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ATU224 – Unified English Braille – UEB – Ranking of States on

first_imgPodcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Unified English Braille – Jennifer Dunnam | www.BrailleAuthority.orgRanking of States on Employment of People with Disabilities http://buff.ly/1VNENoNWhy You Should Upgrade (On Your Own Terms) http://buff.ly/1K9N6HMCircuit Scribe Official Store: Teach Electronics by Drawing! http://buff.ly/1EOJ9InApp: Time Zones by Jared Sinclair http://buff.ly/1EOwXHs——————————Listen 24/7 at www.AssistiveTechnologyRadio.comIf you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/INDATA——-transcript follows ——JENNIFER DUNNAM: Hi, this is Jennifer Dunham, and I’m the Manager of Braille Programs for the National Federation of the Blind, and this is your Assistance Technology Update.WADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Welcome to episode number 224 of Assistive Technology Update. It’s scheduled to be released on September 11 of 2015.Today I’m excited to talk with Jennifer Dunnam about Unified English Braille and some of the changes that are rolling out related to that. We have a ranking of the states with the best employment rates of people with disabilities; some advice on why you should or maybe not upgrade your computer; and an app called Time Zones that makes it a little easier to organize your cross-time-zone work relationships.We hope you’ll check us out on the web at www.eastersealstech.com, shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAproject, or give us some feedback; give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124.***There’s a new top 10 list out from RespectAbilityUSA.com that lists the rankings of states by implement of people with disabilities, so the most people with disabilities employed. Topping the list is North Dakota, moving down the list is Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Utah, Colorado, and New Hampshire. This report is about 10 pages long and it goes through some of those top states and talks about the implement initiatives that are happening there and sort of what’s behind the curtains in these states where employment seemed to be improving. At the bottom of the list, by the way, are Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and West Virginia. Obviously some work to be done there. I’ll pop a link in the show notes over to this report. You can look at the data and look at the narrative and see what’s happening in various states in terms of the number of people with disabilities who are working.***There’s kind of a cool article over at the tidbits e-newsletter. It’s all about Apple news. It’s written by Adam Engst. The title is why you should upgrade, and then in parentheses it says on your own terms. It’s an interesting article and is a debate that we have out here at Easter Seals Crossroads on a pretty regular basis. Should you upgrade when your software says that you should? This is timely because the new season of Apple upgrades are getting ready to happen. This is an Apple-focused article, but a new version of OS X is coming out, a new version of iOS is coming out, a new version of the Watch OS is coming out. Adam talks in the article about should you make those upgrades the minute that they happen. I tell you that I am a guy who usually does the most of the upgrades when they happen. I’ve only been bitten a couple of times.He talks in the article about the fact that there are lots of people who resist those upgrades until the very last minute. He talks about the fact that people are still using Snow Leopard, which is a Mac operating system that has been around for several years now. He talks about the fact that some people hold out and don’t want to do those upgrades because they don’t like the new look or the new function of the new software. He says in the article, “None of you are wrong. You may be merely postponing a world of upgrade hurt, but you are not wrong.”And then he talks about the reasons that you might want to consider upgrading, at least at some point. He mentions the fact that, at some point, you’re going to have new hardware. Old computers eventually do die out, and the new functionality you’re looking for is going to go away. There are still dial-up modems, but I don’t know the folks are using those on a widespread basis.He also talks about the fact that community knowledge and technology tools fade away. So the Google Groups that you go to to find discussions about the technology may not be relevant or exist in a few years. He talks about the fact that eventually apps come to a point where they are no longer upgradable. There are apps that just have to be upgraded to work or they are not available anymore if you tend to work on older systems. He talks about the importance of security vulnerabilities and how the upgrades usually include some patches related to security.And then he also talks about one here at the end, technology makes life better. His point is that we use this technology because it enhances our lives, and these upgrades, over time, do add up to more, better stuff. It’s a well thought out, very good article from Adam Engst over at tidbits.com. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes and ask you to think about, should you upgrade or do you wait.I would love to hear from you on our listener line about your thoughts related to this. I’ll put you in the next show if you have some good comments. The phone number is 317-721-7124. Give me some feedback. Do you wait? Do you upgrade? How does that go for you?