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Good-bye To A Great 2017, Hello To A Fantastic 2018!

2017 December 22

Here we are, at the end of 2017 and the second year of the DIAGRAM Center + award. Naturally, we find ourselves reflecting on what an incredible year it’s been and wanting to celebrate some of the achievements and impact the DIAGRAM community has driven in the last year alone.

  • We helped define the first-ever Accessibility Specification for EPUB books, so publishers have an accessibility standard to meet when publishing digital books.
  • We drove the acceptance of the new accessibility metadata standard in, providing a way for search engines to identify content that is accessible.
  • We hosted the DIAGRAM Accessible Interactives Code Sprint, in partnership with Macmillan Learning at the 2017 CSUN (California State University Northridge) Assistive Technology Conference. Several great prototypes came out of that work, including interactive accessible infomaps and advances on accessible simulations.
  • We released a new version of the Poet Image Description Training Tool and already several major publishers and publishing service providers have used it for training their teams so their books can be more accessible.
  • We prototyped in partnership with Neil Soiffer the Benetech Math Editor, a unique UDL tool for all students, including those with disabilities, to do and show their math work online. The feedback from students and teachers has been tremendous and we have big plans to move it forward in 2018.
  • We issued the first annual DIAGRAM Report, providing a technology lookahead for students with disabilities and their parents and educators. The Report incorporated the insights from many of you in the community.
  • The team at the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media completed accessible versions of content from PEEP and the Big Wide Worlda science program for early learners. In addition, they developed methodologies for testing the effect of accessibility accommodations on the engagement of those learners.

A highlight of the year was of course the community coming together in person for the DIAGRAM Strategic Planning Meeting, held over two days in the Washington, DC area. In that meeting we underscored our commitment to identify and address the needs of students with disabilities beyond those associated with print disabilities. We welcomed the deeper participation of community members working on innovations for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students with cognitive or intellectual disabilities, and students with other learning disabilities. Since that meeting, we’ve also put into gear plans to create and explore more technologies for students with a range of disabilities. You’ll notice this theme running through this December edition of the newsletter and beyond, as we share more about new projects and partnerships (including an exciting new one with Clayton Lewis)!  In the meantime, thank you to everyone for your continued participation in the DIAGRAM community. We are truly humbled and grateful to be working with so many amazing people who are making a difference every day in the lives of students with disabilities. We wish you happy holidays and a terrific new year!

All of us on the DIAGRAM team at Benetech

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