[teknoids] If gadget is required, accommodations must be made ...

Sparks, Michael Michael.Sparks at law.lsu.edu
Thu Jul 1 18:21:35 EDT 2010

I think the NFB's effort is in anticipation of where this technology is
going, not where it is. Right now the print edition of a text book is
the "base product." Ebook, Kindle, large print, braille, and spoken-word
editions are just derivatives of that base and with the exception of
extensive graphic content they don't lose much if anything in the
translation. As such I don't think there can be any objection to the
availability of a Kindle edition simply because the Kindle is not
universally accessible. 

The problem will arise when the primary product is an ebook containing
significant content or features that don't convert well to the
traditional accessible formats. I'm thinking of features like
dynamic/interactive content and excercises, multimedia, and extensive
hyperlinking. At that point and when those features are a part of the
course material, then there's a real disadvantage to anyone using one of
the alternate forms. The current Kindle is incapable of most of those
enhancements anyway, but the iPad is not. I think the NFB's real concern
is with this "textbook of the future" which goes beyond what can be
printed in ink or braille or recorded in voice format. The NFB wants
these issued addressed in the formative stage, not as an after-the-fact

That's my take on it.
Michael Sparks
michael.sparks at law.lsu.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu
[mailto:teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Nathan
Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2010 11:15 AM
To: Teknoids
Subject: Re: [teknoids] If gadget is required, accommodations must be
made ...

Not to start a flamewar, but I don't see how a pilot like this was
somehow maliciously excluding the disabled. As has been stated before,
the methods used by current blind and low vision students isn't
changing, but these techniques (like digital copies/OCR scans) are often
more convent than having to haul and use standard textbooks. 

Sure, students with disabilities *using* said devices would be at a
disadvantage, but why would they use them over the current techniques
anyway?  There would be no tangible net gain for them.  If anything,
these pilots would be bringing non disabled students to a state where
blind and low vision students are today. Having search, bookmark and
ease of portability, same as with a digital copy of a book on a PC or

I have to object.  It really does seem like the Fed killing a perfectly
viable pilot because of external lobbies and/or overreacting to the
rally cry of "It's not accessible/ADA compliant!". 

On Jul 1, 2010, at 11:58 AM, "John Quentin Heywood"
<heywood at american.edu> wrote:

> On Thursday 01 July 2010, Tracey wrote:
>> Maybe I'm not cynical enough, but I think this is just the Feds 
>> reminding institutions of higher learning that e-readers are covered 
>> by the ADA
> I see it as the Feds smacking Amazon for making an ereader that only 
> has speech capability if it is in the ebook itself, and more 
> damningly, has no speech in its menus and navigation, making it 
> absolutely useless for folks with sight issues. The iPad, however, is 
> fully functional, just lacking academic content.
> --
> John Quentin Heywood
> heywood at american.edu
> <signature.asc>
> <ATT00001..txt>

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