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Responses to the Report of the Educational Products Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2005

The Committee recommends that APH:

  1. Project Leaders complete and email responses to the protocol questions prior to the arrival of the EPAC committee. Additional documents can be presented at the group meetings.

    Status: Not Under Consideration at This Time

    Brief Clarification: Protocol questions are designed to be a starting point for exchange and interchange of ideas and discussion, rather than a written report. Any additional documents presented to individual EPAC members during the meeting will be made available to ALL EPAC members.

    Contact: Ralph Bartley

  2. Consider having a project leader only at the beginning of the process for producing a series of books that already have an established format (e.g., Wright Group books, trade books, and leveled readers).

    Status: Not Under Consideration at This Time

    Brief Clarification: This recommendation was withdrawn by the Committee during the fall 2005 EPAC meeting.

    Contacts: Ralph Bartley/Jane Thompson

  3. Review each project area to determine if research assistant support is needed to move priority products forward more quickly.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: All requests for research assistance were reviewed with the project leaders during the budgeting process and assigned according to need. A research assistant position that was vacant during part of the FY2005 year was filled.

    Contacts: Ralph Bartley/John Aicken

  4. Maintain priority and timeline for the production of the Patterns Primary Braille Reading Program revision.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: Building on Patterns, Kindergarten Level is on target for availability in the Fall, 2006. Building on Patterns, 1st Grade Prototype field testing is planned for Fall, 2006.

    Contacts: Ralph Bartley/Eleanor Pester

  5. Develop a unique identifier for software upgrades to indicate Windows 95-98-2000 or XP compatibility.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: A process was established to change the catalog number for software products when the minimum system requirements change. Two programs, Talking Typer for Windows and Math Flash, have already had their numbers changed to reflect the fact that the minimum requirements went from Windows 95 to Windows 98. Each time the minimum requirements of any software change, a new catalog number will be issued.

    Contacts: Ralph Bartley/Larry Skutchan

  6. Develop additional web cast trainings, with topics to be based on solicited input from the field.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: Web cast trainings are provided at the request of EOTs and others in the field. Topic selection is driven by requests from the field, by the release of new APH products, and are solicited through the APH News and other venues from time to time. When appropriate, Field Services staff members and others are offering additional web casts when on-site training is cost prohibitive or conflicts in travel schedules arise.

    Contacts: Janie Blome/Maria Delgado

  7. Expansion of resources and APH products added to the CVI web page.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: There is an ongoing effort coordinated by the APH Project Leader for CVI and the APH Webmaster from the Communications Department to monitor and expand the CVI web page.

    Contact: Ralph Bartley/Chris Roman

  8. Expand the use of focus groups to help new project leaders set priorities.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: New project leaders have been hired for Early Childhood and Core Curriculum. A focus group was held in June, 2005 for Early Childhood. The Core Curriculum Project Leader has utilized information from previous focus groups for reading and math projects. As budget permits she will convene focus groups for core curriculum areas.

    Contacts: Bob Brasher/Ralph Bartley

  9. Continue the collaborative process with the medical community in the areas of early identification of children with: blindness or visual impairments, and CVI.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: Although ALL project leaders will collaborate with the medical community when appropriate, the following are two examples of this collaboration during this fiscal year. First, Babies Count continues to grow and a presentation has been submitted to a major medical professional group. The presenters are collaborating on this presentation and they are: Dr. Paul Rychkowlski, M.D., Dr. Deborah Hatton, and Burt Boyer. Secondly, APH staff collaborated with the medical profession in the development of the product CVI Perspectives.

    Contacts: Ralph Bartley/Chris Roman/Burt Boyer

  10. Review the different processes in the production of tactile graphics, looking for opportunities for standardization, both in house and with other organizations. One example of collaboration with a product is the Promising Practices for Transcribing Early Literacy Textbooks.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: All project leaders are finding opportunities for collaboration both in house and with other organizations. Following are examples of this work during the past year. The Tactile Graphic Project Leader continued conversations with staff at the University of Washington concerning their latest software development used to automate tactile graphic design for eventual output on the TIGER Embosser.

