In 2007, the Human Computer Interaction Laboratory of FORTH-ICS developed a
novel software platform for developing and interacting with multimodal
interactive electronic textbooks that provide a Dual User Interface, i.e., an
interface concurrently accessible by visually impaired and sighted persons.
The platform, named Starlight, comprises two sub-systems:
(a) the 'Writer', facilitating the authoring of electronic textbooks,
encompassing various categories of interactive exercises (Q&A, multiple choice,
fill in the blanks, etc.); and
(b) the 'Reader', enabling multimodal interaction with the created electronic
textbooks, supporting various features like searching, book-marking, zooming,
replay of sentences / paragraphs, user annotations / comments, activity
recording, and context-sensitive help.
The Starlight platform has been used for the development of eight products for
the Greek Primary and Secondary Education, in cooperation with the Panhellenic
Association of the Blind and specialized educators.
The Starlight platform is currently available in Greek, while an English version
is under preparation. The platform has inherent support for multiple languages
and thus can be translated in any language easily and rapidly.
Some of the key features of the Starlight 'Reader' are:
- Dual User Interface
- Multi-user support
- Ability to use the software using just a single-key
- Dual voice for separating the content from the home User Interface
- Book-marking down to the sentence level
- Automatic section numbering
- Embedded on-demand notebook
- Support for interactive exercises and examinations
- Adaptable functionality level tuned by educators
- Logging and statistics per student
- Integrated authoring support
A related research paper has been published at the Ninth International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS): Grammenos, D., Savidis,
A., Georgalis, Y., Bourdenas, T., Stephanidis, C. (2007). Dual Educational Electronic Textbooks: The Starlight Platform..