This team will be a true example of multidisciplinary research in that no one part of the team has the wide-ranging expertise needed to undertake the research alone. The program will draw upon the theoretical expertise of two major state Universities, the practical and innovative technological experience of a high-tech company, and the outcome-based expertise of a school actually deploying the products. Given all three pieces of the overall project, dramatic and effective results can be expected.
- gh, LLC ("gh") provides information access solutions that maximize the accessibility of print and electronic media, thereby allowing persons with print disabilities to gain equal access to information. Through innovation and expert knowledge in disabilities, gh offers information access solutions, assistive technology products, and value-added professional services that provide students, employees and consumers with the most accessible, usable, and affordable solutions for accessing information. gh was founded in 2000, and since then has provided millions of pages of braille, tens of thousands of READ™ products, and thousands of LaserLine™ tactile graphics to customers ranging from the Federal Government, State Educational Agencies, schools, universities, large corporations, and individual disabled consumers.
- Purdue University is one of the world's leading institutions for SMET education and research. As the state land-grant institution, Purdue is tasked with the unique mission of ensuring engagement and technology transfer into the private sector. Team members from Purdue include Dr. Lyle Lloyd, a world-renowned expert in Special Education, Dr. Ronnie Wilbur, whose expertise includes literacy, language, and deafness, linguistics and American Sign Language, and Dr. Lecretia Buckley, an expert in Mathematics Education. Drs. Lloyd and Wilbur both have extensive experience in technology transfer activities from prior research. Purdue has made a strong committment to the application of technology to helping persons with disabilities, as evidenced by President Jischke's recently issued letter of support for the project.
- Butler University emphasizes both a liberal arts-based education and teaching as a primary activity of all professors. Faculty work closely with students both inside and outside the classroom as part of an active student learning approach. Butler has expertise in using Educational Technology to promote learning in high-tech fields. Dr. Maurer, in addition to being an expert in Educational Technology, is also active in working with the Indiana School for the Blind.
- The Indiana School for the Blind, established in 1847, is accredited by state and national certifying organizations. The school, with an enrollment of approximately 179 students and funding from the State of Indiana, offers pre-school through high school programs, free of charge on a residential or day school basis, to young visually impaired students in Indiana. The school provides students with instruction in the same coursework required of all school-aged children in Indiana.
While not active partners in the research, these organizations are important contributors to the overall problem of accessibility of Math and Science. The research team will be working with these organizations to incorporate their efforts into the project.
- National File Format (NFF) - National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS): The Secretary of Education has authorized OSEP, The Office of Special Education Programs, to issue a supplement to the National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum led by CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology) , to convene an expert panel to establish a voluntary national standard for accessible digital instructional materials for students with disabilities. The recent re-authorization of IDEAS has converted this voluntary standard into a mandatory one called NIMAS (National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard), to be implemented by publishers no later than 2005. gh is an active member of the Technology Sub-committee of this panel. NFF will work with gh to incorporate MathSpeak™ into the NFF standard, so the future books can include a MathSpeak™ component.
- National Information Standards Organization (NISO): NISO is a non-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This association identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information in our changing and ever-more digital environment. NISO standards apply both traditional and new technologies to the full range of information-related needs, including retrieval, re-purposing, storage, metadata, and preservation. NISO will work with gh to incorporate MathSpeak™ into the ANSI/NISO Z39.86 DTB standard, so the future DTBs can include a MathSpeak™ component.
- Mazer Corporation: The Mazer Corporation is a 38-year-old developer of educational materials for major academic publishers; services include scope and sequence development, writing, editing design, composition, electronic pre-press, interactive multimedia, web page development, ancillary printing and database management. Mazer will provide the textbook content, source files, and Digital Rights for the textbook used in the project.
More information about the Team Members can be found in the "Meet the Team" section of the MathSpeak™ WWW Page.
- Dave Schleppenbach, a Chemist by formal education, began his AT career by founding and directing the VISIONS Lab at Purdue University in 1995, where he developed hardware and software solutions for visually impaired students. In 2000 he co-founded gh, LLC and continues to serve as Chief Executive Officer. Dave brings to gh 8 years of experience in assistive technology, including his strong reputation in both academic research, and administering federally funded programs. Dave has worked with hundreds of blind students to develop specialized curricula for science and math. Dave also has a personal interest in disabilities through his wife Wendi, who has been blind since birth. Dave will serve as the overall project leader and will direct the technological development of the products. His responsibilities will include the coordination of development of MathSpeak™ specifications with Purdue specialists, the direction of programming for the gh PLAYER™ module for MathSpeak™ in coordination with the Butler expert, the actual development of "gh-XML" specifications for MathSpeak™, the direction of programming of MathSpeak™ TTS, and coordination of the outcome assessments completed by Purdue experts and ISB.
