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SV: captioning question

From: Lisa Yayla <Lisa.Yayla@statped.no>
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2011 09:41:08 +0200
To: Alternate Media <altmedia@htclistserv.htctu.fhda.edu>, WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
CC: "'baldwin@austincc.edu'" <baldwin@austincc.edu>
Message-ID: <6CC588DF64F27444A0B9D05DDC2BA1A85C08599847@mail1>
Forwarding an email from Richard Baldwin,Professor of Computer Information Technology
about a drawing tool for VI STEM students.


This message is intended mainly for teachers of blind or visually impaired students in STEM courses. Of course, this is a public forum and everyone is welcome to read the message and provide comments as appropriate.

Having been the sighted teacher of a blind student for several years, I firmly believe that making it possible for blind and visually impaired people, and particularly blind and visually impaired students in STEM courses, to communicate using accurate printed and tactile graphics will improve the quality of life and the likelihood of academic success for those students.
I have written a computer program that makes it possible, for the first time in history, for blind and visually impaired people to create such graphics in an accessible and user-friendly way.
Version 0.0.8 of my drawing program for blind students is now posted and available for free and immediate download at:
Three components are necessary to accomplish the goal of widespread graphics communication among blind and visually impaired students and their teachers:
*	Availability of a robust and universally accepted graphics standard.
*	Availability of a robust, accessible, and user-friendly drawing program that allows blind people to take advantage of the SVG standard.
*	Availability of high-quality, economical, and readily available graphics embossing equipment.
A robust graphics standard - SVG
A robust and universally accepted graphics standard is already available in the form of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). See Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.1 (Second Edition)
An accessible and user-friendly drawing program - SVGDraw01
I have written and provided, free of charge, a drawing program that blind and visually impaired people can use to draw pictures. To the best of my knowledge, no other existing program provides that capability. (If such a program exists, it is a well-kept secret.) Thus, for the first time in history, your students can express themselves using graphics.
While many drawing programs exist, they are written for use by sighted people and not for use by blind people. My program is designed and written specifically for use by blind and visually impaired people.
Even though my program is still under development, it already provides the capability for STEM students to create graphics that mirror many of the figures and diagrams typically found in STEM textbooks.
A graph board on steroids
As a teacher of blind or visually impaired students, you might think of this program as bringing the old-fashioned graph board into the computer age. Students and others using this program can create both printed and tactile graphics using many of the same thought processes that they would use when constructing a "drawing" on a graph board using pushpins, rubber bands, a protractor, and a measuring stick.
For example, one student might use this program to create and send an SVG file to a friend with the message "Take a look at the cool floor plan of my new apartment."
Another student might use this program to create and send an SVG file to a college professor with the message "This is a free body diagram showing the magnitude and directions of forces F21 and F23 caused by the interactions among charges q1, q2, and q3."

Getting an immediate visual output
I will be adding new capabilities over time. However, I probably won't add capabilities that would not be useful to blind and visually impaired users. For example, the program does not, by default, produce an immediate visual output. The primary output is intended to be a printer, a graphics embosser, or both. But, if you are sighted, or if you are blind and using the vOICe sonification software to view the progress of your drawing, you can use a procedure described in the attached file to view your drawing as it progresses.
High-quality, economical, and readily-available graphics embossing equipment
This is the area where we fall short relative to achieving our widespread graphics communications goal. Although high-quality embossing equipment is available in the marketplace, it is not economical (by computer standards) nor is it readily available for the personal use of most blind students.
I view this as a supply and demand problem. Prior to the release of my program, there were no robust, accessible, and user-friendly tools that made it possible for blind people to create  accurate graphics for use with a high-quality embosser. Thus, the demand for such embossing equipment has been very limited. My hope is that by making it possible for all blind people to create accurate graphics, the demand for such embossing equipment will go up and the costs for the equipment will come down.
Even today, however, many schools, colleges, and other organizations own high-quality graphics embossing equipment that they can make available to their blind and visually impaired clientele on some basis. In those cases, there is no reason for blind people to hold back from learning to communicate using graphics.
My drawing program is freely available for you and your students to use. As a teacher, it is up to you to connect your blind and visually impaired students to those available hardware embossing resources.
The attached HTML file is the User-Instruction file for my drawing program named SVGDraw01.
Please feel free to forward this message to others who may have an interest in the use of graphics by blind and visually impaired people.
Richard Baldwin
Professor of Computer Information Technology
Austin Community College

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Received on Monday, 19 September 2011 07:43:31 UTC

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