Lisbon, 13 September 2006 The Vodafone Portugal Foundation, the publishing house Porto Editora and the Ministry of Education continue to co-operate on the production of digital school textbooks for blind and visually impaired students, using an innovative system that synchronises sound and text.
15 of these textbooks have already been produced, including among others Os Lusíadas, Os Maias, Viagens na Minha Terra and a grammar guide, as well as textbooks for History, Science, Information Technology and languages.
By the end of September, other textbooks will have been produced, including an English grammar and Um Auto de Gil Vicente.
This solution associates the recorded voices of human speakers with digitised text and images, improving blind and visually impaired students access to the school curriculum since it enables students to search by chapter, key word or other references. It also supports the creation of bookmarks for subsequent reference, as well as facilitating the sharing and simultaneous exploration of content in the classroom or at home.
The system uses the Daisy multimedia format via the EaseReader talking book software. This format both allows users to listen to a recorded voice via a computers sound card and allows visually impaired students to read text in enlarged characters. It also includes the complete translation into Portuguese of all the software, including the installation program and prompt files, among others.
The Ministry of Education selects the textbooks to be produced on the basis of requests from students, and Porto Editora provides the corresponding texts free of charge in digital format. The Vodafone Portugal Foundation is fully funding the production of the textbooks at a cost of 100,000 euros.
This partnership will make it possible to produce 30 masters of textbooks for blind and visually impaired students in educational establishments recognised by the Ministry of Education who request them.