Introducing Accessible Books and Educational Tools for Persons with Print Disabilities:
Benetech & Bookshare
November 7, 2018 | 12:30pm-2:00pm
Room J6-050 | 701 18th Street NW, Washington DC
Betsy Beaumon, CEO, Benetech
Brad Turner, VP Education, Benetech
Christopher Thomas, Adviser, Education Global Practice, The World Bank Group
Bookshare, created by the global nonprofit company Benetech, is an accessible online library for persons with print disabilities. People with reading barriers due to blindness, low vision, dyslexia, or a physical disability can enjoy reading through Bookshare, in a variety of accessible file formats including audio, highlighted text synchronized with audio, braille, and ePub. Although Bookshare is web based, constant connectivity is not needed. Students in low connectivity environments can download materials when they have access and use them any time on a range of assistive devices, including low cost mobile phones and mp3 players. Benetech has been partnering with Governments, Ministries of Education and local Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) around the world in more than 70 countries to deliver books and develop national accessible libraries powered by Bookshare but launched under the brand and auspices of locally relevant entities.
In addition to Bookshare, Benetech provides other scalable, inclusive, educational tools such as Mathshare, an online math tool to show work, and Imageshare, an online repository of accessible STEM images and tactile resources. Benetech also produces tools such as Data for Inclusion, a disability rights data platform.
This session provides an overview of Bookshare, other global literacy programs and educational tools of Benetech. In addition, copyright exceptions and the impact of the Marrakesh Treaty will be discussed along with the expansion of partnership opportunities.
About the presenters:
Betsy Beaumon has served in executive leadership roles for both for-profit and nonprofit technology organizations, most recently as Benetech’s President, driving the development and growth of all Benetech initiatives including inclusive education, poverty alleviation, and human rights. She is a social entrepreneur and engineer and has co-founded two software companies, including the first web-based Information and Referral service for human services. She defined the concept of “Born Accessible,” a vision where all digital content is made accessible to everyone when created. Betsy has developed products across the software, semiconductor, and information sectors and previously held senior positions with BEA Systems, TradeBeam, Social Online Service, and Cisco Systems. She holds a degree in electrical engineering from Northwestern University
Brad Turner is a business development and marketing leader with over 25 years of experience in technology, marketing and management. At Benetech, Brad is responsible for creating and operationalizing the strategic direction of the Benetech Global Literacy Program, including products, services, partnerships, and funding. Prior to Benetech, Brad was vice president of marketing and business development at Inkiru, a big data predictive analytics company acquired by Wal-Mart. He also served as the founder and CEO of Through the Lens, Inc., the creator of premier image and data management systems for medical practices. Brad is passionate about making sure all people have the opportunity to read and learn, regardless of ability.