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[IP] New service for Blind and visually impaired people ( pumpers)-long
>From an RFB&D news release:
Textbooks Go Digital for Students with Visual Impairments, Learning
Disabilities New accessible collection offers unprecedented access to the
country's most widely read textbooks for more than 102,000 students of all
29 August, 2002 (Princeton, NJ) - Students who have visual impairments or
severe learning disabilities will have unprecedented access to the contents
of textbooks and other educational materials with the nationwide (September
3, 2002) release of digitally recorded textbooks on CD from Recording for the
Blind & DyslexicB. (RFB&DB.).
An inaugural collection of more than 6,000 digitally recorded educational
titles, ranging from Harry Potter to Systems of Psychotherapy: a
Transtheoretical Analysis, will be added to RFB&D's unique collection of
91,000 accessible textbooks - the largest collection of its kind in the
For more than 50 years, RFB&D, a nonprofit organization, has been the
nation's largest educational library for students who are blind, visually
impaired or who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
"RFB&D's AudioPlusb" digitally recorded textbooks are a long-awaited
innovation in reading technology for people with disabilities who cannot read
standard print effectively," says RFB&D President & CEO Richard O. Scribner.
"They level the playing field for students with disabilities because they
offer functionalities that significantly enhance the ability to study and
To listen to RFB&D's AudioPlus textbooks, students need a portable CD player
equipped to play RFB&D's books or a standard multimedia computer equipped
with a CD-ROM drive and specialized software. Playback hardware and software
will be available through RFB&D for nonprofit sale.
"RFB&D's AudioPlus books are changing the way blind and visually impaired
textbooks by providing a high-quality audio output of books that have been
read by experts in the respective fields. The technology, combined with the
human voice, allows for the highest quality of audiobook ever produced
previously," says Cary Supalo of Bolingbrook, IL, who is pursuing graduate
studies in chemistry at Pennsylvania State University.
Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to summit Mount Everest, is an
enthusiastic supporter of digitally recorded textbooks from RFB&D. "I embrace
the technology. It's a system that will help people be more efficient and
more productive, and blind people definitely need every advantage."
?RFB&D's digitally recorded textbooks on CD allow instant access to any page,
chapter or subheading in a book with the touch of a button - there is no need
to fast-forward through and count embedded beep tones as is done with books
recorded on analog cassette tape.
The CDs hold more than 40 hours of recorded material. Therefore, the contents
of a standard textbook, which requires eight to 12 RFB&D cassettes, will now
fit onto a single CD. Portability, ease of navigation and bookmarking
capabilities make digitally recorded textbooks from RFB&D more effective
study tools for students with print disabilities
"Over the course of its history, RFB&D has transitioned its technology to
keep pace with the needs of its members and evolving technologies. RFB&D
updated its library from vinyl disks to reel-to-reel tapes, then to the
analog cassette tapes and electronic text that now comprise its complete
collection," says Scribner. "These recorded books are available to RFB&D's
102,000 members in kindergarten through graduate school, and to any other
student with a certified disability that makes reading difficult or
RFB&D's AudioPlus digitally recorded textbooks have already been used in 89
schools nationwide that took part in a pre-release pilot program. The
students and educators participating in RFB&D's pre-release product placement
program provided important feedback about the use of RFB&D's AudioPlus
textbooks, and their input has been used to continue to refine and enhance
Vivian Shelton, a teacher at North Dade (FL) Middle School who has been
piloting RFB&D's AudioPlus in her classroom, said, "I have seen my kids
motivated through digital audio [recordings]. When you work with kids who are
underachievers, reluctant readers, reluctant learnersb&when you see them
excited and learning, it's an awesome sight."
RFB&D has been outfitting its 32 studios nationwide with new digital
recording facilities and training its 5,400 volunteers in the digital
recording process. As the transition continues, RFB&D is converting the most
frequently requested recorded textbooks in its CV Starr Learning Through
Listeningb" Library in the Princeton, NJ, headquarters to digital format. RFB&
D's Classic Cassettesb" will also remain available as long as there is a
demand for them. Offering RFB&D's AudioPlus digitally recorded textbooks is
just another way for RFB&D to serve its members by providing a wider choice
of formats to meet their needs.
In addition to developing state-of-the-art reading technologies that make
educational materials more accessible to students with disabilities, RFB&D
has also expanded its mission to offer effective strategies to help maximize
the benefits of auditory learning.
RFB&D's national Educational Outreach Program targets students with print
disabilities, their teachers and parents, to make RFB&D's products and
educational strategies more widely known and available. While RFB&D
historically has offered individual memberships to students, RFB&D's Learning
Through Listeningb" Institutional Memberships provide accessible textbooks and
teacher training to schools and districts to help educators integrate
recorded textbooks into daily curricula. More than 4,000 schools have
partnered with RFB&D through this program.
For more information about RFB&D's AudioPlus digitally recorded textbooks,
call RFB&D at 866-RFBD-585 or visit RFB&D's award-winning accessible website
at www.rfbd.org/ap.htm. Interviews with students, parents, teachers and other
experts in the fields of education and disabilities who are familiar with RFB&
D's AudioPlus books can be arranged by calling Morgan Roth at 609-520-8095.
Note: RFB&D has locations in Arizona; California; Colorado; Connecticut;
Washington, DC; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Kentucky; Massachusetts;
Michigan; New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania; Tennessee; Texas; and
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