FASTtrack Presentation at AHEAD 2017: 6 Key Takeaways

That’s a wrap! Last week was AHEAD’s 40th annual conference at the Hilton Orlando Hotel in Orlando, FL. Every year we are thrilled to attend, and this year was no exception.

Our booth was open to visitors Wednesday evening until Friday morning. Big thanks to everyone who came by to say hello (and stay hydrated!). 

Woman dressed as a cheetah - she's smiling and holding a tumbler in front of a water dispenser

The T-Base cheetah was quite excited to return to the floor this year; she was busy handing out swag and greeting attendees.

FASTtrack Helps DSS Offices Get Braille Textbooks in Student Hands 2x Faster: Presentation at AHEAD

On Thursday, July 20, from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. in the Lake Virginia room we held a one-hour product demonstration.

The focus?

How DSS offices can get braille textbooks in student hands 2x faster.

For those of you who missed the presentation, below are six key takeaways:

1. Braille remains an essential resource for students.

Based on our research and stats pertaining to literacy and employment, braille remains an essential resource for students who are blind or have low vision.

One 2015 Bell & Nino study found the following:

- Braille readers are being employed at a rate of 58% and those who do not read braille are being employed at a rate of 44%.

- Braille readers are earning an average salary of $45,947 and non braille readers are earning an average of $34,826.

2. DSS offices are frustrated with turnaround time.

A few weeks before the conference, we surveyed AHEAD members and 91% of respondents said that they would like to see their textbooks transcribed faster.

Circle graph showing 91% of respondents said they would like to see their textbooks transcribed faster and four quotes: "The turnaround time was not workable for us." "Time is of the essence. Students need material faster." "The time and effort required is significant." " It's a hodgepodge process."

Respondents' comments included the following:

  • "The turnaround time was not workable for us."
  • "Time is of the essence. Students need material faster."
  • "The time and effort required is significant."
  • "It's a hodgepodge process."

2. Demand for accessible instructional material is high.

Universities, colleges, k-12 and publishers need fast turnaround, high quality and a vendor that can handle high-volume, complex orders.

3. Supply of accessible instructional material is inadequate.

Transcription is a typically manual, arduous process that takes 4-9 months* to complete. Additionally, there is a shortage of subject matter experts (i.e. an unreliable network). Wall & Siller, 2002, on what contributes to the shortage >>

“Long-standing reliance on volunteer braillists, whether through volunteer organizations or prison programs, has hampered overall braille production by not promoting the position of braillist as a viable career.”

4. Big problem, big consequences

A few things can happen when students don’t get accessible instructional material on time:

  • They may voice their frustration to DSS offices
  • A poor learning environment develops
  • Potential litigation

5. There's a solution: FASTtrack (semi-automated braille transcription)

T-Base has developed a software solution for semi-automated braille transcription called FASTtrack. Combining quality (guidance by trained operators, QA by SME’s) and speed (automation), what results is output that meets expectations of quality and turnaround.

A few ways FASTtrack simplifies and accelerates the transcription process:

  • Less reliance on subject matter experts, thus we can scale quick and handle greater volume
  • Less opportunity for human error
  • Material is provided in a variety of formats faster
  • Students receive accessible instructional materials 2x faster

As a FASTtrackVIP member, you receive exclusive benefits and rewards. Learn about the program and sign up to try before you buy: Become a FASTtrackVIP Member Today! (Terms and conditions apply. Please see VIP page for details.)

*The industry standard according to the American Foundation for the Blind: Converting printed textbooks into braille is a complex process that takes about four to nine months.

Lucy Morrissey - Jul 24, 2017

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