***Not long ago, I got a note from Becca Clockers — who is OT Mommy Needs Her Coffee. She’s been a guest on the show and is a listener — about an interesting thing called Circuit Scribe. I’m going to play a clip here that maybe helps you understand a little bit about what it is.SPEAKER: We thought that we could do better. We wanted to make building circuits as simple as doodling on a piece of paper. No breadboards and no wiring required.SPEAKER: So we invented Circuit Scribe, the world’s first ballpoint pen that draws electric circuits instantly. We are part of Jennifer Lewis’s research lab at the University of Illinois. We’ve invented a water-based non-toxic conductive ink that right on flexible substrates like paper. You don’t have to shake or squeeze the pen. The ink dries instantly so you don’t have to wait 24 hours for a functioning circuit. Circuit Scribe allows you to create low-cost, high-quality electronics instantly. We’ve also developed a wide variety of magnetic components that snap right into your circuits. No gluing, no soldering, just plug and play.SPEAKER: This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way circuits are taught in schools. It takes circuits out of the textbook and into the imagination. Circuit Scribe is about learning through creating. You can create simple circuits using nothing but paper and a small battery for some education projects, or for some very dynamic refrigerator art. The possibilities of circuit scribe really are limitless.WADE WINGLER: So I’m going to stick a link in the show notes so you can look at the video. It’s really cool to see how this thing works. It’s as simple as they are using a marker to draw circuits on paper and teach kids about how they work. They do some pretty fancy stuff. It also has the ability to integrate into some Arduino units so that you can do even more fancy things with those.It was originally a Kickstarter campaign that was supposed to raise $85,000. It raised almost $700,000. It’s now for sale and available. I looked at the website, and they tend to range from about $25 for a real simple kit all the way up to about $900 for a total maker classroom kit with all kinds of bells and whistles. If it’s your job to teach kids the basics of electronics or science or just circuits, lots of stuff can be built from that knowledge. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes so that you can learn more about Circuit Scribe. Thanks, Becca, for the tip.***Each week, one of our partners totaled happening in the ever-changing world of apps, so here’s an App Worth Mentioning.WADE WINGLER: For today’s App Worth Mentioning, I’m going to talk about an app that doesn’t exactly fit into the category of assistive technology but has been incredibly useful for me. It’s called Time Zones, and it’s by a gentleman named Jared Sinclair. It’s available only on iOS. It’s free with ads, or you can pay $4.99 to get rid of the ads with an in-app purchase.Here’s the thing about it. As you guys know, I interview people from all around the world on this show, and that means different time zones. I have to be able to figure that out. That’s exactly what this app does. It lets you set your local time zone based on your phone’s clock, and that it allows you to pick several different places around the world, different cities, where you communicate most frequently. Then it keeps a running tab of what time is it here in your home time zone and what time is it in places around the world. For example, I have Sydney, Tokyo, Brownsville Texas and Honolulu Hawaii listed.In addition to having the ability to have regular time so that you can keep track of, it also does a thing called a quick check. So for example, if I knew that I was going to have a meeting next Monday, and I wanted to schedule it at 8 o’clock my time, I can go and tell it Monday and 8 o’clock my time, and then choose a location and it will tell me what time it is in that area of the world so that I would know whether or not it was a reasonable time to make that meeting. So it’s a really handy system.And the other thing that I really like about it is it’s very Voiceover friendly. In fact, I’ve got a quick clip here where you can hear how Voiceover on iOS handles this time zone app.SIRI: Time zones, time zones. Wednesday, September 9, 10:38 AM, Indianapolis. Options button. Sydney, 12:38 PM, 14 hours ahead. Tokyo, 11:38 PM, 13 hours ahead. City of London, 3:38 PM, five hours ahead. Brownsville, 93:9 AM, one hour behind. Honolulu, 4:39 AM, six hours behind.WADE WINGLER: So there you have it. It’s a handy app to figure out that only what time zone you’re in but what others are in, and if you’re educating students about time zones, this would be a great app to show that. So again, it’s available only on iOS. It’s free with ads, and I have to confess the ads are kind of annoying so I paid $4.99 to get rid of them and have the app in an a- free kind of way. I’ll pop a link in the show notes to where you can learn more about this handy little app.***Let’s face it. Braille is important. Braille literacy is important, and having access to braille is critical when you talk about education and information and employment for people who are blind and braille users. When I have had friends and colleagues recently saying, hey, UEB, January, I really didn’t know what they meant the first couple of times that somebody said that to me. I knew that UEB meant Unified English Braille , but I really didn’t know much more than that.I thought it would be appropriate and important for me and my understanding to have somebody who knows this stuff really well come onto the show and talk with us about UEB. I am excited to have Jennifer Dunnam who, by day, is the Manager of Braille Programs for the National Federation of the Blind, and currently the chair of the Braille Authority of North America, or BANA. First of all, Jennifer, are you still on the line?JENNIFER DUNNAM: I am.WADE WINGLER: Good. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day there at the NFB to talk with us about UEB.JENNIFER DUNNAM: Thank you. Happy to have the opportunity. Thanks for having me on.WADE WINGLER: So before we jump into UEB, tell me a little bit about yourself, your day job, your background, and how you got to your position at NFB and then your role with BANA.JENNIFER DUNNAM: Sure. I’ll be happy to talk about that. First and foremost, I am a lifetime braille reader. I started learning braille as a young child and have been using it ever since. I also happen to be a certified braille transcriber, which I worked on during my college years and sometime afterward, and I actually had jobs where I was coordinating the production doing braille describing.So currently as the Manager of Braille Programs for the NFB, I coordinate the courses that lead to certification for transcribers and proofreaders under a contract that we have with the National Library Service for the Blind. I am also an avid user of refreshable braille. I’ve been really pretty fascinated to kind of follow the evolution over time of how braille has become available to us in different ways. I use refreshable braille quite a lot as well as the slate and stylist too.WADE WINGLER: So then that sort of makes sense then that you might be involved with the Braille Authority of North America. You recently have been installed as chair, is that right?JENNIFER DUNNAM: That’s correct. My term as chair started this past January. I’ve actually been the National Federation of the Blind’s representative on BANA since about 2004.WADE WINGLER: Excellent. So Unified English Braille . Tell me a little bit about it, why is it important, what was it like before, and what might it be like afterward.JENNIFER DUNNAM: Sure. Unified English Braille started back in — I would say it’s real origin started back in the late 80s. Back when it became more common for us to need, to represent, to computerize notation for computer programs and braille. At that time, a code was developed specifically for computer program notation, which is called the Computer Braille Code. That came about in the late 80s. And then people started kind of saying, wait a minute, we’re getting a lot of different codes here. They are may be conflicting with one another. They are making it so that people like to learn a lot of different things. Maybe we should think about how we can make things a bit more straightforward, unify them, and bring them together.In 1991, the Braille Authority of North America began to work on this as a research project. And then the following year, the International Council on English Braille became involved because the problem was not just one in the United States. It was a problem in all English-speaking countries. The International Council on English Braille has worked on the code for a number of years since then. It is basically an update to the current literary braille code that we have now. It has been primarily developed by braille readers, and it’s been an ongoing effort.So the next kind of landmark in the chronology is in 2004, when the International Council on English Braille resolved or put out a resolution saying that the code was complete enough to be considered for adoption in the member countries of the International Council on English Braille. So since then a number of countries have adopted it. It was adopted by the United States in 2012.Since November 2012, there’s been a great deal of planning and interceptor built so that it could actually be implement it in this country, because it’s more than just, all right, we are making the change to the braille code, let’s start using the new code. There’s a lot that has to happen, instruction and training material need to be developed, and people need to learn more about it, software need to be updated, etc. That is been an ongoing effort.Now, what is the code like? Lots of people have this question. There are — in some ways it’s not very different, but that’s not to say that a braille reader would not pick up something written in UEB and not notice it. One of the main features that people talk about is that some of the contractions are eliminated. In our sort of current English Braille American Edition , we have 189 contractions. Well, 180 of those will still be used. Nine of them will no longer be used. The reason for that – and I really should back up a bit and talk about the reasoning. The reason for that is to make room too, number one, be able to add new symbols to the code as needed. Because print is all the time changing and updating and new things become common in print. So we need a way to make sure that we can make those changes in braille as well without creating conflict within the code and thereby creating ambiguity for the reader as to what something actually says, because it could be more than one thing. By eliminating those nine contractions, we are making room to be able to do that and to clarify some things related to capitalization. I can make in hour presentation about this part. I don’t think you want that right now.One thing I can say is I have been trying — because I’ve tried to lead this and help people understand this, I don’t like to do something that I’m not — I don’t like to ask people to do something that I’m willing to do. So for about the last three