Betsy Beaumon on Benetech's Literacy Program

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

The Year That Was and the New Year Ahead Guest Beneblog by Betsy Beaumon, Benetech's VP and General Manager of the Literacy Program 2012 was a year of titanic shifts in the fields of consumer technology, education, and publishing, along with the requisite challenges brought about by such rapid change. At the close of 2012, we are five years into our work in education and are serving over 230,000 students.

Twitter’s Claire Williams Shares Why Literacy Is Her Cause

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

Note from Beth: As a supporter of the work that the Sharing Foundation does for children in Cambodia, I’ve seen first hand the value of literacy programs in developing countries. Like many, I had duly devoured founder John Wood’s riveting bestseller and I fully admired the incredible work of Room to Read to promote literacy around the world. Read our blog about it, check out our literacy micro-site , and tweet with the cool widget we made.


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Interesting Uses of Technology: Virtual Libraries in Second Life

Tech Soup Blog

" Dr. Valerie Hill is an adjunct instructor at Texas Woman's University School of Library and Information Science and is also a librarian herself. She came to the Nonprofit Commons to share her areas of expertise in media literacy, human-computer interaction, and the impact of the digital revolution on education and libraries. The Rise of Virtual Libraries. Virtual libraries aren't a new phenomenon.

Are You Passionate about Technology and Social Good? Benetech Needs You!

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Benetech is hiring new Vice Presidents for our Global Literacy and Human Rights programs. We use technology today to help hundreds of thousands of students with disabilities succeed in school, as well as help human rights activists around the world document abuses and seek justice. Our Bookshare service is the world’s largest online library of accessible ebooks for people with disabilities, serving over 350,000 users in 60 countries.

Building a Digitally Literate Community

Tech Soup Blog

Libraries, nonprofits, and schools are already working hard to teach digital skills and competency, but they need support of the entire community to help people thrive in the technology age. A few months ago, I attended Microsoft Citizenship's YouthSpark Connection event and heard first-hand from recent high school graduates about how dire the need for digital literacy is. Defining Digital Literacy. But first, what exactly is digital literacy?

Advancing Reading Equality with Bookshare’s Exponential Growth

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

I’m thrilled to share with you some of the recent amazing impact of Bookshare , a Benetech Global Literacy initiative and the largest accessible online library of copyrighted content for people with print disabilities. students with visual impairments, physical disabilities, and severe learning disabilities like dyslexia, but we also serve international members in nearly 50 countries and are working to extend Bookshare’s reach to veterans who need access to books and information.

Nonprofit Advocacy Can Be a Force Multiplier for Social Change

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

You see, several months later, the federal Department of Education challenged us to compete against a well-respected national nonprofit 60 times our size in a bid to provide accessible educational materials for US students who are blind, dyslexic, or otherwise print disabled. We didn’t have to convince them that students with disabilities had important needs. This post originally appeared on Arabella Advisors'' Greater Good blog as part of the series Impact 2014.

Robin Seaman, Agent of Inclusion

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

The nonprofit Benetech team built the revolutionary Bookshare library for this community, all online, and based on the powerfully flexible ebook. We named this library Bookshare because it was created with an army of crowdsourcing volunteers, many of them blind people themselves, who scan the books using optical character recognition. However, building Bookshare into the world's biggest library for people with disabilities wasn't enough social good for Robin.

On the Future of Braille: Thoughts by Radical Braille Advocates

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Guest Beneblog by Betsy Beaumon, VP and General Manager, Benetech’s Global Literacy Program. Betsy Beaumon I recently had the honor to speak at the first-ever Braille Summit , hosted on June 19-21, 2013 by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) and Perkins School for the Blind. With the goal of promoting braille literacy, this landmark meeting brought together braille experts from around the world to Perkins’ campus in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Bookshare Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary at Google

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Bookshare, Benetech’s pioneering digital library for people with print disabilities, celebrated its 10th birthday last night with a terrific party that was attended by many of our long-time friends and supporters. Betsy Beaumon, Benetech VP and General Manager of Bookshare During the event, our Bookshare staff offered demos of our Bookshare library and our Go Read accessible ebook reader for Android.

Benetech: President's Update

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

I want to unveil several of these new initiatives, as well as sneaking in some of the incredible things happening in our core programs in literacy and human rights. Highlights of this Letter: SocialCoding4Good CityOptions Read2Go and Route 66 Literacy Selected Program Updates Human rights: Legal victory in Guatemala, PBS NewsHour stories Literacy: Major milestones for Bookshare at home and abroad SocialCoding4Good Just funded by the John S.

