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Introducing DIAGRAM CENTER +

2015 September 30
by Amaya Webster

We are thrilled to be embarking on the next generation of the DIAGRAM Center. With new 5-year funding from OSEP for the DIAGRAM Center +, we have new opportunities to expand the community, develop new tools and standards, explore new solutions for students with a range of disabilities, and have even more impact as we help make STEM content be born accessible and give more students access to the educational content they need.

Julie Noblitt, who has been our Community Manager extraordinaire for the last 3 years, will be leaving at the end of this month to complete her MBA at the Presidio School of Sustainable Management. Julie has been the driving force behind our website, newsletter, blog, Twitter feed, working groups, and webinars, as well as chair of our Outreach Working Group.  Her contributions to this community have been enormous and we’ll all miss her role enabling the connective tissue between us all to be so much stronger. Please join me in thanking her for all she’s done for DIAGRAM and in wishing her the best of luck in her next adventure!

Amaya Webster, who has worked closely with Julie in the past few months as a project coordinator, will be helping with keeping everything running smoothly. Questions that normally went to Julie can be sent to both Amaya and Anh Bui, who will do their best to make sure the community won’t miss a beat.

As we kick DIAGRAM + into gear, we’ll be bringing on additional dedicated resources to work on our expanded mission. That expanded mission includes activities that help students with disabilities beyond print disabilities, and apply to content beyond just images. Highlights include:

  • Prototyping a repository/registry of accessible images in multiple modalities (description, tactile, 3D objects), focusing on fundamental STEM concepts while eventually expanding to more multimedia such as interactives and video.
  • Piloting the timely customization and delivery of manipulatives for children with various disabilities, including working with partners such as gh and Derrick Smith
  • More work on accessible math, including more input and output options and a MathML support finder
  • An open repository of examples of reusable demonstration code for accessible versions of the most common digital interactions and modalities (e.g., haptic CSS, video transcription, interactive sliders, other stylesheets, 3D web-based models).
  • Leveraging the video work of the VDRDC (Video Description Research and Development Center) and their YouDescribe software.
  • In partnership with George Kerscher and the U.S. Fund for DAISY, furthering development of Readium to add and maintain accessibility features, especially ensuring support for the Diagrammar content model.
  • In partnership with WGBH/NCAM, developing and releasing demonstrations of accessible STEM digital learning assets (including videos and activities) for young children, based on the popular program PEEP and the Big Wide World
  • R&D on tech for children with disabilities not traditionally associated with print disabilities, including user testing, and working with publishers and educational technology companies who serve them
  • Integration and implementation tools and services, packaged for publisher partners and academic institutions, to make “born accessible” a reality in their workflow.
  • An annual DIAGRAM Report, a “horizon report” covering key promising new and existing technologies for multi-modal access to and creation of STEM materials.

And of course, we’ll continue our leading work on technical standards development, community engagement and expansion, technology development partnerships, and training and knowledge sharing. We can’t wait to see what we will create together in the years to come!

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