by Samuel Sennott
Things are changing. The second generation OLPC laptop will have dual touchscreens and will be designed to function like a book. What does this mean for early childhood education, special education, and augmentative and alternative communication? Over the course of this summer, we will be exploring this with the goal of being ready for these new technologies. Also, the goal is to be able to play a part in the universal design for learning of this powerful new initiative. For now, enjoy the pictures of this upcoming device.
This opens up amazing possibilities for customized keyboards for all kinds of learners!
Overall, this is probably the best news we could have heard. As many of us have been holding the OLPC touchscreen vigil, the time is here. Much thanks to Pixel Qi for pushing the hardware design to new levels. AAC stakeholders may be interested in their new motto: The future of portable computing is all about the screen.
Additionally, many will be interested to note that Windows XP will be available on the XO.
I originally read about the update to the OLPC at: Xcomony.
This picture is inspirational when considering the accessible books project we are working on!
Here is a portion of the presentation announcing the update.
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Sent for submission by CAST
CAST Joins Google and Partners to Celebrate World Book Day
Releases innovative literacy tools to support reading and learning from books, websites
In partnership with Google, CAST today celebrated World Book Day, April 23, 2008, by introducing two new online literacy tools that provide robust, embedded learning supports for readers at all levels. UDL Editions by CAST (http://udleditions.cast.org/ <http://udleditions.cast.org/> ) are classics from world literature in a flexible online interface that supports and engages novice and expert readers alike. CAST Strategy Tutor (http://cst.cast.org/ <http://cst.cast.org/> ) offers adolescent readers customizable mentoring and support as they conduct Internet research and read websites.
Both UDL Editions and Strategy Tutor draw on CAST’s two decades of research and development of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an approach to creating inclusive educational environments that lower barriers to learning and while supporting learners’ individual skills, abilities, and interests. Carnegie Corporation of New York provided funding, and both projects are featured presentations of the Google Literacy Project (www.google.com/literacy), a joint nonprofit venture of Google, LitCam, and UNESCO, as part of its World Book Day Innovative Projects page.
The UDL Editions by CAST (http://udleditions.cast.org) render classic texts from world literature in a flexible online interface that provides just-in-time, individualized supports for struggling readers, and added-value features that engage novice and expert readers alike. Texts include English language works by Jack London, Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, and Edgar Allen Poe, as well as the Spanish-language classic, The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes. Learning features include:
* Leveled supports to build reading strategies and help readers understand the elements of the author’s craft;
* Texthelp® Toolbar for text-to-speech, highlighting and collecting highlights, dictionary and encyclopedia links, and translation between English and Spanish;
* Embedded coaches guide learners in strategic thinking and planning;
* Context-specific multimedia glossaries and enrichment activities;
* Multimedia background resources, including story links to Google Maps.
The toolbar created by Texthelp Systems, Inc., a leading developer of literacy support software solutions with offices in the U.K. and United States, expands access for all individuals, including Spanish language text-to-speech and other features for Lazarillo.
CAST Strategy Tutor (http://cst.cast.org <http://cst.cast.org/> ) is an online multimedia program that provides diverse adolescent learners with customizable mentoring and support as they conduct Internet research, and teachers with supports for using Web-based resources more effectively in the classroom. Strategy Tutor helps students read, research, collect and understand information better and more efficiently.
Students can store all notes in a personal, sortable electronic worklog that can be viewed from any computer. Teachers can access professional development resources, such as a database of teacher-created lessons, and create their own strategy-supported lessons. Get help from embedded coaches there to guide both students and teachers.