Volume II Number 2, May 1995

Feature Articles

Integrating Hypermedia and Assistive Technology: An Overview of Possibilities

Dr. Bob Perkins
University of Charleston, S.C.

One of the most useful technologies associated with microcomputers for teachers and caregivers for individuals with disabilities is hypermedia programs. Hypermedia programs allow individuals who do not know how to program a computer using a programming language to create computer software. With a minimum of training, hypermedia programs can be used to create very individualized software. This gives teachers and caregivers the capability to create computer programs such as Computer Aided Instruction (CAI) that will teach the specific objectives that are needed for their classroom. Hypermedia programs can also be used with assistive technologies to compensate for some disabilities. This paper will focus on the possible interaction between hypermedia and assistive input devices. Speech synthesis and hypermedia will also be explored.

Computer-Assisted Learning and Language-Impaired Children

Dr. Robert Ward
University of Huddersfield
Huddersfield HD1 3DH U.K.

This paper first reviews research begun in the 1980s into computer-based remediation for language-impaired children who have difficulties with multiple-word language. The paper then goes on to consider how this work might progress in future. Software was developed to investigate the proposal that computer programs which hold written conversations with their users can be effective in language teaching and remediation. The software is described and studies of the software in use are summarised. Although the software attracted interest at the time and although the studies suggested that the technique could be useful in language remediation, the software never became widely used. Looking back from today's perspective we consider the reasons for this and relate the software to wider issues and trends in computer-based learning (CBL). It is suggested that the approach was never taken up because the software did not fit with how CBL came to be used in schools. This leads to a discussion of how software that simulates written conversation might now progress using today's technology.

Audio Description--Seeing Theater with Your Ears

John Miers, National Institute of Mental Health

Audio Description is a narration service that offers live commentary and narration for patrons at participating theaters throughout the Washington, DC area, one of a handful of areas in the country where audio description is provided. People desiring this service reserve headphones attached to small receivers, about the size of a cigarette pack. An audio describer narrates the performance from another part of the theater via a radio or infra-red transmitter. The narrator guides the audience through the production with concise, objective descriptions of new scenes, settings, costumes, body language and "sight gags," all slipped in between portions of dialogue or songs.

What is the Internet Public Library, and Why Should I Care?

Sara Ryan

ICADD was formed following a panel presentation at the World Congress on Technology in December 1991. Delegates recognized the need to develop and promote standards, so that accessible materials could be produced through automated means as a supplement to existing information creation processes.