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Be My Eyes is a FREE mobile app designed to bring sight to blind and low vision people. With the press of a button, the app establishes a live video connection between blind and low vision users and sighted volunteers. Every day, volunteers are lending their eyes to help with anything from simple tasks, like checking expiry dates, to more complicated situations, like navigation or finding a lost item. With more than a million users across 150 countries, Be My Eyes has grown to become the largest online community for the blind and low vision people, and it is now possible to request assistance in more than 180 languages. The app harnesses the power of generosity, technology and human connection to help blind and low vision individuals lead more independent lives.

 

What parents of special needs children should know about the school year — from mlive.com by Martin Slagter

Excerpts:

Embarking on a new school year can be daunting if you’re the parent of a child with special needs, even under normal circumstances.

But navigating a child’s Individualized Education Program or 504 Plan while he or she begins the year with remote learning, as many are doing this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, can add multiple layers of stress, education experts say.

This makes a parents’ understanding of their child’s learning experience more important now than ever, the experts say.

“Many students did not receive services and supports that were outlined in their IEPs (including) services related to specially designed instruction, speech and language, social work, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Now we enter the next school year with a high level of uncertainty.”

 
 

Reopening schools: A Getting Smart webinar recap — from gettingsmart.com by Getting Smart Staff

Reopening schools: A Getting Smart webinar recap -- from gettingsmart.com

“We must ensure that people who are furthest from educational justice have their learning needs met. You will then meet the needs of all learners.” – Kelly Niccolls

 

The 2020 Kessler Foundation National Employment & Disability Survey: Recent College Graduates — from kesslerfoundation.org; with thanks to Nicky Miller for this resource

Per Nicky:

In a nutshell, this first-of-its-kind survey revealed factors that help people with disabilities find employment, including the importance of higher education, advisory services and networking. Also discussed in detail, are myths and barriers that people with disabilities often face. Learn about our survey, visit: www.kesslerfoundation.org/kfsurvey2020

To highlight factors in our survey, we’ve interviewed three young adults with disabilities, who share their college to work experiences. They discuss in detail the ups and downs of their academic and employment careers. Watch here: Webinar Part 2 – The ADA Generation and the Workplace: Recent College Graduates with Disabilities Speak Out

In some cases throughout the years, people with disabilities were told they shouldn’t further their education, and in other instances, they are discouraged from working. This survey dispel these ideas. People with disabilities are conquering barriers and broadening their education.   

 

COVID-19 Intensifies Need to Tackle Digital Accessibility — from campustechnology.com by By Glenda Sims
More learning content than ever before has migrated online, bringing accessibility concerns to the forefront. Here’s how higher ed institutions are making progress toward equitable access.

Excerpt:

Accessibility lawsuits in education are not new. However, with colleges and universities undertaking their own digital transformations (moving more content and services online), lawsuits targeted at equitable access to physical facilities (like bathrooms) have logically expanded to digital offerings for students relying on assistive technologies to access them. The current COVID-19 crisis is likely to exacerbate this, as more learning content than ever before has migrated online in these unprecedented times. Persons with disabilities will demand nothing less than completely equitable access, particularly when it comes to their safety. While many higher ed institutions still have much to do for their accessibility initiatives, there have been many promising developments…

 

 

ECAR Study of the Technology Needs of Students with Disabilities, 2020 — from er.educause.edu by Dana Gierdowski and Joseph Galanek
Technology in higher education can be both an aid and a challenge for students with disabilities. Institutions and instructors can take steps to ensure that these students have equitable access, and those same measures can help all students, particularly during the era of emergency remote teaching.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

We asked students, “What is ONE thing you would like your instructors to do with technology to enhance your academic success?” In our analysis of their responses, we identified two overarching themes, as well as prominent patterns within those themes:

  • Online Access to Materials and Resources
    • Class notes and slides
    • Assignments, tests, and quizzes
    • Recorded lectures
    • The LMS and the user experience
  • Teaching with Technology
    • Mobile devices in the classroom
    • Training students and faculty in using technology
    • Multiple methods of presenting course materials
    • Engagement through the use of technology

Read full report: PDF | HTML

Access other materials: Executive Summary | Infographic

 


Also see:

ADA -- Disability and Covid-19

 

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in #RemoteLearning — from jakemiller.net by Jake Miller

Excerpt:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

While, certainly, some educators are doing great things to support these students, from my observations, this has taken a backseat to other elements of remote learning.  And these students NEED OUR HELP.

Unfortunately, I am not an expert in special education, accessibility features or assistive technology. I am, however, skilled at asking other people to share their expertise. ? So, in episode 40 of the Educational Duct Tape podcast and in the 4.8.20 #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat I asked educators one simple question:

How can we support learners with special needs in remote learning?

And they DELIVERED. I mean, the awesome suggestions and resources, all from a perspective of support rather than judgment, POURED in. And so, here they are.

10 Tips for Supporting Students with Special Needs in Remote Learning

 

 
 


Special education and accessibility resources for remote learning — from education.microsoft.com

Excerpt:

For special educators, diversity demands they provide inclusive, accessible learning environments that inspire confidence and encourage independence differently for each student. Learn about how to create a personalized and engaging remote learning experience for all of your students through the resources provided in these pages.

