Assistive technology software publisher Texthelp Systems, Inc., has announced the release of a new software program that converts textbook publishers’ content to a new digital format. Lexiflow is a set of tools that works with Adobe Acrobat to convert textbooks and other instructional materials saved in PDF format into an electronic ‘talking Flash’ presentation. This new format makes it easier for schools to provide access to published materials and allows the documents to be viewed on machines that do not have Adobe Reader or Acrobat installed.
In addition to talking Flash technology, Lexiflow also provides an output format that complies with the U.S. Department of Education’s National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). NIMAS is an emerging standard that guides the production and distribution of digital instructional materials so that they can be more easily converted into accessible formats such as braille. Five states — Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kentucky and New York — have already adopted NIMAS and require that electronic instructional materials purchased by their schools are provided in this format.
‘As publishers faced increasing demands from state Boards of Education for accessible electronic textbooks, Texthelp developed a tool to simplify the process for them,’ said Mark McCusker, chief executive officer. ‘Our new Lexiflow software turns ordinary textbooks into feature-rich Flash presentations that make the content enjoyable and accessible for all students without changing or slowing down the normal publishing cycle of the materials. Our extensive research into the needs of leading education publishers clearly identified a trend that is growing and creating a demand for our technology, which will accelerate as more states adopt NIMAS.’
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