10X: CEO’s Update: Spring 2014

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Technology currently serves privileged groups through tools that provide access to education, literacy, health, and justice. Highlights of this Update: Human Rights Global Literacy Benetech Labs and Board of Directors Human Rights In the age of hyper-surveillance, it is clear that at-risk human rights defenders are no longer the only ones who need the know-how to protect sensitive information. Our Bookshare online library is continuing to multiply its impact.

Leveraging Impact through Technology (LIT)

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Of course, accessibility is right up Benetech’s alley and the focus of our Literacy program. In my Fall 2011 President's Update , I mentioned some of our incredible recent achievements in this core program, including the amazing milestones of our Bookshare library. Today I’m delighted to share the exciting news about the new award we just received from OSEP to build upon Bookshare’s success and significantly improve access for students with disabilities.

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Opposing attempt to TM "Social Enterprise"

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

The great majority of social enterprises are nonprofit organizations dedicated to the social good through employing disadvantaged people, educating students, improving the environment, advancing health care, respect for human rights and so many other beneficial activities. I've been working closely with Kevin Lynch, the CEO of the Social Enterprise Alliance, on countering the efforts of to attempt to trademark the name of our entire field, Social Enterprise.

Fair Use Victory Advances a Future of Accessibility for All

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

The HathiTrust Digital Library (HDL) is a partnership of academic and research institutions that had created (with help from Google ) a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. To most patrons, HDL merely delivers titles and page numbers as results, but the University of Michigan’s Library, one of the HathiTrust members, does allow access to the full text of copyrighted works for people with qualifying print disabilities.

Support Bookshare for Veterans

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

For them, Bookshare —Benetech’s Global Literacy initiative and the world’s largest accessible digital library for people with print disabilities—opens up a lifeline to reading. We’re proud of our success bringing the benefits of Bookshare’s rapidly growing collection of accessible books to American students with print disabilities, but we’re nowhere near done. The U.S.

The Case for Copyright Exceptions and Fair Use

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

The tools we develop for that purpose span a range of fields—from human rights , to global literacy , to the environment —but no matter what area we work in, we depend on an IP system that’s friendly to technological advances and to positive social impact. We called this idea Bookshare , which is now Benetech’s largest Global Literacy initiative. students) with a collection of 220,000+ (and counting) accessible books—the world’s largest library of its kind.

Bringing Millions of Books to Billions of People: Making the Book Truly Accessible

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Literacy and access to knowledge underpins just about every social good, from education, to economic development, to health, to women’s empowerment, democracy and respect for human rights. We have an array of copyright exceptions that cover the activities of archives and libraries, especially fair use and the copyright exception that benefits people with disabilities. The next challenge we’re working on is to bring this incredible library to the rest of the world.

CEO’s Update: Fall 2014

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

From people in Latin America who face severe water scarcity to at-risk human rights defenders and students with disabilities, our users and their families are the ones who best convey the impact of our work. Consider third grade student Brennan Draves. He reads accessible ebooks from Benetech’s Bookshare library in braille format, and learns as quickly as his peers without disabilities.

9 Amazing Organizations Share Their Tech Success

Tech Soup Blog

Over the past year, we've been doing TechSoup Impact stories about nonprofits, churches, and libraries doing great work with TechSoup product donations. " Waukesha Public Library. An increasing number of public libraries are discovering TechSoup donations, but few are maxing them out like Waukesha Public Library in Wisconsin. New Heights Educational Group is an educational support and literacy center for families with children who are struggling in school.

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Benetech: President's Update

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Bookshare Hits 100,000 Members Boy reading at a computer with teacher in the background.Since the beginning of 2009, we’ve tripled the number of people with disabilities Bookshare is serving with our accessible library of ebooks. The amazing thing about serving 100,000 students right now is that our commitment to the U.S. Department of Education was to serve 100,000 students by the end of our five-year contract in late 2012.

Online Collaboration: Taking Education to New Heights

Tech Soup Blog

" In this spirit, New Heights provides everything from tutoring services to curriculums, a library with more than 3,000 books, field trips, and online classes. New Heights, by promoting literacy through a wide range of programs, has produced radical results. Not every student can be reached in person. For New Heights to realize its dream of fair and equal education, it must use remote work tools to connect with students directly in their homes.

Carrie Karnos, recipient of the 2006 James H. Veale Humanitarian Award.

