Multimedia-Enabled Dot Codes as Communication Technologies

Multimedia-Enabled Dot Codes as Communication Technologies

Shigeru Ikuta (Otsuma Women's University, Japan)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch561
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Abstract

The present author has been using new dot codes developed independently by Gridmark, Inc. and Apollo Japan, and conducting school activities with original handmade teaching materials overlaid with these dot codes in collaboration with schoolteachers all over the world. In our work, just touching the “invisible” dot codes printed on the paper or symbol icons by using a sound pen clearly reproduces voices and sounds. By using a scanner pen connected to a tablet or PC, multimedia sources such as movies, Web pages, and PowerPoint files, in addition to voices and sounds, can be reproduced on its screen. In this article, state-of-the-art dot code technology including a recently developed new application for a smart phone is outlined, and basic information regarding the creation of original handmade materials using dot codes and the use at both general and special needs schools is presented.
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Introduction

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies are widely used, providing students with severe speech, language, and communication difficulties the opportunity to improve their communication, and by extension, their relationships with others. AAC systems utilize assistive technology (AT) devices that range from no-tech to high-tech. Modifying young children’s environments by using AT, defined as any tool, device, or adaptation that allows them more ways to gain access to the people, places, and setting where they can be exposed to typical developmental activities, increases opportunities for learning (Sadao & Robinson, 2010). Dell, Newton, and Petroff (2016) described the practical use of such devices in a classroom. Carpenter, Johnston, and Beard (2014) published a text for both in-service and pre-service educators to introduce AT. Jonge, Scherer, and Rodger (2007) provided an opportunity to try to understand the experiences of AT users in the workplace.

A widely used AAC tool, voice output communication aids (VOCAs) utilize single-level or multi-level outputs to convey sounds. Although there are a variety of VOCAs catering to students with different abilities and needs (Inclusive design research center, 2016; RESEARCH AUTISM, 2016), most devices are severely hampered by their low-output numbers and short lengths of time that they can record.

Approximately ten years ago, to address the above problems the present author started using Scan Talk dot codes developed by Olympus Co. (1999). Such codes transform voices and sounds into two-dimensional dot codes directly outputted on ordinary paper. Students with severe hand, finger, or mental challenges, however, could not correctly trace Scan Talk codes using the Scan Talk Reader. The present author, therefore, used new dot codes developed independently by Gridmark, Inc. (2009) and Apollo Japan (2005) and conducted school activities with original handmade teaching materials overlaid with these dot codes. In our work, just touching the “invisible” dot codes printed on the paper or symbol icons by using a sound pen clearly reproduces voices and sounds. By using the identical sound pen or a scanner pen connected to a tablet or PC, multimedia sources such as movies, Web pages, and PowerPoint files, in addition to voices and sounds, can be reproduced on its screen.

In this article, state-of-the-art dot code technology is outlined, and basic information regarding the creation of original handmade materials using dot codes and the use at both general and special needs schools is presented.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Magical Sheet: This specially designed sheet has the order for each dot code imprinted on each symbol icon. The sheet has additional symbol icons with audio-recording functionality and mode changing. The icons can then be taken off and pasted onto a target object and touched with sound and scanner pens. The “magical sheet” enables the costly GridOnput system to be used at any school at a low cost.

Handmade Content: Original handmade teaching content plays a key role in learning, as each student has different thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires. Independent teaching material should be prepared and used for each individual, especially in preschool and special needs classrooms.

Voice Output Communication Aid: Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs) are widely used AT devices that utilize single-level or multi-level outputs to convey sounds. While a variety of VOCAs exist that cater to students of different abilities and needs, most devices are severely hampered by their low-output numbers and short recording times.

Dot Code: Invisible dot codes developed by Gridmark, Inc. are a novel two-dimensional code technology consisting of extremely small dots practically imperceptible to the human eye. Each symbol icon can be linked to up to four audio clips. Multimedia such as movies can also be linked to the same symbol icon. A simple touch by sound and scanner pens on the symbol icon enables links between paper and digital content.

Sound Pen: Sound pens, such as G-Talk and G-Speak, reproduce original voices and sounds by simply touching the dot-coded symbol icons or the dot codes directly overlaid on the paper.

Assistive Technology: Assistive technology (AT) devices range from no-tech to high-tech and help to properly assess the correct communication systems for students with severe speech-language deficits; as such, professionals work with students, teachers, and individuals who interact with students on a daily basis.

Communication Aid: Communication aids based on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies have been widely used to provide students with severe speech, language, and communication difficulties the opportunity to achieve successful communication and relationships with others.

School Activity: School activities at special needs schools can be improved through the use of original and individual handmade teaching materials and aids suitable for each student with disabilities.

Scanner Pen: Scanner pens such as the G-Pen can read dot codes printed on paper and play back multimedia (such as movies) on the screen of a G-Pen connected to a tablet or personal computer.

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