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AEM Explorer

AIM Explorer screenshot

The AEM Explorer is a free simulation that combines grade-leveled digital text with access features common to most text readers and other supported reading software. Magnification, custom text and background colors, text-to-speech (synthetic and human), text highlighting, and layout options are presented in a logical sequence to help struggling readers decide which of these supports might help them to access and understand text.

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

Print- and technology-based educational materials designed to be usable across the widest range of individual variability.

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Digital Text

Published material retrieved and read via a computer.

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Text-to-Speech (TTS)

Artificial production of human speech, using special software and/or hardware.

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Who is it For?

The AEM Explorer is designed to be used by a reader working collaboratively with an educator, tutor, parent, or assistive technology specialist as a guide. The guide may create a student account in order to re-assess reader preferences at a later time, or lead the reader on an exploration without creating an account. In both cases a reader summary profile will be created at the end of the exploration, but student preferences will only be saved if an account is created. Alternatively, a reader could initiate an exploration independently.


Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.

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How Does it Work?

The AEM Explorer combines server-side account creation and maintenance with a downloadable application that can be used with or without an Internet connection. It takes approximately 20–30 minutes to complete an exploration. The application download is large—approximately 50 MB.

IMPORTANT: Student record-keeping is only available with both an account and an active Internet connection. The AEM Explorer may be used offline but user account and student records will not be available.

AEM Explorer Accessibility

The AEM Explorer is designed for readers with low vision, physical challenges, and learning and attentional difficulties who may benefit from enlarged, spoken, highlighted, or re-formatted text. It does not address Braille use, and the Explorer assumes that the guide using the application has vision. Navigation elements on each of the AEM Explorer pages support keyboard navigation, but grade level text presented for reader use is not selectable; therefore, a guide using a screenreader must use the application controls to have sample text read aloud.

A note about screenreader access: the AEM Explorer is built using Adobe AIR and includes support for screenreader software (JAWS, etc.).

AEM Explorer Installation

The AEM Explorer has a two-part installation for both PC and Macintosh. To run AEM Explorer, download and install the Adobe AIR 2 Runtime first and then download and install AEM Explorer. If the software is not installed in this exact order, then AEM Explorer will not run properly.

System Requirements

The AEM Explorer is designed to be used on screens no smaller than 15" diagonal (4:3 aspect ratio) set at 1024 x 768. On a smaller screen, the AEM Explorer display will appear clipped. Press the ESC key while Explorer is open and running to enable scroll bars to navigate the display on smaller screens.


  • 2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor, or Intel Atom TM 1.6GHz or faster processor for netbook class devices
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise (including 64 bit editions) with Service Pack 2, Windows 7, or Windows 8 Classic
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)


  • Intel® Core TM Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
  • Mac OS X v10.6, and above
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)

Steps for downloading and installing Adobe AIR 2 Runtime
(11–17 MB)

  1. Download AIR 2 Runtime from the Adobe website.
  2. Follow the instruction prompts to install Adobe AIR 2 Runtime on your machine.
  3. When installation is complete, click Finish.

Steps for downloading and installing AEM Explorer (31 MB)

  1. Download the AEM Explorer Adobe AIR application. NOTE: If you have trouble downloading the AEM Explorer by clicking the link provided, try right-clicking the link and choosing "Save link as..." or "Save target as" to download the application to your hard drive.
  2. Double-click the compressed file named aimexplorer.air and follow the on-screen directions. Adobe AIR will automatically generate the installation of the AEM Explorer.
  3. Once AEM Explorer has finished installing, it will open and display the home page of AEM Explorer.
  4. To manually open AEM Explorer, find the Application folder on your hard drive and click the AEM Explorer shortcut.