- Dr. Abraham Nemeth is a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Detroit Mercy. Blind since birth, Dr. Nemeth is the creator of Nemeth Code Braille, the nationwide standard system of Braille used for Mathematics and Science. Dr. Nemeth is also the inventor of the MathSpeak™ concept, a direct analog to Nemeth Braille, which is used for the verbal rendering of mathematical equations. Dr. Nemeth currently works for gh in product development, testing, and quality control. Dr. Nemeth's perspective is unique since he is one of a handful of blind individuals who holds an advanced degree in mathematics. Dr. Nemeth will be responsible for the preliminary development of MathSpeak™ specification in conjunction with Purdue experts, and will also be instrumental in quality control and testing of the final products.
- Dr. Lyle Lloyd is a speech pathologist and audiologist. His primary clinical research and teaching are in the areas of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for individuals with severe communication problems related to physical and/or cognitive disabilities. Lloyd has service, teaching, administrative, and research experience in public schools, state (MR/DD) facilities, universities, community clinics, and the federal government. Lloyd is a Fellow of both the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR). He has held numerous elected and appointed offices in several professional organizations including serving as CEC Division for Children with Communication Disorders President, founder and the first chair of the AAMR Communication Disorders Division, and 1978 ASHA Program Committee Chair. He was a founder of the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), serving as the first Vice President for Publications and then as an Editor of the Journal of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (1986-93). He is the only person to receive the biennial ISAAC Presidents Award twice (1988 and 1998). He also received the ISAAC Distinguished Service Award (1994) making him the only person to receive both of ISAAC's highest awards for his research and professional leadership in AAC. Dr. Lloyd will be responsible for the design of products from the standpoint of non-visually impaired but nonetheless print-disabled users. He will lead Purdue's research in this area, and also serve as designer and coordinator of outcome assessments at ISB.
- Dr. Ronnie Wilbur has investigated the educational and linguistic factors that inhibit full development of English literacy by deaf children. Her current research focuses on the structure of sign languages and what that tells us about the nature of language and cognition. Specific ongoing projects include: Non-manuals (facial expressions) and their role in syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and prosody (intonation); an innovative linguistic-computational approach to automatic sign recognition; and a comparison of American Sign Language, Austrian Sign Language, and Croatia Sign Language. In addition to her duties as a Professor and Chair of Linguistics at Purdue University, Dr. Wilbur is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Sign Language & Linguistics. Dr. Wilbur will be responsible for the linguistic design considerations of MathSpeak™, and will coordinate the Purdue team's research in this area. Dr. Wilbur will also assist gh with the input-output considerations needed for the development of a custom Text-to-Speech engine for MathSpeak™. Dr. Wilbur will also be instrumental in product design considerations for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing users.
- Dr. Lecretia Buckley is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the School of Education at Purdue. Buckley's research interests include equity issues in the teaching and learning of mathematics at the middle and secondary levels. She studied combinatorics at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, and quotient sets at Howard University, Washington, D.C. Buckley completed the Bachelor of Science degree from Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi, in May 1995 and the Master of Science in the Teaching of Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 1998. Dr. Buckley will be responsible for the design of MathSpeak™ specification in areas concerning mathematics education, and will serve as Purdue's lead in this area. Dr. Buckley will ensure that the MathSpeak™ system is both consistent and complete for teaching advanced mathematics. In addition, Dr. Buckley will investigate design aspects of the products for mainstream (i. e. non-print-disabled) mathematics students as a potential spin-off market.
- Dr. Matt Maurer holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Iowa State University. He is currently an Associate Professor of Instructional Technology at Butler University, where he has taught since 1991. Dr. Maurer's current responsibilities include graduate/undergraduate instructional technology courses, workshops, and student teacher supervision. He has experience in collaboration with ISB on prior projects. In addition, Dr. Maurer also has a personal interest in disabilities through his brother Mark, a prominent blind attorney and president of the National Federation of the Blind. Dr Maurer will be responsible for design and feature matching of the actual gh PLAYER™ MathSpeak™ module. Dr. Maurer will ensure that the product is age-appropriate for a variety of students and an efficacious technological solution for learning. Dr. Maurer will also assist in the design and implementation of outcome assessment studies at ISB.
- Pam Taylor has been an award-winning teacher of disabled K-12 students in SMET-related subjects since 1994. She will be responsible for implementing the outcome assessment for the products, and for ongoing assistance in design of the actual software.