Advisory Committees Reports, 2000

Report of the Educational Research and Development Committee

The spring meeting of the Educational Research and Development Advisory Committee was held at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday, May 15, through Thursday, May 18, 2000.

Members of the Committee who were present at this meeting:

The meeting was planned and conducted by Martha Murrell, Chair of the Educational Research and Development Committee, and Debbie Willis, Director of Educational Research for APH. Over the course of the four days of meetings, the committee had the opportunity to meet with the APH management staff, the project directors and support staff of the Educational Research Department, and the APH Publications Committee.

The two Advisory Committees also met jointly and separately in Louisville, Kentucky, on Thursday, October 12, 2000.

Commendations, 2000

The Educational Research and Development Committee commends the APH staff for:

  1. Implementing the Product Idea Submission process that encourages participation from teachers and others in the field.
  2. Developing IntelliTactiles, tactile overlays for use with Intellikeys adaptive keyboard.
  3. Developing the Moving Ahead: Storybooks for K-2 with Braille and print text accompanied by tactile illustrations.
  4. Increasing the number of products reaching completion and shortening the time it takes to move from an idea to a catalog product.
  5. Taking the initiative to improve access to print by developing large print guidelines and expanding development of Braille and tactile materials including the Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit and the Tactile Sticker Collection.

Recommendations, 2000

The Educational Research and Development Committee recommends that APH should:

  1. Hire a Multiple Disabilities Project Leader and increase the number of products under development in the area of multiple disabilities.
  2. Create personal organization products appropriate for middle school and high school students similar to those in the MasterPlan series for adults.
  3. Expand the field-testing process to include more and varied sites to assure the need and appropriateness of products.
  4. Make more uncontracted Braille and Jumbo Braille products available to better support the needs of adventitiously blinded adult Braille users.
  5. Develop and validate guidelines for use in the development of computer test workstations in order for test producers to provide accessible testing alternatives for individuals with visual impairments.
  6. Establish that there is a sufficient market for and interest in the Point of Reference Orientation Aid before proceeding further in its development. Because this is the first electronic travel aid or product in the area of orientation & mobility (O&M) to be produced by APH, it is especially important that this product be recognized as valuable and necessary by the O&M community.
  7. Assume a leadership role in promoting and supporting universal design strategies among producers/publishers of technology-based learning materials being used in schools nationwide.

Approved Products for Federal Quota Purchase

Respectfully submitted,

Martha Murrell, Chair
Educational Research and Development Committee

Report of the Publications Committee

The spring meeting of the Publications Committee was held at APH in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday, May 15, through Thursday, May 18, 2000.

Members of the Committee who were present at this meeting:

Alternate Members

The meeting was planned and conducted by Emily Leyenberger, Chair; Mary Nelle McLennan, Vice-President, Products and Services; Christine Anderson, Director, Resource Services; Jane Lyons, Director, Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration; and Bob Brasher, Director, Educational and Advisory Services. Over the course of the meeting, the committees met with APH staff and jointly with the APH Educational Research and Development Advisory Committee.

The two Advisory Committees also met jointly and separately in Louisville, Kentucky, on Thursday, October 12, 2000.

Commendations, 2000

The Publications Committee commends APH for:

  1. Cooperatively working with the field on the Scott Foresman Addison Wesley (SFAW) Math 1999 teacher materials and student manipulatives to accompany the textbook.
  2. Working with focus groups on Large Print Guidelines.
  3. The development of APHont and its distribution.
  4. Providing and moderating the Census Issues listserve.
  5. Initiating the QuarkTM-to-text conversion project.
  6. Working with AFB focus groups on production principles and guidelines.
  7. Establishment, work to date, and projected activities of the Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC) project.
  8. Following Committee guidance on the ATIC project.
  9. Movement toward electronic production of tactile graphics.
  10. Developing the Fred's Head Database using information from teachers, consumers, and rehabilitation centers.
  11. Continuing to train teachers and students to use the Louis Database.
  12. Developing the file repository and pursuing agreements with publishers.
  13. Developing the new Federal Quota census data collection system with input from those who complete the registration.

Recommendations, 2000

The Publications Committee recommends that APH:

