Aim: To help educators familiarize themselves with the features of the Bibliodos project and to use them in their own projects.
Key Words: Text-to-speech, layout, inclusion.
Prior Knowledge: See relevant practice sheets.
Creating adapted ebooks and workshops for your learners is one step closer to easy with the tools that we have developed in Bibliodos! In this Practice sheet, we will analyze the different support we have used to create the platform, in order to help you develop all the necessary skills in adapting your own work.
When it comes to the text in itself, there are a few things to take into account. All of the literary works used in this project were available under the Creative Common License. This license allows for the reproduction of content freely available in the public domain. The public domain varies between countries, but in general, a public domain book is a book with no copyright, whose author died at least 70 years prior to its contemporary use. You can find thousands of literary pieces available in the public domain. Some online archives such as Gutenberg, Feedbooks or Librivox offer you a large variety of European and international classics!
Once you have selected your story to adapt, the next step is therefore to analyze the story and create a storyboard of the book. This will allow you to break down the narrative to focus on the key elements. Depending on the level of your learners, you can use tools such as text inspector or English vocabulary profile to decide if the words or sentences you wish to use are at an appropriate level of difficulty for your audience.
Then, once the text is ready to be uploaded on the platform, thinking about the layout and structure comes into place. For this specific project, we picked the font Luciole. It is freely available and was designed explicitly for visually impaired people. Other resources such as Open Dyslexic are good tools to keep in mind when practicing reading skills with various audience and backgrounds.
Access to audio learning is paramount for learners with a variety of difficulties, ranging from dyslexia to visually impaired people. When it comes to dys disorders for example, audio learning opens a whole new range of possibilities, as students do not have to decipher, decode, and focus on the words and written information. This allows for a smoother and more inclusive learning experience.
As a result, the Bibliodos team decided to include text-to-speech technology (TTS) for all the eBooks. TTS, sometimes also called ‘read aloud’, is a type of assistive technology that read digital text into audio. Here, the learners simply have to click on the word and it will be converted into audio. Learners can also decide on the speed of the specific audio. This function is supported by the browser and the operating system.
Text-to-speech technology is a little different than audiobooks. Audiobooks are usually read with intonation, voice fluctuation and theatrical expressions to convey the message to the learner in a more natural way. Therefore, for this project we decided to add audiobooks in addition to the speech technology. This allows for a nicer experience for learners with little to no reading skills, students with Dys or visually impaired people.
The educator, teacher or trainer can record the story that they have previously storyboarded, in the same ways as a storytelling activity. For this, we have added an audio recorder to the platform. Easy to use, the teacher can simply press record, allow the microphone on the browser, and press ‘done’ then ‘download’ when it is done. For more advanced users, the use of ‘Audacity’ is also an option.
Lastly, as the goal of this project was to create an inclusive environment to classical literature, we decided to add videos in International Sign (IS) for our hearing impaired audience. IS is a pidgin sign language which is used internationally and can be understood by a variety of signers from different origins, regardless of their signing language.
Choose one of the previously mentioned sub-sections (layout, text-to-speech, audio, etc) and adapt a short story, fable, myth of your own background to the technology. For example, take a short story, and use the audio recorder provided to record the story. Or download the Luciole font, and adapt your text using it.
At the end of this practice sheet, you will be able:
- To understand the choices made behind the platform structure;
- To use the tools appropriately in the creation of your own eBooks;
- To get access to resources that can be used in other contexts as well.