Multimedia-Enabled Dot Codes as Communication Technologies

Multimedia-Enabled Dot Codes as Communication Technologies

Shigeru Ikuta (Otsuma Women's University, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7601-3.ch021

Abstract

The 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 the chapter, 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 chapter, 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.

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