2001 Conference Proceedings

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ACCESSIBLE MULTI-MEDIA AUTHORING

Arjan Khalsa, President and CEO
IntelliTools, Inc.
1720 Corporate Circle
Petaluma, CA 94954
Phone: 707-773-2000
Fax: 707-773-2001
Email: akhalsa@intellitools.com

IntelliTools has been dedicated to raising the bar for students with disabilities by creating materials that are content rich while also providing the support students need to succeed. As technology has advanced, this goal has become a reality. With the publication of IntelliTalk II(r), IntelliMathics(r) and now IntelliPics II(r) - IntelliTools has introduced a line of products that truly serve the needs of all children. These programs all have common features which we refer to as Next Generation. These include:

The first of these products, IntelliTalk II, set a new standard for word processing for students with disabilities. In addition to its use as a talking word processor, the program is also an authoring tool for teachers who wish to design writing activities, quizzes and learning activities for students. Graphics can be integrated into documents providing support for beginning readers. The palette feature enable teachers to easily create on-screen picture and word banks to assist students in their writing. The locked text feature enables teachers to create worksheets that cannot be edited and erased. Built-in scanning as well as automatic overlay generation (Overlay Maker(r) required) makes IntelliTalk II fully accessible to mouse, IntelliKeys(r), and switch users.

IntelliTalk II was followed by IntelliMathics, which uses a similar navigation structure to give students access to a wide variety of on-screen manipulatives. Students can move, rotate, size, and color manipulatives to solve mathematical and logic problems. IntelliMathics is fully compatible with IntelliTalk II and teachers can use palettes created in one program, with activities created in the other. For example, students studying and writing about dinosaurs in IntelliTalk II, can sort and count the same dinosaur graphics in IntelliMathics. Both programs enable teachers to import graphics into documents from the web, digital photos, or other sources.

While IntelliTalk II and IntelliMathics have greatly enhanced the ability of teachers to create and adapt activities, authoring functions of these programs are not accessible to students. In designing IntelliPics II our goal was to create a powerful multimedia authoring tool that students as well as teachers could use.

IntelliPics(r), one of our most popular products, has been an important resource in many classrooms. Teachers can scan in printed materials, record their own messages or sounds, add simple animations, easily generate overlays for IntelliKeys, create quizzes, and more. Teachers have used IntelliPics to create everything from simple cause-and-effect activities to polished multimedia presentations. While students have derived enormous benefit, the teacher has been the author and creator.

With IntelliPics II, for the first time ever, students with disabilities have an accessible drawing tool they use to create their own multimedia slide shows and presentations. To facilitate this, we've designed a whole new interface that can be easily used by students. They can select graphics (which can contain programmed actions) from an on-screen library. They can move graphics and add backgrounds to create scenes. They can add appropriate text. Students can save each "slide" and play them back as they would in a PowerPoint presentation. As with other Next Generation programs, IntelliPics II is fully accessible. It includes built-in scanning as well as instant overlay generation (Overlay Maker(r) required). Teachers can also use the program's powerful, yet easy-to-use, quiz editor to author interactive quizzes to further reinforce content.

Imagine the power of this trilogy of products for creating activities across the curriculum. Start with IntelliTalk II for introducing and reviewing content and reinforcing ideas through structured and open-ended writing. Use IntelliMathics to include math, logic, and problem solving with the same content and graphics. Since IntelliMathics allows you can set up attributes by which the program will sort, you can have students sorting all kinds of things. They can even sort vocabulary words learned in IntelliTalk II, for example, by initial sounds, ending sounds, parts of speech, and the like. Now bring in IntelliPics II to engage students in using this content to create and print out their own presentations. As sophisticated technology becomes more available, students may soon be able to create QuickTime movies and email them to friends and family all over the world.

To show the quantum leap between IntelliPics and IntelliPics II, let's take a look at the Ant Report - a favorite IntelliPics activity. In it David, a boy with Downe's Syndrome, has researched and recorded information about ants. To make his presentation, pictures had to be scanned into IntelliPics using a separate paint or drawing program. Actions had to be added to each picture as well as captions. David, then was able to record information about each picture.

With IntelliPics II, David can access all the pictures he needs directly from an on- screen picture library. He can move pictures himself, add realistic backgrounds, create captions if he chooses, and record background information. He can create "slides" in any order he wishes. Now David has the pride and ownership of his creation.

We hope that workshop participants will leave this presentation with a sense of the amazing world of authoring and activity creation that has now opened up for students with disabilities. We also hope they will have a fuller appreciation of the sophisticated authoring tools teachers can use to translate any idea or concept into a fully accessible activity. Participants will receive a Demo CD featuring Next Generation tool products as well as our new math and reading curriculum software.


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