The website Mac OS X Automation has a great tutorial on how to use some of the new text to ePub automator actions that are available in Mac OS X Lion, and they have even put together a few automator workflows to make the process easier. I was inspired by the information they had on their website to see if I could create my own ePub document using the information they provided, but I added a twist: I added a recording of the text at the beginning of each chapter and this recording was created using the excellent Alex voice available with the Text to Speech feature in Mac OS X. The tutorial is now available on YouTube (and it is closed captioned). I think having an audio version could be beneficial for students with learning disabilities by providing the content in another modality. While the iPad and other IOS devices already include a great screen reader in VoiceOver, the voice available on those devices is not as good as Alex is, so this is why I decided it might be a good idea to provide the text to speech recording created on the Mac. Along the way to making this tutorial, I also learned about new automator actions for converting video and audio files into the correct formats for ePub (and iTunes U). To use these actions, select your file(s), right-click on them and choose Services, Encode Selected Video (or Audio) Files. For audio this will result in an .m4a file saved to the same location as the original, and for video the format of the converted file will be .m4v.
Published by Luis Pérez, Ph. D.
Luis Pérez is a technical assistance specialist at CAST, but the views shared on this website are all his own. He holds a doctorate in special education and a master’s degree in instructional technology from the University of South Florida. Luis was recognized with an International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Making It Happen! Award in 2020. Other recognitions include Apple Distinguished Educator (2009) and Google Certified Innovator (2014). Luis has published three books on accessibility, mobile learning and UDL: Mobile Learning for All (Corwin Press), Dive into UDL (ISTE) and Learning on the Go (CAST Publishing). He currently serves as an Education and Learning strand advisor for the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA). View all posts by Luis Pérez, Ph. D.