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The workshop (16 December 2009, Brussels, European Commission, Av. de Beaulieu, BU25, Room 0/S1) aims at taking stock of achievements of European level research activities in the field of ICT & Ageing and identifying themes that warrant further attention in forthcoming work programmes. The full spectrum of research is to be considered in that context including basic research, applied RTD and socio-economic research, whereby a particular focus will be on issues that need to be addressed in a more long term perspective. In conceptual regard, an interactive approach is taken and participants are expected to actively contribute to the debate during the event. With a view to facilitating a productive discussion, experts interested in participating are requested to submit a brief statement according to a pre-specified format together with their registration (see the Participant Statement form attached to this document). The feed back will be synthesised prior to the workshop and fed back into individual sessions.
Interested experts can register until 6th December 2009 via the project web site (www.ict-ageing.eu).

As mentioned on Editorsweblog.org:
Two American universities announced this week that they will be abandoning their plans to investigate further the possibility of Amazon’s Kindles replacing textbooks due to lack of accessibility to all students. The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Syracuse University both made their decisions due to the lack of universal access to the read aloud function of the Kindle. This makes the textbooks unusable to blind students as well as students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
The National Federation for the Blind commended the universities for their decisions. The Federation did acknowledge future potential in the devices, despite a current lack of universal access.
The lack of access is because the text-to-speech capability is not required for all books that are converted into Kindle compatibility. Shortly after the debut of the Kindle 2, a controversy over this feature erupted between the Author’s Guild and equal rights groups. The Guild wanted authors to be compensated for the spoken versions of their books or have no available spoken alternative. Equal rights groups argued that the feature should be made available for free for all books as an available aid. The Author’s Guild won the court ruling to make text-to-speech optional and the decision to provide a recording of a book fell to each individual author.
The University’s decisions come as another blow to the e-reader market, which has failed to gain the momentum it was once predicted to be able to reach. Kindles have already been rejected from permanent implementation into the curriculum at Princeton.
This announcement was made just a day after Intel introduced its new e-reader, the Intel Reader, which is specifically designed to be used by the blind or visually impaired. The e-reader includes a camera that can be used to take a picture of anything with text and then instantly read aloud to the user. It is also able to turn the audio of the text of a photograph, or entire book, into an MP3 that can be used on any other compatible electronic. Though the aim of the e-reader is to bring print to those unable to read, the Reader retails for $1 499, a steep price tag that will not be accessible to everyone.
Kindles are seen by many as a highly viable alternative to the expensive textbooks required by many University classes.

As mentioned on ZDnet:
Intel announced an innovative e-reader today that wants nothing to do with being a Kindle-killer. This e-reader, in fact, arguably has more educational implications than the current generation of e-readers. Intel’s product, demonstrated below, is designed to turn written text into spoken words and can convert either text files or pages photographed with the built-in camera.
Unfortunately, the Reader runs almost $1500 a piece. For those who need it, it’s a relatively small price to pay. However, educational institutions may find the price truly burdensome. At 30 seconds to process a standard page of text, the current iteration is fairly slow. However, a device that makes ordinary books accessible to those with substantial disabilities is worth a look; it’s also worth a look within the next year as the price of components and the technology will undoubtedly come down.

Excerpt from Federal Computer Week article:
When a redesigned Recovery.gov Web site was unveiled last month to track the distribution of stimulus dollars, it was touted as another example of the Obama administration’s push for greater transparency. But the technology and design of the site left one segment of the population less than satisfied.
Advocates for people with disabilities found a number of accessibility flaws on the site that jumbled the spending data or otherwise put it beyond the reach of people using screen readers and other assistive devices.
The site’s administrators fixed the problems within days, Grimes said. But he is concerned that other defects might appear when features are added or updated.
Experts have noted ongoing, widespread accessibility glitches at federal Web sites such as WhiteHouse.gov, Data.gov and even Disability.gov.
As agencies move more services online to improve transparency and take advantage of Web 2.0 features for greater interaction with the public, access for people with disabilities is becoming a more prominent concern, many experts say. However, they add that the increased attention has not led to dramatic improvements in accessibility.
According to the Census Bureau, about 18 percent of the U.S. population has some level of disability in sight, hearing, cognition, medical condition or mobility, and 12 percent of the total population has a severe disability.

On Tuesday 16th of March 2010, the Japan 2010 Accessibility Forum will be organised at Kobe University, Japan.
The goal of the symposium is to explore what Japan is doing with accessibility, and to discuss the relationship between sustainability and accessibility/universal design/inclusive design. The symposium will start at 09:00 and continue until 17:00.
The symposium will be held in Japanese.
Papers on presentations will be in English after the symposium. Short papers (max 1-page) will be provided in Japanese/English before the symposium.
If you would like to contribute or give a presentation, please contact one of the organisers of the symposium and send a 1-page short abstract on the topic you would like to present.
The topics are:
– Collaborative technologies and accessibility
* How to accommodate a variety of users
– Mobile devices
* Awareness
* Location based services
– Sustainable technologies and accessibility
– Aging population and technology
* Need for a human centric approach to AT
* Holistic approach to accessibility
– Individual adaptability
* Alternative resources (DAISY, Sign Language and others)
– Findings from Toronto Conference on OpenSource and Accessibility
– Standards in Japan
* Japanese legislation
– Cognitive/Psychiatric challenges

For more information about the symposium please contact one of the following organisers:
* Erlend Øverby, Hypatia AS – Convenor ISO/IEC JTC1/SC36/WG7 (erlend.overby@hypatia.no) Information Technology for Learning, Education and Training – Culture, Language and Individual Needs
* Jutta Treviranus, ATRC University of Toronto (jutta.treviranus@utoronto.edu) Assistive Technology Research Centre
* Liddy Nevile – La Trobe University, Australia – DC Accessibility Convenor (liddy.nevile@gmail.com)
* Min Kang, Kobe University (kang@kobe-u.ac.jp)

More information at the event website.

The National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH (NCAM) has written guidelines for content providers who would like to create accessible iTunes U media via captions, subtitles and audio descriptions. This guidelines document provides step-by-step documentation on creating fully accessible media, including: – Closed captions and audio descriptions that the user can turn on or off as needed. – Open subtitles and descriptions that are available to everyone watching or listening. – Closed subtitles for adding multiple language tracks to video files. – Accessible PDFs. Also included with the guidelines are links to eight video and audio clips that illustrate the various forms of accessible media discussed in the document. Using these guidelines, iTunes U content providers can create content that all people can learn from including people with vision and hearing loss. See Creating Accessible iTunes U Content on Apple’s iTunes site.