, using SymbolStix symbols (c) 2014 SymbolStix LLC, are also available for download. There are 5 boards in total, 1 for each story +shared reading+ voting, which all link together and are pre-recorded ready to go. So make sure your iPads have the FREE app SoundingBoard installed ready to join in the fun!

You can also watch videos of the authors reading the Bookbug books on the Scottish Book trust’s website. A nice ‘Golden Time’ activity for those darker Autumn afternoons!

Happy Reading! You must register to vote by 31st December 2014 and you have until 6th February 2015 to vote for your favourite. The winners will be announced on the 4th March 2015 at a special awards ceremony held by the Scottish Book Trust. You can register to vote here.

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Scottish Children's Book Awards

By Allan Wilson on Tuesday 2nd September, 2014 at 4:35pm

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The shortlisted titles for this year's Scottish Children's Book Awards were announced on August 28th by the Scottish Book Trust. The Book Awards scheme encourages children in schools throughout Scotland to read a selection of the best Scottish children's books of the past year and to vote for their favourite in three age categories, Bookbug Readers (3 - 7), Younger Readers (8 - 11) and Older Readers (12 - 16). Here are this year's shortlisted titles:

Bookbug Readers

  • Robot Rumpus by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Ross Collins
  • Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten by Alison Murray
  • Lost for Words by Natalie Russell

Robot Rumpus coverPrincess Penelope coverLost for Words cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Younger Readers

  • Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Pyrates Boy by E.B. Colin
  • Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens by Alex McCall

Precious coverPyrates Boy coverAttack of the Giant Robo Chickens cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Older Readers

  • Mosi's War by Cathy MacPhail
  • Dark Spell by Gill Arbuthnot
  • The Wall by William Sutcliffe

Mosi's War coverDark Spell coverThe Wall cover

 

 

 

 

 

Accessible Copies of the Shortlisted Books

CALL Scotland has produced accessible versions of the shortlisted books to allow children with print disabilities (which make it hard for them to access a standard book) to take part in the scheme. The Bookbug books are available as PowerPoint files and as Keynote files for iPad users, with options for switch access and for the text to be read out loud by a human voice. The Younger Readers and Older Readers books are primarily available as PDF files, which can be read out loud using text to speech software, e.g. Ivona MiniReader. Note that there are also commercial eBook versions of some of the books - if your pupil can use them, then you should consider this option.

CALL has also created a pack of symbolised resources to accompany the Bookbug category of short-listed books. These include Go Talk 9+ overlays or printable symbol boards for storytelling, shared reading and voting for the winner! There are also SoundingBoard app versions available for FREE download. So make sure your iPads have the FREE app SoundingBoard installed ready to join in the fun!

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Hodder Gibson Textbooks now on the Books for All Database!

By Paul Nisbet on Thursday 28th August, 2014 at 5:58pm

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For a few years now we have been distributing digital versions of Hodder Gibson textbooks on CD, and the service has become increasingly popular with schools.

We're very pleased to say that the publishers have now given us permission to make the books available for download via the Books for All Database which will be much faster and more convenient for you, as users, and also much more efficient for us (Rebecca won't need to process your paper application forms, burn CDs, and send them to you in the post.)

Over the summer we have been preparing and checking the files and Sven, the Man from Scran (Scran host the database for us), has been uploading the books and they are now all available for download.

Click on this link to browse the books.

So far, we have 217 books available including many of the National 3/4/5 textbooks and we will be adding to the set when we can get more books from Hodder.

The books are PDF files and so they can be opened and read using Windows or Mac computers, iPads, Android and Windows tablets, as well as smartphones. The books are for learners who have a print disability and who cannot read or access the standard paper books.

We are particularly pleased to have taken this next step in our relationship with Hodder Gibson, and our huge thanks to John Mitchell, Managing Director of Hodder Gibson, for his valuable support in making these files available to learners with disabilities.

