Dolphin Newsletter - April 2005
- Dolphin Publisher version 2.01 Released.
- The Dolphin Pen.
- Version 6.50 Language Releases.
- New Maps released.
- Dolphin helps create accessible ECDL examination papers.
- Staff News.
EasePublisher version 2.01 now provides increased support for all types of DAISY books and now has increased support for NISO standard books, providing a truly international range of products supporting all current standards for Digital Talking Books (DTBs).
People creating DTBs wanted the ability to create and playback a multi-volume book, this is now available for all DAISY and NISO books. Additional audio feedback was asked for, when navigating and searching a book, this is now provided. Book producers can define their own stop points during the playback, important for classroom teachers when explaining key points within the book. Users wanted more information to be available when adding a bookmark and reviewing all bookmarks as a list, this has been included.
Book producers can now use synthesisers to create speech output for a single text event, perfect for books where the producer wants to use a combination of human audio and synthesised speech. The whole book can be created using either human audio or a speech synthesiser, or a combination of the two. The choice is yours.
Using EasePublisher, book producers, teachers and organisations can produce materials that combine text, audio and images in a single interactive DTB, providing a mechanism that allows total inclusion for all. As the text is highlighted, the words are spoken. The books can be created from simple text files or even scanned hard copy materials, and using a speech synthesiser with EasePublisher will automatically create a full text and audio book.
Rob Longstaff, from the RNIB comments, "The RNIB recently used EasePublisher to create seven Digital Talking Books, as part of a 12 month pilot, sponsored by the DfES. We created full text and audio books to support Key Stage 3 literacy (11 to 14 year olds) in three secondary schools and evaluated the benefits over the course of the 12 months. The results were extremely positive. Using EasePublisher and EaseReader the whole class was able to use exactly the same materials, and benefit from a new learning experience. This could be the way forward in every classroom."
With many other new features and functions, Dolphin's latest EasePublisher and EaseReader provide the most advanced authoring and playback solutions for DAISY and NISO content. Whether you have vision impairment, print impairment, dyslexia, or want to use the latest technology to learn a second language, EaseReader will increase your chances of successes. Whether you are a book publisher, a teacher, training consultant or corporation, EasePublisher will ensure you can create books, course notes, lecture material, training manuals and literature in a single format that allows total accessibility and compliance to all disability legislation. Dolphin makes it easy and provides peace of mind.
Imagine being able to walk up to any computer and find our access program running automatically, and configured just the way you like it!
The world's first portable Pen Edition.
From May 2005 Dolphin Access products Supernova, Hal, Lunar and LunarPlus will be available to order in two separate editions: the current PC Edition or the new Dolphin Pen Edition.
What is the Dolphin Pen?
Unlike traditional screen access products, the Dolphin Pen requires no installation but runs from a USB Pen Drive - a small portable device just a few centimetres long which plugs straight into the USB slot of your computer. This allows a user to carry their preferred settings with them to any PC and run Supernova, Hal or Lunar without the need to install a full screen reader and speech synthesiser, and without the need to configure their preferred settings each time. All user configuration preferences are saved back to the Dolphin Pen.
Users will need to run a short one-off installation of the Dolphin Interceptor on each machine to be used with the Dolphin Pen, the Dolphin interceptor is contained on the Dolphin Pen. The next time that a Dolphin Pen is inserted, this installation will not need to be repeated.
The Dolphin Pen Edition was presented at the recent CSUN Conference in Los Angeles, where it quickly became the talk of the show. Due for release in May, the Supernova Dolphin Pen Edition will be available for purchase for £900.00 (€1490 or $1290).
Supernova, Hal, Lunar and LunarPlus version 6.50 have now been released in Swedish, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Czech and Arabic. Other languages are expected to be released over the coming weeks.
The latest set of new and updated maps for versions 5.30, 5.21, 6.02 and 6.50 software are now available via the Internet Updater. They can also be obtained from the Dolphin website.
8 new and updated maps are available for update from the Internet updater this month. These include:
- Hogia Small Office v1
- Microsoft Office 2000 v2.03
- Microsoft Office XP v1.23
- Microsoft Word 2000 v1.01
- Microsoft Word XP v1.01
- PowerDVD XP v1.001
- WinDVD Platinum v1.001
- WinHelp v1.02
Dolphin recently teamed up with NCC Education, to develop a system that allowed blind people and people with a vision impairment to access their mainstream ECDL examination papers. NCC Education is a global provider of IT education and assessment solutions and for over 35 years they have been helping students to get internationally recognised qualifications, by studying at one of their 350 Accredited Partner Centres around the world.
Dolphin has also been working extensively with the RNIB National Vocational College and the British Computer Society (BCS), in order to provide the best possible access to ECDL course materials. Dolphin's latest version 6.50 access software now incorporates the most advanced levels of accessibility for ECDL materials, vastly enhancing the chances of success for all students with a visual impairment.
Successfully obtaining the qualification not only requires the student to complete the course content, but also necessitates the student to pass a final examination. Up until now anyone who is blind or has a visual impairment, and taking their ECDL examination, requires additional support. This generally takes the form of a sighted assistant reading out the questions to the student, as well as tracking the time allowed.
NCC Education''s Automated Testing Software (ATS) allows the evaluation and certification of a candidate's knowledge by using a unique in-application test system. ATS software is fully accredited by the ECDL/IDCDL foundation and has contributed to the rapid growth of qualifications such as the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). The ATS test is unique in that it assesses a student's proficiency of using a PC application by testing the student within the actual software application. For example word processing is tested in MS Word: Presentation Creation is tested in MS PowerPoint. The biggest advantage of testing in-application is that it is non-restrictive: a student is able to perform tasks using any method they are used to and feel most comfortable with. Another advantage of in-application testing is the industry standard; MS office is used, so the candidate has usually used the software previously, and is therefore familiar with the environment. Results are calculated based on the actual output, or outcome, rather than by measuring keystrokes.
Using Dolphin's Supernova v6.50, blind and visually impaired students can complete their ECDL course work, using a combination of screen reader features and screen magnification features, as well as Braille. No other product available offers so many features and flexibility in a single product. Having worked very closely with NCC Education, Dolphin has also incorporated a unique map into the product, which enables a student to access the on screen ATS programme.
Wilf Voss, Product Development and Marketing at the British Computer Society (BCS), comments; "the inaccessibility of the ECDL examinations papers was a real concern for our members. We are delighted with the work that Dolphin has done with NCC Education. This will ensure that our members now have the same opportunities as fully sighted computer users, when sitting their exams."
Dolphin will be attending the Sight City 2005 exhibition in Frankfurt. This is Germany's largest annual exhibition for people who are blind or visually impaired. The venue is the Sheraton Airport Frankfurt, and the show runs from May 11th - 13th. If you plan to attend, please visit the Dolphin stand and see all of our latest product developments.
Everyone at Dolphin would like to congratulation Helen Duggan on the birth of her baby daughter. Baby Ciara was born on Thursday 10th March, and both mother and daughter are doing fine. Helen is the Operations Manager for Dolphin Computer Access Inc., based in the US office in San Mateo.
Diana Hiorth-Persson is also on maternity leave, expecting her first child in May. Diana, who is the Software Development Manager, at Dolphin's Audio Publishing headquarters in Sweden, will be returning to work following the birth of her baby and her maternity leave. Everyone at Dolphin wishes Diana well.