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Although the members of our board were impressed with all three nominees, they awarded Carrie Karnos of Palo Alto, CA, the 2006 Veale Award for her work with an accessible online library called Bookshare. According to the Web site, a $25 initiation fee and a $50 annual subscription "gives patrons access to a library of more than 30,000 books and 150 newspapers. Notice that it is because of Carrie's work that almost 10 percent of Bookshare's library exists.

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The Story in the Numbers

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Those who envision what could be possible by having Benetech apply innovative technology to the areas of Literacy, Human Rights, and the Environment, and who enable us to explore new opportunities for creating social good. As an example, in 2008, we accounted for $1,772,761 in capitalization of a major website upgrade for our Bookshare library. Department of Education that enables us to provide the Bookshare library services for free to all qualifying U.S.

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Access and Washington

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

The goal of this repository is to ensure that students with print disabilities have easy access to textbooks. The goal of this on-line library is to stop the scanning of textbooks for K-12 education - a job which is now done by parents, teachers and students. This agreement would allow our volunteers to do what they do best: turn these electronic files into accessible books for students with print disabilities.

Leading the Participant

Museum 2.0

Last month, the radio show This American Life ran a fascinating episode called " Kid Politics ," which starts with a long segment about the Air Force One Discovery Center immersive experience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The Discovery Center is a one-hour simulation in which groups of students (grade 5 and up) role play in a realistic, interactive environment. Starlee follows the group of students who portray Reagan and his advisors in the Oval Office.

Writing and Speech Assistance Tools Are Now Available at TechSoup

Tech Soup Blog

TechSoup has partnered with goQ Software to make their writing assistance and speech recognition software, WordQ + SpeakQ , available to eligible nonprofits and libraries. These tools can help organizations that work with individuals who have general writing concerns, English language learners, people with learning disabilities or physical handicaps in typing, people with dyslexia or recovering from strokes, and even those learning literacy and spelling.

TechSoup Volunteers During Data Center Move

Tech Soup Blog

A call went out over a combination of listservs and social media channels asking local nonprofits and libraries to share their most pressing needs and dirtiest jobs with TechSoup via video or text. " While at SF Brightworks, TechSoup volunteers worked one-on-one with the young students, who were busy completing their annual portfolios. TechSoup recently completed a data center move of more than 100 servers and 25 networking devices.

3 Email Newsletters "Dos" and 1 Big "Don't"

Tech Soup Blog

TechSoup sends out a few newsletters, including two written by me ( By the Cup and TechSoup for Libraries ). Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit cultural exchange organization that gives young professionals and students the opportunity to work in another country and develop their skills. what kind of people intern (high school students), and gives appreciation for their work. Does your nonprofit have a newsletter? Or are you thinking about starting one for the New Year?

Why I’m Scared of the SOPA Bill by Jim Fruchterman

Beth Kanter

Stopping fund raising and subscription revenue for Bookshare, the largest online library for people who have print disabilities. Bookshare is an online library for people who can’t read standard print books. We serve over 150,000 students with disabilities alone with free online services funded by the Department of Education (however, nothing contained in this post has anything to do with our funders). Flickr Photo by DonkeyHotey.

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Back to School at TechSoup

Tech Soup Blog

For nonprofits, libraries, and their constituents, education is essential to keep knowledge and skills up to date. The National Commission on writing stated that 80 percent of grade school students are not proficient at writing. Hear what other nonprofits and libraries are saying in our Community Forums. This motivational program lets you, your students, staff, or volunteers learn typing from a range of tutorials using voice response, 3D animation, video, and virtual reality.

Symantec Gives Back

Tech Soup Blog

Symantec gives a lot back to the nonprofit and library community through their donation program here at TechSoup — See what organizations like yours are saying about their donated Symantec products. Last year, Symantec employees donated $650,000 to nonprofits and libraries in their local communities, as well as 19,000 hours of volunteering.

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Writing to Change the World

Have Fun - Do Good

For the past five years, the Mercantile Library in Cincinnati has honored Harriet Beecher Stowe's birthday by asking a writer to give the annual Harriet Beecher Stowe Lecture about, "Writing to Change the World." The idea is that students get to put social justice-ee ideas into practice. Finally, if you want to encourage young writers to write for change, the National Writing Project has published Writing for Change: Boosting Literacy and Learning Through Social Action in 2006.

Games for Change 2007: Funders Perspective Panel

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

What do libraries look like in the future? Solicitation on the streets for programs at the k-12 level to train students to use cyber tools for science. Emphasis is on digital literacy. Funded a project to work with state of Michigan - requirement for high school graduation is that all students have an online learning experience. Photo by Rikomatic. The key takeaway for me is the whole point about the need for new metrics to measure learning from games.

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