These resources are intended for all educators, but will be especially helpful for educators and support staff who work in the following areas: special education, assistive technology, blind and visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech language pathology, early childhood special education, behavior, counseling, school psychology, language interpretation, literacy, autism, and many other areas that assist students who need specially designed instruction.

 

How innovations in voice technology are reshaping education — from edsurge.com by Diana Lee
Voice is the most accessible form you can think of when you think about any interface. In education, it’s already started to take off.

It could be basic questions about, “Am I taking a class to become X?” or “How strong are my skills relative to other people?” An assistant can help with that. It could potentially be a coach, something that follows you the rest of your life for education. I’m excited about that. People that can’t normally get access to this kind of information will get access to it. That’s the future.

From DSC:
The use of voice will likely be a piece of a next-generation learning platform.

Voice will likely be a piece of the next generation learning platform

 

Healthy looks different on every body...and learning looks different with every mind.

From DSC:
What I mean by this is this:

While I certainly agree that research has produced excellent, proven, effective pedagogies that work with many students (the majority even), the fact is, learning is messy. When a child walks into a classroom, there isn’t even one other child with the exact same neural situation.

Nor is there even one other student with the exact same experiences, background, passions, motivations, interests, etc. I’ve experienced this with our daughter who isn’t a part of the 80% that the typical education train addresses. Look out if you are part of the 10% of either side of the bell curve! As your learning experiences are too costly to address and likely won’t be addressed in many cases.

All that said, I still agree that the teaching and learning strategies are still highly relevant across the masses. My point is that there is still a lot of diversity out there. They say that learning is messy for a reason. If you doubt that, go sit in on an IEP sometime.

 

Toward Inclusive Learning Spaces: Physiological, Cognitive, and Cultural Inclusion and the Learning Space Rating System — from er.educause.edu by Richard Holeton
Inclusive learning space design should be based on a tripartite framework addressing the diverse physiological, cognitive, and cultural needs of learners.

Excerpt:

Students with learning disabilities may have specific limitations in auditory perception and processing, visual perception and processing, information processing speed, abstract reasoning, long-term or short-term memory, spoken and written language ability, mathematical calculation, or executive functioning (e.g., planning and time management). Those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may suffer from impaired social interaction, diminished communication abilities, and sensory processing problems that may lead to agoraphobia or difficulty moving through spaces. Applying universal design and UDL principles, designers can and should go beyond the legal requirements to design truly inclusive spaces. Learning space design features that can help those with ASD include providing ordered and comprehensible spatial structures, a mix of large and small spaces, and some user control of environmental conditions, such as the amount of stimulation from light and bold colors.

The three main principles of UDL—to provide learners with multiple means of representation, multiple means of expression, and multiple means of engagement—address cognitive diversity primarily through pedagogical design. Instructors applying UDL may provide course materials in multiple media, offer students different options for demonstrating their understanding and mastery, and build various ways for students to engage with instructors and one another.

Size and Space for Approach and Use: Accommodate diverse physical attributes by providing furnishings and equipment that fit various body sizes and shapes and by allowing appropriate space to permit the use of assistive devices and to accommodate reach and manipulation regardless of body size, posture, mobility, or hand and grip size.

 

Virtual access to legal assistance becoming mainstream is hopefully not far off!

From DSC:
Along these lines, we’ll likely see more bots and virtual legal assistants that we will be able to ask questions of.

#A2J #AccessToJustice #legal #lawyers #society #legaltech #bots #videoconferencing #AI #bots #VirtualAssistants

Along these lines, also see:

Innovative and inspired: How this US law school is improving access to justice — from studyinternational.com

Excerpt:

Though court and other government websites in the US provide legal information, knowing what to search for and understanding legal jargon can be difficult for lay people.

Spot, software that is being developed at the LIT Lab, aims to fix this.

“You know you have a housing problem. But very few people think about their housing problems in terms of something like constructive eviction,” explains David Colarusso, who heads the LIT Lab. “The idea is to have the tool be able to spot those issues based upon people’s own language.”

Developed by Colarusso and students, Spot uses a machine-based algorithm to understand legal queries posed by lay persons. With Spot, entering a question in plain English like “My apartment is so moldy I can’t stay there anymore. Is there anything I can do?” brings up search results that would direct users to the right legal issue. In this case, the query is highly likely to be related to a housing issue or, more specifically, to the legal term “constructive eviction.”

 

Lastly, here’s an excerpt from INSIGHT: What’s ‘Innovative’ in BigLaw? It’s More Than the Latest Tech Tools — from news.bloomberglaw.com by Ryan Steadman and Mark Brennan

Top Innovation Factors for Success

  • The first step is always to observe and listen.
  • True innovation is about rigorously defining a client problem and then addressing it through a combination of workflow process, technology, and people.
  • Leave aside the goal of wholesale transformation and focus instead on specific client use cases.

Before revving the engines in the innovation process, the safety check comes first. Successful innovation requires a deliberate, holistic approach that takes into consideration people, process, and technology. Firms and vendors that listen and learn before implementing significant change will stand apart from competitors—and help ensure long-term success.

 

Accessibility at a Crossroads: Balancing Legal Requirements, Frivolous Lawsuits, and Legitimate Needs — from er.educause.edu by Martin LaGrow

Excerpt:

Changes in legal requirements for IT accessibility have prompted some to pursue self-serving legal actions. To increase access to users of all abilities, colleges and universities should articulate their commitment to accessibility and focus on changing institutional culture.

 

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