Riverside Insights Wins Excellence in Equity Award for Accessibility Features

ITASCA, Ill. – Riverside Insights®, a leading developer of research-based assessments and analytics, today announced that it won Best Accessibility Solution in the inaugural Excellence in Equity Awards program presented by the American Consortium for Equity in Education. The Riverside Insights’ solutions were selected because they are designed to serve learners of all ability levels – from those with physical or cognitive difficulties to gifted students seeking to challenge themselves . All of the Riverside Insights products are designed to maximize accessibility for all learners, including assessments with the options of large print, audio directions and braille, as well as creating versions to accommodate English learners.

“Equity is foundational to our mission of elevating the potential of all learners,” said Dr. Sarah Holman, a former special education administrator and bilingual evaluator who now serves as a marketing director for Riverside Insights. “We live out our commitment through our people, our processes, our products and our professional development to ensure each learner has the chance to lean into their strengths.” 

“This category is particularly meaningful to us. Across our portfolio, accessibility, translation, adaptation, as well as local, regional and national norming, are core tenants of our product development roadmap as we seek to ensure that teachers, learners, families and communities are not left behind,” said Anna Houseman, former elementary school teacher and assessment director, who now serves as a product director for Riverside Insights. …Read More

Best School District in El Paso, Texas Partners With BibliU to Secure Universal Learning Benefits for Dual-Credit Students

NEW YORK and LONDON – BibliU, the EdTech innovator democratizing content accessibility, announced today that the Ysleta Independent School District has implemented its Universal Learning solution.

Ysleta ISD, which was recently named the best school district in the El Paso, Texas area for the second consecutive year, is adopting the BibliU solution to provide first-day content access for its Early College Academy and dual-credit students. Universal Learning is projected to reduce the school district’s administrative overhead and operational burden of maintaining and distributing print inventory costs by more than $500,000 in the first year. It will give students and instructors seamless access to content through the Clever digital learning platform. 

While BibliU is currently providing a percentage of books online, it is working with the Ysleta ISD to expand the booklist and increase the number of students using BibliU in the spring semester. …Read More

NWEA Shares Progress on Using AI to Identify and Remove Barriers Within Mathematics for Students with Visual Impairment

Portland, OR –   NWEA, a not-for-profit, research and educational services organization serving K-12 students, today announced progress it has made toward creating an accessible and equitable math assessment for middle school students with visual impairments.

Last October, NWEA was awarded an  AI for Accessibility grant from Microsoft. The project, led by research manager, Dr. Elizabeth Barker, in collaboration with  Perkins Access  Digital Accessibility Consulting, the Governor Morehead School, and two key local experts: Sonja Steinbach, a math educator who works with students with visual impairments, and Neil Soiffer, an accessibility mathematics developer, aimed to create accessible assessment formats. NWEA has chosen to tackle this important challenge, wanting to ensure students with visual impairments benefit from accessible math and have equal opportunities in their studies.

Seventy-five percent of students who are blind or low vision are at  least one grade behind their peers. This is due to many access barriers that contribute to the lack of accessible math education. Classroom materials are not always adapted to formats such as braille, large print, materials suitable for a screen reader, auditory input, or a combination of these designs. Creating accessible formats for students with visual impairments is important for their learning and success, which is why NWEA is committed to addressing such barriers through the work of this grant.…Read More

ReadSpeaker Announces Text-to-Speech Integration and Certified Partnership with Moodle, the World’s Largest Learning Platform

ReadSpeaker, the most trusted, independent digital voice and text-to-speech provider for educational institutions and innovative brands worldwide today announced that it is now a Certified Integration Partner with the world’s largest learning platform,  Moodle. With this partnership, students can listen to content on the Moodle LMS anywhere, any time and on any device and they can select from hundreds of different voices in over 50 languages.  Tweet this news.

As of September 1, ReadSpeaker’s accessibility and engagement tools are fully integrated into Moodle LMS, expanding learning opportunities for more than 200 million learners. ReadSpeaker is the first text-to-speech provider to become a Certified Integration Partner with Moodle. 

