They say an artist (or carpenter, or hockey player) is only as good as his or her tools, which is one reason why it’s an exciting time to be involved in education and literacy—the tools just keep getting better and better.
And although we admit we may be a little biased, there is no tool more exciting in this field than Bloom.
We’ve covered Bloom on this blog before, but in the following video, SIL LEAD Executive Director Dr. Paul Frank takes us through some of the expanded features available through our new subscription-based Bloom Enterprise, demonstrating how users can make a book more accessible by recording audio of both image descriptions and the actual text. It’s simple and easy to use—a wonderful tool and a great example of functional, clean design.
So what exactly is Bloom Enterprise, and how does it differ from the basic Bloom that we have offered (and continue to offer) completely free?
First, let’s take a look at what features are available for free with Bloom:
Ability to include or add any number of languages to a book and to print or electronically publish with 1, 2, or 3 languages (in the same book)
Access to the decodable and leveled reader tools and various templates
Ability to publish to PDF, ePUB, and Bloom Reader file formats
Also includes access to the Talking Book tool for making books where text can be recorded in any language; Motion tool, and Music tool
Bloom Enterprise expands on that, offering:
Image Description Tool -- add text descriptions to all images (these can then be recorded with the Talking Book tool) to improve accessibility for the visually impaired
Impairment Visualizer -- tool which allows you to see what images may look like to individuals who are color blind or who have cataracts
Sign Language Tool -- add video of Sign Language to your books (could be used for adding other sorts of video as well) to improve accessibility to the Deaf community
Custom branding for your books
A custom bookshelf on Bloomlibrary.org
A custom dashboard for books published for the Bloom Reader app (Bloom Reader books can have reading comprehension quizzes)
Access to training materials for Bloom Enterprise features
Why is Bloom Enterprise a paid service, when Bloom has been free?
These fees are designed to help Bloom become self-sustaining. This software is being used by real people all over the world and making a real impact on global literacy. To keep it working—and growing—we have to pay real costs. We are asking those who can afford to subscribe to do so, so that we can continue to provide this important tool to minority language communities free of charge. Everything that was free is still free. Only the new features and services come with an added price tag.
So who should consider purchasing a subscription to Bloom Enterprise?
Organizations and companies often want their books to have special branding or visibility on the Internet. They may need to produce books for the visually impaired or Deaf. These capabilities are included in a Bloom Enterprise subscription. In addition, when those who can afford the service subscribe to Bloom Enterprise, we can continue to provide these resources to minority language communities for free.
The price depends on an organization or company's location, status (for profit or non profit), and whether the organization or company is receiving official development assistance (for example, from USAID). Annual subscriptions range from $1000 to $7500.
Remember, minority language communities can access nearly all of the expanded software features for free because others subscribe, receiving valuable services in doing so.
Bloom is having an enormous impact on literacy development around the world. It’s a tool you can use for free today or—if your organizational needs are greater and you want to expand your possibilities—you can subscribe to Bloom Enterprise and gain access to the improvements we continue to develop.