years, I have been reading and writing exclusively in Unified English Braille after decades of reading and writing in English Braille American Edition. Now it pretty much comes out for me when I write something, it’s going to come out in Unified English Braille . I have made that sort of threshold switch to where my mind works in the Unified English Braille .The epiphany happen for me, I think, a couple of years ago when, in one of the NFB summer programs, we had a young lady who came up to me and said how do I write my email address on my braille note? And that should be a simple question, but when I thought about it later and broke it down, it turned out that I had to ask her six different questions in order to be able to give an accurate answer to her question. That is because, if you’re going to write it just in your document, you might write it differently than if you’re going to use it like into a login field, because for a login field you might need to use Computer Braille Code because of the ambiguity of the current code. So now, because we won’t need to switch to a whole new code to do a web address which is a ubiquitous or email address, I would just be able to answer the question without having to do a whole follow-up series.WADE WINGLER: That’s interesting. My silly question is we didn’t get a smiley face with the new code, right? There is not a braille symbol for an emoticon?JENNIFER DUNNAM: The emoticons are not necessarily a part of UEB. They probably could be added because one of the features is it’s accessible and you can add symbols. But we do have a way to show — you know how you use a colon and a right parenthesis, we do have a way to show that accurately now, whereas currently in English Braille American Edition the left and right parentheses are the same symbol. You wouldn’t be able to tell if it was a frown or a smile.WADE WINGLER: That’s a total bummer. That’s funny. Jennifer, this is all taking effect January 1 of 2016, right? There’s a deadline associated with that date?JENNIFER DUNNAM: That is the target date by which most of braille should be produced in Unified English Braille . I should make clear, though, that’s not — there’s not going to be a switch flipped on that day that says the braille police are coming to get you if you’re still using English Braille American Edition. It’s that going to happen that way. But that is a sort of tip of a point by which if braille is going to be produced, it’s generally going to be coming out in Unified English Braille . Regarding education, every state has sort of different ways that they adopt textbooks and roll things out, so it’s going to go at different paces in different places. But having a target date helps everybody to coordinate as much as possible.WADE WINGLER: That makes sense. Talk to me about how this is going to impact the training of braille and how it’s going to impact braille-based computer technology like refreshable braille panels, and bosses, and things like that.JENNIFER DUNNAM: That’s really good question. A couple of years ago, I got a letter that particularly struck me. It was from someone who is pretty angry that we were talking about making changes to braille. The person was saying, you know, braille was developed for blind people so that we could communicate among ourselves and write notes to ourselves on our paper. Why are people messing with it? Leave it alone. The thing is that, these days, for braille to be our primary medium of reading and writing, we need to be able to have braille be integrated into our digital technology, because as you very well know, much of the reading that everybody does is off of a computer screen, which means either by speech or by refreshable braille display. We are doing a lot of writing that way as well. We are not passing notes in class as much as we are sending text messages and sending email. So the ability to be able to write in braille on our refreshable braille device and have it back translate accurately is one of the big benefits of Unified English Braille, and the ability, like I was just talking about earlier, to get you smiley face and have it turn out correctly, but obviously there are more important things that need to render accurately on our refreshable braille devices as well.It’s a way to make sure that braille can be an integral part, not just, you know, this sort of the dichotomy that sometimes people don’t talk about. We love technology but we still need braille. That’s actually not really a separation that there should be. Braille is very much, and should be, very much a part of technology. Let’s make that happen better.WADE WINGLER: That makes sense. I understand there was a little bit of a sticky wicket related to math notation. Can you give me just a little bit of what happened there?JENNIFER DUNNAM: I can say this. The Unified English Braille does have symbols and a method for doing mathematics as a part of it. It’s a complete code. It has all of that in it. However, in the United States, there has been very strong support for retaining the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation which is the way that we have done mathematics in braille for lots of years. BANA, as part of its adoption, has said that the official codes in the United States are to be Unified English Braille to replace literary braille, that Nemeth code is being maintained, and the international phonetic alphabet and the music braille code are being maintained. I’m afraid I’m forgetting one off the list. But they are all still official codes. The stickiness at least right now is what is going to actually be the standard in