Steve Jacobs is being recognized as a Champion of Change for leading education and employment efforts in science, technology, engineering and math for Americans with disabilities.
Thirty seven years ago, when I began my high-tech career, I never gave a second thought to Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM). My college education was saturated with STEM courses and STEM concepts were woven into the fabric of my being.
STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators. Innovation leads to new products and processes that sustain our economy. This innovation and science literacy depends on a solid knowledge base in the STEM areas. It is clear that most jobs of the future will require a basic understanding of math and science. Ten-year employment projections by the U.S. Department of Labor show that of the 20 fastest growing occupations projected for 2014, 15 of them require significant mathematics or science preparation.
U.S. student achievement in mathematics and science is lagging behind students in much of Asia and Europe. International test scores tell us that in science and math, U.S. eighth-graders were outperformed by eighth-grade students in many other countries.
STEM courses are most difficult for students with print disabilities. So, what are we doing about this? We are developing fully-accessible STEM-enabled eBook reading software -- ePub3 Reader.
Students with print disabilities taking STEM courses can benefit greatly by using an ePub3 Reader… and so can all other students! This reader can read text aloud (just like an audio book) and can do so in 25+ languages. It can highlight paragraphs, sentences, and words as they are being read. It enables students to take notes using speech recognition, highlight sections of text to be remembered, and then gather all the important notes together in one place…all automatically.
ePub3 Readers also provide:
- Significantly improved accessibility. This includes enhanced navigation including jumping to specific chapters, pages, and passages.
- Video. Videos can be embedded in ePub3 texts.
- Audio. Audio passages can be embedded in ePub3 texts. They are also better at integrating the current DAISY Accessibility Standards, making them more useful to students with print disabilities.
- Interactivity: includes features like pop-ups and asides activated by clicking on words in the text.
- Vertical and right-to-left writing: accommodates a multitude of languages.
- Multi-column layouts: greatly enhance the reading of STEM texts.
- MathML Support: enables publishers to convert and publish math texts as ePub3 texts.
It is my sincerest hope that IDEAL ePub3 Reader can, in some small way, help to lift all students closer to the top of the pack in STEM learning successes over the next decade.
For additional STEM accessibility resources from our valued business partners and colleagues please visit: http://accessiblemath.org
Steve Jacobsis President of IDEAL Group, Inc. http://ideal-group.org and CEO of Apps4Android, Inc. http://apps4android.org, the world’s largest developer of Android accessibility applications with nearly five million installations in 136 countries.