Fast Forward Digital Media

NIMASOne of my first posts to this blog related to the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). NIMAS is mandated under IDEA ’04 and is a partial acquisition system for getting Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) to kids who need them – in a timely manner. Maine is participating in a 15-state consortium to develop work flows and training materials that will support schools in the implementation of this law. That work is well underway and information will be disseminated over the course of the next year (district administrators have been notified of NIMAS and the initial steps of compliance).


While NIMAS is a highly technical standard that is intertwined in legislative mumbo jumbo, its intent is as pure as our own individual pursuits to equip kids with curriculum materials in formats that they need or prefer, such as digital text, audio, Braille, or enlarged print. I don’t pretend to frequently agree with what the Feds choose to pour money into, but this funded statute has resulted in some innovative and emergent tools that heretofore have been reserved as accommodations for students with print disabilities. The provision of books in flexible online interfaces for all students is emerging. A compelling example is a creation by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). Called UDL Editions, current texts include “Call of the Wild” by Jack London, Shakespeare’s “18th Sonnet,” Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the Gettysburg Address, and a couple of books related to coyotes (not sure why coyotes…my first thought was supplements to Call of the Wild but then again Buck yearned to be a wolf…).

I realize that literature in the public domain has long been available on the Web in digital format. But creations like UDL Editions extend accessibility to include features that promote literacy skills, regardless of reading ability. Supports are scaffolded into “maximum,” “moderate,” and “minimal,” and include features such as “Stop and Think” prompts, highlighting of critical features, models, hints, and immediate feedback on responses. And Texthelp has donated its speech synthesis program to the site, including topic fact-finder, dictionary, and English-Spanish word translation.


Lots more good stuff to share – stay tuned!

1 comment so far

  1. Nancy Hudak on

    Great information; thanks for keeping us up-to-date!

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