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ATSP advocates on behalf of K-12 captioning, reveals new donation options, and more!
A young girl filling out a school worksheet

ATSP Advocates on Behalf of K-12 Captioning

As part of ATSP's ongoing efforts to petition the Library of Congress regarding copyright exemptions for captioning, we have reached out to a variety of K-12 educators, accessibility vendors, and disability advocates to gain additional perspective on the captioning needs of K-12 institutions.

K-12 schools subject to accessibility laws routinely use educational media, including YouTube videos, to demonstrate literary and reading concepts, science concepts, and documentary footage for social social studies and history classes. We received numerous responses from educators who used videos in their classes to cover subjects ranging from literary comparison to chicken embryology to the biology of blood-borne pathogens, and we shared this information with the U.S. Library of Congress, highlighting the need for captioning options (as these works are routinely not captioned or described).

Additionally, we found that many educators simply choose not to show videos to any students when confronted with obligations to make videos accessible under the law. The law is intended to allow equal access, not a lack of access for everyone. We have argued that, rather than discourage the use of educational media, exemptions should allow for reasonable circumvention of technological protection measures to allow for the addition of captions and video descriptions.

This petition continues to be opposed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

We expect a decision to be made sometime in Fall 2018. Updates will be shared via the ATSP newsletter and blog.
Behind the Scenes

ATSP Launches New Donation Page

In response to member requests, ATSP has now made it easier than ever to donate by creating a secure donation page on our website. Donations help to fund ATSP's efforts to create new educational features and to host future events, they help to support advocacy projects like our recent petition in Washington, D.C., and they reinforce shared values within our speech-to-text community. 

Contributions may be made publicly or anonymously, and can be scheduled for one-time or on a recurring basis. Because ATSP is a Section 501(c)3 nonprofit, your gift may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income tax purposes. Please consult your tax advisor and/or the IRS to determine whether your contribution is deductible.

This is just one new way to donate to ATSP. For information about AmazonSmile contributions, see the "Calling All Members" section below.
A 2017 iPad

Tech Corner: iPad (6th Generation)

Here at ATSP, we like to put on our tech-hats and our computer glasses from time to time and take a closer look at the hardware being used to serve the speech-to-text community. We aren't computer experts, so if you're looking for an in-depth discussion of "multi-teraflop GPUs" and "double data rate RAM," you've probably come to the wrong place. What we do at Tech Corner is try out a product in real-life situations and then share our perception of it as laypersons.

In this case, we recruited a number of students who were Deaf and Hard of Hearing and asked them to test out Apple's latest iPad by taking it into campus classrooms where a team of experienced remote transcribers were able to test its remote capabilities. It's worth noting that neither the students nor the transcribers had ever used an iPad for remote service provision before, yet all of them offered a positive review:

Student 1: I really liked using the iPad because it was easier to use than the other tablets and, with its larger and brighter screen, much easier to read.

Transcriber 1: The call initially dropped; however, it reconnected right away and remained strong throughout the rest of the class. Compared to the other tablets we have been using, the audio was noticeably clearer (though a bit softer, which wasn't a problem because I just turned up the volume on my end). This was a large Biology class, and yet I had no trouble hearing the instructor.

Student 2: I hated the old tablets. They looked and felt cheap, so I stopped using mine. I would just connect with my phone instead. I would definitely use this tablet, though. It was easy to read, and it didn't feel like I was carrying around a kid's toy.

Transcriber 2: With the iPad located in the first row (center) of them room, the instructor's voice and volume was very good. The dynamic range seemed to have slightly more low-end bass than other tablets, but not in a distracting or obnoxious way. It didn't "boom" or obscure/muddle what was being said. It was different, but not worse. There are maybe 20 students in this class, give or take, and with the iPad in landscape mode, students on one side of the room were clearly audible, no matter how far they sat from the iPad). Students on the other side of the room were much harder to hear. It seems like the microphones on the iPad are sensitive along a certain axis and dependent on directionality.

Student 3: There were no issues with the equipment. The display seemed brighter and clearer, which made it easier to read when the instructor turned the lights out to show slides on the overhead.

Transcriber 3: I tested this in a large Sociology classroom and didn't notice much difference between the audio quality of the iPad and the audio quality of other tablets we used. That's to say, that most of what the instructor said was audible, but (like always) it became harder to hear if the instructor moved to the far opposite side of the room. When I asked the student to move the tablet around (sitting upright vs. flat) it didn't seem to impact the quality of the audio one way or the other. In summary, everything worked, it was clear, and I could hear.

Student 4: In my Music Theory class, the iPad was so much easier to use than the other tablet, and it seemed to drop calls less often. The quality of the display was immediately noticeable. I used the voice recorder app to record some audio to review later, and that also sounded good. 

Transcriber 4: The audio was very crisp and clear. It may have been slightly softer than in the past, but I could still hear fine to transcribe. The Wi-Fi connection seemed very strong throughout class.

(Note: these tablets were tested without the use of additional equipment, such as Bluetooth microphones.)


PROS: The tablet is sleek, light, and modern. Its display quality is top-notch, making it easy to read. It is exceptionally easy to use. Audio was reported to be clear and easy to understand. Because this is a new product, it should continue to receive regular security updates, operating system updates, etc. The battery life of the tablet routinely outperforms its listed 10-hour estimate.

CONS: The tablet's background noise suppression may result in softer audio volume. The tablet's internal microphone seems very sensitive to the direction in which it is pointed. However, with Bluetooth and Airplay support, there should be a number of omnidirectional microphones available to pair with it. It is a pricier piece of equipment.

Have you used a new iPad (6th Gen) to provide or receive speech to text services? Share your experience with us.
The Specs:

iPad (2018)
32GB Wi-Fi Model
2.3GHz quad-core A10 processor
9.7-inch Retina Display (LED-backlit, 1536 x 2048 pixels)
Dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless radio
10-hour battery life
The Legal Stuff: ATSP has not received compensation for this review. This review is not meant as a professional or organizational endorsement of any product or company. ATSP recommends that you conduct thorough research before purchasing any hardware or software for use with consumers to decide what best fits your needs.

If you would like to submit a product review of your own, please contact us.
Calling All Members
The amazon smile logo from ATSP's website

ATSP Christmas in July!

Last month, the Association of Transcribers and Speech-to-text Providers received its first donation from the AmazonSmile Foundation as a result of member activity in the new year! These donations help ATSP to continue its education and advocacy efforts on behalf of members. 

For those who don't know, AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon. It offers all the same products, prices, and shopping features as; however, when you shop at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of your purchase price to the charitable organization of your choice.

So, don't forget to link your Amazon account to support ATSP on eligible purchases from Amazon. It's easy, it's free, and it supports a good cause!
Copyright © 2018 Association of Transcribers and Speech-to-text Providers, All rights reserved.

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