    APH’s new Periodic Table of the Elements reference chart was reviewed by members of the BANA Committee for standardization purposes.

    1. Different tactile graphic processes, such as mass production of microcapsule paper displays, are being explored by APH Production and Engineering staff.
    2. An improved production technique for producing dual print/tactile graphics for educational products was implemented by Tom Poppe, Pattern/Model Maker, for recent products such as World at Your Fingers and Scattered Crowns.
    3. Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, developed a new product call StackUps: Spatial Reasoning Using Cubes and Isometric Drawings which might serve in the future as a standard for presenting 3-dimensional displays of stacked cube arrangements. The product is being field tested at this time.

    Contacts: Ralph Bartley/Jane Thompson/Karen Poppe/Fred Otto

  11. Review the outsourced visual graphics process to ensure a more efficient, timely system.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: Following the 2005 spring meeting of EPAC, a process was begun to put out for bid the graphic design contract for the Research Department and the Communications Department. Internal meetings were held and based on staff input a bid package was submitted.

    Included in this package were requirements for new reporting procedures not only for costs, but also for deliverables. In addition a revised process for requesting and approving job tickets (the equivalent of a purchase requisition) was established. The successful bidder was our former graphic design firm, and although not all issues are worked out to all project leaders satisfaction, there is improvement.

    Contacts: Ralph Bartley/Bernadette Mudd/John Aicken

  12. Project leaders collaborate to consider the use of a product with other age or ability groups. Additional uses may need field testing with other populations for new manuals or addendums.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: All project leaders have been advised of this recommendation. Recent examples include two activities in the area of deafblindness. First, a review of the On the Way to Literacy Handbook product was conducted in collaboration with experts in the area of deafblindness in order to determine if it was appropriate to include this population in the target audience for the product. Also, in the revision of our line of IntelliTactile products, we are exploring ways to increase usage by persons who are deafblind.

    Contact: Ralph Bartley

  13. Develop a Product Review banner on the APH website to feature a product each month and include:
    1. Comments from the field that can provide additional instructional uses and opportunities for product updates
    2. Archive the results for ongoing reference

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: We are developing a product comments process that will use the APH website and the existing Fred’s Head Companion comment posting function.

    Initial plans are to place a request for comments about a product on the APH site each month to coincide with the release of the APH News. A link would be provided that will take users to the Fred’s Head Companion blog page describing the product. These pages already have a built-in comments link that allows users to post comments and read previous posts. These posts can then be archived by being added to the main Fred’s Head Database record about the product.

    Contacts: Scott Blome/Malcolm Turner/Michael McCarty

  14. Continue development of basic science reference materials used across curricula.
    Examples: tables and the solar system with astronomy, developed like the new periodic table of elements

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments, a handbook and checklists, (Kitchel & Hoffmann) will be in production by the fall of 2006 at the latest. Work on a compilation of about 100 life science tactile images is underway (Otto & Hoffmann).

    Contacts: Ralph Bartley/Jeanette Wicker/Karen Poppe/Rosanne Hoffman

  15. Review and enhance the Transition Tote System related to the needs of students to develop auditory learning skills essential in postgraduate learning, assessment and employment. Apply to each of the three versions.

    Status: Under Consideration

    Brief Clarification: The Transition Tote System is slated for a revision during the next year or two. A new section could include didactic information and practice exercises regarding students rights under IDEA and student responsibilities under the ADA (i.e., exercises to help students prepare for their active role in identifying disabilities and needs after they complete high school). Additional practice exercises could teach students to process auditory material more effectively.

    Before major revisions of the Transition Tote System are undertaken, preliminary research may be required to determine the quantity and structure of materials needed to help students effectively make the shift from tactile/visual to auditory reading. It might be more viable to develop a product specifically focused on this issue rather than to include it in an already content-packed system.

    Contacts: Ralph Bartley/Terrie Terlau