“Text to speech is a great equalizer and force multiplier for online learning, opening new and exciting pathways for engagement and mastery for millions of students, not just those needing accommodations,” said Roy Lindemann, Chief Marketing Officer for ReadSpeaker. “This partnership is extremely significant to the institutions and students we both serve, including those needing accommodations and those who simply want added capabilities to engage with learning materials.” …Read More

Curriculum Associates Updates i-Ready Personalized Instruction and Assessment to Help Accelerate Student Learning for the 2022–2023 School Year

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. —To help accelerate teaching and learning this coming school year, Curriculum Associates has updated its award-winning i-Ready Personalized Instruction and Assessment program with new reports, lessons, accessibility features, and more. These new resources are designed specifically to help educators support grade-level work, monitor progress, and motivate every learner on their path to success.

i-Ready continues to be a standout in the edtech space, in part, because it is always improving to meet the changing needs of educators and students alike,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “This coming year, accelerated learning will be a focus for schools nationwide and these new updates will provide educators with the timely resources and data-driven supports needed to help students make continued gains.”

To help inform school- and district-level administrators’ planning, i-Ready now features a new dashboard that displays real-time data of student growth and performance in a single view. Additionally, administrators now have more robust data with expanded 5-Level Placement reporting, a new Overall Reading Comprehension score on Diagnostic reports, and improved export data.…Read More

Capstone Interactive eBook Platform Relaunches With Enhanced Accessibility for Children

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – August 17, 2022 – Capstone, an innovative learning company merging children’s content with easy-to-use edtech tools for K-5 classrooms, libraries, and home, announces substantial enhancements to its Capstone Interactive eBooks platform. Among the improvements, the eBook platform and reader will be Section 508 compliant and WCAG 2.1 rated, ensuring Capstone Interactive is accessible to children with vision, cognitive, physical, and hearing disabilities.

Another significant update includes its integration within Capstone’s PebbleGo environment, the subscription-based content hub for cross-curricular instruction and research. Educators and students can easily discover and begin reading Capstone Interactive eBooks through a new “eBooks” tab as part of their subscription, reducing the need for keeping track of additional logins and website URLs. Educators can also easily share a direct link to an eBook, allowing students access with a single click.

The platform will also be mobile-responsive, improving student’s experience through intuitive touchscreen navigation and providing at-home and on-the-go access on smartphones, tablets, and computers to support school-to-home programs and independent learning.…Read More

How to ensure both security and accessibility in your district’s IT strategy

Keeping student and educator information safe and protected is a top priority, particularly now in the wake of skyrocketing cyberattacks. When it comes to fighting cyberattacks, schools need versatile solutions that update, adapt, and scale to support everyone, in and out of the classroom.

In an eSchool News webinar, cybersecurity and school district IT experts share tips on how to implement the Microsoft tools and systems to ensure your IT is safe, accessible, and easy to manage.

Experts dive into the following tips:…Read More

Benetech Inclusive AI Initiatives Break down Barriers to STEM

PALO ALTO, Calif. — June 17, 2022 —Benetech, the leading software for social good nonprofit, today announced two significant AI initiatives to reduce barriers to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and employment for people with disabilities and learning and thinking differences. The programs, supported by General Motors (GM) and Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt, are focused on leveraging AI to make complex visuals, graphs, and equations in science and math educational materials accessible to people with dyslexia, vision loss, and other reading barriers. This technology will be used to enhance the accessibility of STEM education materials for students with reading barriers and empower other education stakeholders, including teachers, publishers, researchers, and students themselves, to improve the accessibility of their own materials. 

“Betting early on people and organizations addressing big challenges is one of our core guiding principles,” said Kumar Garg, Vice President of Partnerships, at Schmidt Futures. “Math literacy is essential for a 21st century STEM education, the foundation to compete for jobs of the future. Benetech’s vision to make tools that can provide new pathways to make STEM education accessible will transform the livelihoods of millions of students.” 

Benetech brings two decades of expertise leveraging new technology to make reading and learning accessible for people with reading barriers, at scale, through its Bookshare initiative. However, transforming STEM education materials into accessible formats poses a significant challenge. Textbooks have complex formats, full of charts, graphs, and equations that must be manually transformed into accessible formats. The average Math textbook has over 5,000 equations, and it can take three to four months for a human to transform a print math book into accessible formats that can be properly read by a screen reader. This is a significant obstacle for students with reading barriers. …Read More