what’s actually going to be the educational standard and what not. That’s an ongoing discussion. It is difficult, and I think people who know about the National Federation of the Blind know that we have passed a resolution with respect to it, and people can go to our website under resolutions and see that.All of us on the BANA board are committed to braille and committed to making sure that our kids and blind people of all walks of life are able to use braille and get a good education, so confident that we are going to be able to work something out that’s going to be reasonable for braille and it’s going to move things forward.WADE WINGLER: Good. That makes complete sense. What’s going to happen with old materials? Obviously I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of braille books reprinted, and maybe they will be. I assume new technology or updated technology will just convert electronic text into UEB. Is there going to be any issue with old materials versus new materials? What’s that going to look like?JENNIFER DUNNAM: That’s another very good question that comes up a lot. People say, gosh, what are we going to do with all the other material? The fact is that the differences aren’t so great that a person who starts by learning Unified English Braille and picks up a book that was in pre-UEB is not going to be able to read it. We’ve still got some times in our braille libraries books that were produced in grade one and a half, which has some different ways of doing contractions and what not. We looked at that and said that’s an old fashion braille. This is probably going to end up being more like that. You’re not going to see a lot of effort going into reprinting books that have already been done in braille because there is such a small fraction of actual books that even get done in braille. I think our education and our work with adults who are learning braille, to let people understand, here are some contractions that aren’t used anymore but you might see them in your braille. That’s how it is. It will be fine. We’ve heard anecdotally from other countries that the kids, especially, are the ones that have the least problems looking back and forth between pre-UEB and UEB braille.WADE WINGLER: That sort of makes sense. I suppose some folks might run into some pre-UEB braille and just wax nostalgic for a moment.JENNIFER DUNNAM: Absolutely.WADE WINGLER: We’ve got about a minute left in the interview. I believe, and I know that you believe, that braille literacy is supremely important. What is the impact of UEB going to be on braille literacy?JENNIFER DUNNAM: All I can say is what I hope about this. We have seen a great deal of interest and a renewed interest on the part of people who are signing up to become braille transcribers. We are seeing a lot more conversation around braille which is a very good thing. I hope that the increased awareness and increase conversation will make everybody who has a role to play in making sure we have people who are literate in braille to kind of come together and work together to make sure that we do increase the braille literacy. It’s not where we needed to be yet. We have very low rates of braille literacy, and we need to all work together to increase that. Literacy is critical.WADE WINGLER: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. Jennifer, if folks want to learn more about UEB, if they want to learn about how the adoption is happening, how to become more involved, what would you recommend in terms of websites, contact information, that kind of thing?JENNIFER DUNNAM: I would recommend people visit the website of the Braille Authority of North America, which is www.brailleauthority.org. There you will find contact information for the BANA chair. You will also find information about how to sign up for a listserv that BANA has which is called BANA Announced. It’s a one-way listserv so you can get announcements about things that are happening and releases that BANA puts out. There are instructions for how to sign up for that list there. There’s also information. There are simple document. There’s information about where to get training materials. There’s a wealth of information on the website.WADE WINGLER: Jennifer Dunnam is the Manager of Braille Programs for the NFB and currently the chair of the Braille Authority of North America. Jennifer, thank you so much for being with us today.JENNIFER DUNNAM: It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity.WADE WINGLER: Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124, shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. Looking for a transcript or show notes from today’s show? Head on over to www.eastersealstech.com. Assistive Technology Update is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more shows like this, plus much more, over at accessibilitychannel.com. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana. Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU228 – iOS 9 and Its Impact on People with Disabilities | Luis Perez | Free AT Webinars, Insulin and Blood Sugar Monitoring on Your Smart Phone, Robots and AutismOctober 9, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU188 – Wheel Life & The Bally Foundation, Look at Me app for Autism, Applevis’ Golden Apple Awards, Birdhouse for AutismJanuary 2, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU182 – Roger Voice, KNFB Reader, RESNA’s new Singapore Conference, Legislative Update From Audrey Busch, Drive About Number Neighborhood AppNovember 21, 2014In “Assistive Technology Update”last_img read more

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