It has always been our goal to work with publishers to provide files via the database, rather than re-create or scan paper books, and  it means we now have PDF versions of both Hodder and TeeJay textbooks available for download.

This term we will be asking the other Scottish school textbooks publishers (e.g. Leckie and Leckie; Bright Red) if we can make their books available to print disabled learners via the database as well. Watch this space!

Here's a comment from a teacher who got books from us on CD: "Sincere thanks for the digital copies of the National 4 & 5 Physical Geography book. My pupils were absolutely delighted to hear and see their textbooks being used with Read and Write Gold. Fantastic service."

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Helping People with Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties to Access Books

By Allan Wilson on Tuesday 29th July, 2014 at 3:11pm

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Following on from Stuart's blog on Changes to Copyright Law (10th July). we've had a series of emails seeking clarification of the practicalities of access to books for people with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. A lot of information about this is available on CALL's Books for All web site, but we thought it would be useful to summarise some of the existing information, and add some new material that is particularly relevant to adults who don't necessarily have access to the same resources that are available to schools.

How can a book be made more accessible?

Most people with dyslexia and other reading difficulties find it easier to read text if the space between lines and words can be increased and if the size of print can be increased (reducing the number of words in a line). Some fonts are easier to read than others and many people find it hard to read black text on a white background, preferring a coloured background. Different people have their own preferences so it is hard to produce one single type of paper books to meet everybody's needs - it is good to be able to personalise the book to meet your own needs, which can be done if you have an electronic copy. More information on this is available from the book, Accessible Text: Guidelines for Good Practice by Fran Ranaldi and Paul Nisbet, available free from the CALL web site.

Many people find it easier to follow a book if they can hear the text being read, particularly if the book is available in an electronic format which can be read using a high quality voice such as the Stuart and Heather computer voices available for use by people with disabilities in Scotland from the Scottish Voice web site.

There are definite advantages to being able to get a book in an electronic format!

e-Book Readers

Kindle e-book readerVarious portable e-Book readers have been developed in recent years, such as the various Kindle devices from Amazon, the Kobo (from WH Smith) and the Nook. These devices all have different facilities to support people with reading difficulties, e.g. ways to change font size, line spacing etc., and there is usually a (limited) choice of fonts, but the available options won't necessarily meet everybody's personal preferences. There's a good comparison of the various features within each device on Wikipedia.

Apps are available for reading e-Books on iPads and other tablets. These may provide additional facilities compared with the stand-alone e-Book readers. Note that you don't have to own an e-Reader to access e-Books for the device. For example, you can use the free Kindle app to read a Kindle book on an iPad, or you can download free Kindle software to read it on a PC or Mac computer. There is more information on e-Books on the Books for All web site.

Getting hold of an accessible copy of a book

As of June 1st 2014, UK Copyright Law Regulations allow the creation of an accessible copy of a book (and other copyright materials) for a person with dyslexia (or other disabilities that make it hard to read a standard book).

There are various stages you should go through to see if an accessible copy of a book is available, before you think about creating your own accessible version:

  1. Is a suitable accessible version commercially available? If the book is available in a format you need, e.g. for a Kindle you should buy this version, rather than a traditional paper copy. In addition to the various commercial sites, there are also various free sites, such as Project Gutenburg where electronic copies of out-of-copyright books can be found. More of these sites are listed on the Books for All web site. A good way to search for an e-Book is through Calibre, a very useful free program that can be used to search the main online e-Book sites for a particular title. (Calibre can also be used to translate between different e-Book formats - see the CALL Quick Guide, Using Calibre to Read eBooks and Convert EPUB files for the Kindle.).
  2. Can I get a copy of the book from a library? Many libraries now provide loan copies of e-Books that you can download and read via the OverDrive service. The OverDrive books are EPUB format which you can read on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, smart phones etc. On a computer you read the books with Adobe Digital Editions (ADE), which also reads PDF versions. For iOS, Android and e-Book readers or smart phones, you read e-Books and listen to audiobooks using the OverDrive Media Console app. The Books for All web site has more information about borrowing e-Books and the services provided by libraries in Scotland.
  3. Has somebody else already made an accessible copy? Over the years various people have been making accessible copies of textbooks for use in schools, colleges and universities, and of a few novels for general enjoyment. These copies have been made available through various databases: Books for All Scotland, Load 2 Learn, The Seeing Ear and can be downloaded from these sites, though there are restrictions on who can access the material.
  4. Can I get an accessible copy from a publisher? The process of publishing a book can involve the production of an electronic PDF file, which can be read out loud by a computer or tablet with appropriate software. These files are not necessarily 'fully' accessible, as they were designed for a different purpose, but they are still useful. Details of contacts within academic publishers are available from the JISC TechDis Publisher Lookup site. Many of the publishers listed are the same ones used by schools. Note that there may be an administrative charge for this service and it may not be possible to get older titles due to changes in print technology, or files getting lost over time.
  5. Can I make my own accessible copy? As a last resort, it is possible to make your own accessible copy from a paper copy of a book by, for example, scanning into a PDF or Word file using a flat-bed scanner with appropriate Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. If you are scanning a book with a mixture of text and pictures and you want to retain this formatting, it is usually better to create a PDF, which generally retains the appearance of a document pretty well. Word is fine if your document is mainly made up of text. Scanning a book can be a long and laborious process. If you need to scan a few books, you can save a lot of time by using a commercial scanning company, such as DDSR, but note that they will remove the spine of the books in order to run them through a high-speed scanner. You can also make an accessible copy from an intermediate file (a file ready to be made into other accessible formats), but if you want to share this you need to be what is known as an 'authorised body'. More information about scanning books and making accessible copies is available on the Books for All web site.

Once you have an electronic copy you can use appropriate software to read the book out loud. Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader both have built-in software for reading text, but there are better options. We generally recommend WordTalk for use with Word and Ivona MiniReader or NaturalReader with Adobe Reader for reading text from a PDF document.

If you have an e-Book, e.g. for a Kindle or an EPUB file for another e-Book Reader, but want to read it on a computer, then Balabolka is a great free program that you can use. This will be the subject of my next blog.

 

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Changes to Copyright Law from 1 June 2014

By Stuart Aitken on Thursday 10th July, 2014 at 10:49am

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A welcome change to the law on copyright came into force on 1 June 2014. The new Regulations affect disabled people's access not only to print materials such as books, but also music and other media including video.

Now a person is considered as disabled if the disability prevents the person from enjoying the work to the same degree as a person who does not have that disability. This is a substantial shift from the criterion that was in effect prior to 1 June 2014. Until that date copyright exemption for print materials could only be made for visually impaired people (technically, the definition was broader than visual impairment to include physical disability). For them, accessible copies could be made - large print, Braille or audio for example - without breaking the law. Prior to 1 June, it was possible to extend copyright exemption for others such as pupils with dyslexia. In order to provide this exemption, however, special licences had to be set up, or individual agreements made with publishers. The presumption now set in law is that so long as the exemption criteria are met, an accessible copy can be made.

The relaxation of copyright exemption applies not just to print but also to other kinds of work such as music, film, video. Now a disabled person, whose disability prevents him or her from enjoying the work to the same degree as someone who isn't disabled, can have an accessible copy made.

A further change in the law is also helpful. Now, if a licence term imposed by a publisher for a disabled person is more restrictive than what the law permits , then that licence term is unenforceable.

Full details of the changes to the law are set out in The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Disability) Regulations 2014 

A detailed FAQ has been provided by JISC Legal team and many of the questions and answers are applicable beyond Further and Higher Education.

Footnote

The full definition of a "disabled person" is now

- a person who has a physical or mental impairment which prevents the person from enjoying a copyright work to the same degree as a person who does not have that impairment, and “disability” is to be construed accordingly. (The only exception from this exemption is if your vision can be corrected with glasses or contacts which does seem very reasonable.)

 

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