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Promoting Achievement through Technology and INstruction for all Students
Feb
17

ICAM: Removing Barriers to Reading for Almost Twenty Years

Since 2017 I have been a proud team member of the Indiana Center for Accessible Materials (ICAM). The ICAM team shares information, provides training, and encourages stakeholders to utilize our services for their students. One of the topics we frequently discuss is the NIMAC (National National Instructional Materials Access Center). 

Established by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004, the NIMAC is a federally funded, online file repository of source files in the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) format. Here, authorized users (the ICAM is an authorized user) can access more than 52,000 K-12 NIMAS files for use in the production of accessible formats for students with disabilities. Digital Rights Managers (DRMs) are trained on the process of ordering materials, many of which we obtain from the NIMAC. The NIMAC provides a digital file to the ICAM/IERC (Indiana Educational Resource Center) which allows us to provide accessible formats such as braille, large print, ePubs, and accessible PDFs. All files that are sent by the ICAM to the end user are accessible.

Recently, I was notified that the ICAM is the 4th highest downloader of NIMAS files in the country! Our total unique downloads were surpassed only by Bookshare, American Printing House (APH), and the California Dept of Education. 

I am so proud of this achievement and the ICAM team which includes Jeff Bond, Martha Hammond, and myself. I also want to include the very talented group of Specialists and all of the staff members from the PATINS Project. I also want to thank the entire staff at the Indiana Educational Resource Center (IERC). This accomplishment could not have been achieved without the hard work of our entire staff.  

The students of Indiana are the benefactors of everyone’s hard work. K–12 students with qualifying print disabilities are receiving their accessible formats of textbooks, core curriculum instructional materials, and popular fiction titles in a timely manner.

The benefits for students are explained on the CAST website: “The use of accessible digital materials and technologies strengthens opportunities for all learners to experience independence, participation and progress. Accessible versions of educational materials may mean the difference between learning barriers and learning opportunities.

Increasingly, students with disabilities are spending most or all of the school day in general education classes (NCES, 2019). When students have difficulty using their materials and technologies due to a disability, they are at risk of falling behind their peers. Timely access to accessible digital materials and technologies for students with disabilities results in the same opportunities to fully and independently participate and make progress in the curriculum as students without disabilities.” 

How can we help your qualifying students get started? Please let us know!


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