  1. Make math, science, and late copyright date textbooks the highest priority.
  2. Publish a large print atlas in color and a revised Braille atlas.
  3. Provide large print textbooks in a point size based on research and input from the field.
  4. Allocate unused Federal Quota dollars to support the Louis Database.
  5. Provide the Publications Committee the data from the 26 Braille textbooks produced through the Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC) pilot and the opportunity to recommend future processes for ATIC.
  6. Adapt and produce the assessment tool Brigance Green, Revised (CIBS-R) using Federal Quota dollars if necessary.
  7. Provide instructions for administration in all test packets.
  8. Investigate funding the creation of software designed to produce textbooks in a variety of media with private foundation monies as was done with the Gutenberg Project.
  9. Focus on training personnel in tactile graphics, especially developing tactile graphics illustrators, and continue the high priority placed on tactile graphics efforts in electronic production.
  10. Produce tactile outline maps for world geography.
  11. Write a book for children on the fundamentals of Braille (e.g., to qualify for a Girl Scout badge, etc.).
  12. Support national recruitment efforts in the field and provide career information on the APH website to attract future Braillists, teachers, and orientation & mobility specialists.
  13. Incorporate in the products catalog tasks and materials on APH products that include national learning standards.
  14. Investigate the development of a full-page refreshable Braille display in collaboration with the industry.
  15. Develop and norm an IQ test assisted by field input and research.
  16. Investigate the VIP Software Product of J. Bliss Company that allows other products to read text as a tool for teaching reading.
  17. Through ATIC, provide training and guidelines to Braille and large print layout and production editors and assure that such information is based on sound educational and learning principles.
  18. Prioritize the 26 ATIC titles and complete them in a timely manner.
  19. Include transcribers' notes—in print for teacher use, as well as in Braille for student use—in textbooks produced through the ATIC project.
  20. Gather university research and best field practices to develop and publish guidelines and materials for students with cortical visual impairment.
  21. Re-examine the practice of producing products in a style that requires customers to assemble portions of them (e.g., On the Way to Literacy Series).
  22. Allocate additional time for the two advisory committees, Publications and Educational Research and Development, to meet jointly.

Respectfully submitted,

Emily Leyenberger, Chair
Publications Committee

Joint Report of the Publications Committee and Educational Research and Development Committee

The two advisory bodies of APH, the Publications Committee and the Educational Research and Development Committee, met jointly on several occasions during their spring meetings held at APH in Louisville, Kentucky, May 15-18, 2000. Their efforts resulted in an important first-ever set of joint commendations and recommendations.

Commendations, 2000

The APH staff is commended for:

  1. The progress of the Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC) Project, especially a) the close collaboration with a broad range of organizations to promote universal design and formatting; b) the investment of private resources; and c) the increase in number of titles produced.
  2. Initiative in developing a text extraction program for QuarkTM which is the current software of choice for the majority of textbook publishers.
  3. Progress on E-Braille, Road Runner, and the creation of software designed to produce textbooks in a variety of media.
  4. Expansion of the APH File Repository collection.
  5. Efforts to increase federal funding and impact federal legislation to benefit individuals with visual impairments.
  6. Responsiveness to the needs of the field to make the Federal Quota ordering system more user-friendly by linking the system to the Louis Database, by acknowledging user differences, by providing excellent training opportunities, and by friendly, helpful staff.
  7. Success in reducing the number of backorders and increasing the prompt delivery of materials ordered through Federal Quota.
  8. Movement into a MicrosoftTM WindowsTM environment, especially with the new Federal Quota census software.
  9. Efforts to use attractive design and color to improve the appearance of products and the new color catalogs.
  10. Use of electronic communication with the field through the improved web site and a variety of listserves.
  11. Increased creativity and product development from staff and outside sources.

Recommendations, 2000

It is recommended that APH should:

  1. Distinguish between the empirical research related to how individuals with visual disabilities learn and perceive information and the APH field-based research related to specific product development and evaluation. Initiate and support the empirical research related to the mission of the APH through grants and outsourcing. Begin by focusing on Braille reading, tactile graphics, and assessment. Continue to conduct the field-based research related to the specific products that are developed.
  2. Thoroughly review the literature related to benefits of contracted and uncontracted Braille. Support/initiate empirical research to resolve the unanswered questions. Formulate an in-house Braille production policy based on the outcomes of the research.
  3. As recommended by previous committees, immediately begin to produce textbooks in uncontracted Braille upon individual request and publicize the service to the field.
  4. Postpone the project to revise Patterns: The Primary Braille Reading Program until the empirical research results related to contracted and uncontracted Braille and other current general reading research findings related to reading and writing can be incorporated into the revisions.
  5. Develop tactile graphics production standards based on the results of BANA's Graphics Research and Standards Project (GRASP). Provide financial and other collaborative support to Phase II of the BANA tactile graphics study.
  6. Investigate the need to expand the number of data fields in the annual Federal Quota census in order to collect data that would facilitate empirical research.
  7. Contract with highly qualified individuals who are well-grounded in assessment, learning theory, test-construction, reliability, and validity issues as well as the unique needs of individuals with visual impairments in order to adapt individual psychoeducational, transitional, and adult life assessments into alternative formats.
  8. As recommended by several previous committees, produce materials in appropriate Spanish, using focus groups to identify and prioritize the needs in literacy, parent materials, orientation and mobility, and career education. Contract with bilingual education experts to determine the appropriate Spanish formats.
  9. Actively partner with publishers of educational materials such as magazines, web sites, and CD-ROMs to encourage formats accessible to children with visual impairments.
  10. Develop all APH software products to incorporate universal design elements so that the products serve as models to general software developers.
  11. Choose and prioritize initiatives and projects by using a strategic planning process based on focus group and committee input.

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