Understanding the Overlap Between UDL and Digital Accessibility — from boia.org

Excerpt:

Implementing UDL with a Focus on Accessibility
UDL is a proven methodology that benefits all students, but when instructors embrace universal design, they need to consider how their decisions will affect students with disabilities.

Some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Instructional materials should not require a certain type of sensory perception.
  • A presentation that includes images should have accurate alternative text (also called alt text) for those images.
  • Transcripts and captions should be provided for all audio content.
  • Color alone should not be used to convey information, since some students may not perceive color (or have different cultural understandings of colors).
  • Student presentations should also follow accessibility guidelines. This increases the student’s workload, but it’s an excellent opportunity to teach the importance of accessibility.
 

10 Must Read Books for Learning Designers — from linkedin.com by Amit Garg

Excerpt:

From the 45+ #books that I’ve read in last 2 years here are my top 10 recommendations for #learningdesigners or anyone in #learninganddevelopment

Speaking of recommended books (but from a more technical perspective this time), also see:

10 must-read tech books for 2023 — from enterprisersproject.com by Katie Sanders (Editorial Team)
Get new thinking on the technologies of tomorrow – from AI to cloud and edge – and the related challenges for leaders

10 must-read tech books for 2023 -- from enterprisersproject.com by Katie Sanders

 
 

Your iPhone Has 26 New Accessibility Tools You Shouldn’t Ignore — from ios.gadgethacks.com by Jovana Naumovski

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Magnifier has a new Door Detection option on iOS 16, which helps blind and low-vision users locate entryways when they arrive at their destination. The tool can tell you how far away the door is, if the door is open or closed, how to open it (push it, turn the knob, pull the handle, etc.), what any signs say (like room numbers), what any symbols mean (like people icons for restrooms), and more.

From DSC:
By the way, this kind of feature would be great to work in tandem with devices such as the Double Robotics Telepresence Robot — i.e., using Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications to let the robot and automatic doors communicate with each other so that remote students can “get around on campus.”

 

It would be great to have M2M communications with mobile robots to get through doors and to open elevator doors as well

 


Along the lines of accessibility-related items, also relevant/see:

Microsoft introduces sign language for Teams — from inavateonthenet.net

Excerpt:

Microsoft has announced a sign language view for Teams to help signers and others who use sign language. The information on screen will be prioritised on centre stage, in a consistent location, throughout every meeting.

When sign language view is enabled, the prioritised video streams automatically appear at the right aspect ratio and at the highest available quality. Like pinning and captioning, sign language view is personal to each user and will not impact what others see in the meeting.


 

 

Our mission is to empower people with disabilities to live their best life! We do this by showcasing adaptive products.

The product categories out at allaccesslife.org

 


Addendum on 11/14/22:

clusiv.io — as mentioned at The Accelerator at WGU Labs Invests in Platform for the Blind or Visually Impaired

Clusiv is an online learning platform for the blind and visually impaired that teaches occupational training, technology skills, and educational courses to empower employment. We help remove barriers to successful employment by teaching the skills you need to be equipped for the modern workforce.


 

2023 Higher Education Trend Watch — from educause.edu

Excerpt:

This report focuses on the workforce, cultural, and technological shifts for ten macro trends emerging in higher education in 2023. Across these three areas of shift, we report the major impacts and steps that institutions are taking in response to each trend. Some trends overlap with the 2022 Higher Education Trend Watch report. However, while some topics and issues remain consistent, significant shifts have occurred across many of the trends for 2023.

 

How can colleges better serve students with autism? — from by Laura Spitalniak
Professor Sarah Howorth says her program at the University of Maine helps bridge the gap between high school and college for students with autism.

Excerpts:

In 2019, Howorth led the pilot for the University of Maine’s Step Up to College, a program meant to model how colleges can effectively support students with autism spectrum disorder.

There are so many myths and misunderstandings out there about what a person with autism is like. Autism is not necessarily associated with cognitive impairment. I have a 16-year-old son who is on the autism spectrum. He is also very intelligent, and he’s definitely college bound. There’s a lot of kids out there like him on the autism spectrum.

Individuals on the spectrum bring a lot to communities, whether that be university campuses, or high schools or businesses. Oftentimes, we focus on the challenges they face, but I think they have many, many more strengths than challenges.

Look at things from a Universal Design for Learning perspective. The things that you offer for students with autism on college campuses, like peer mentors, will help all students.


Also relevant/see:

So what can we do to decrease the exclusion and bullying that leads to trauma? We need to create activities and spaces where autistic people can be their authentic selves and be accepted without having to mask to fit in. We need to eradicate the isolation that is so commonplace by creating supportive communities that are truly safe and inclusive.


 

From DSC:
I virtually attended the Law 2030 Conference (Nov 3-4, 2022). Jennifer Leonard and staff from the University of Pennsylvania’s Carey Law School put together a super conference! It highlighted the need for change within the legal industry. A major shout out to Jennifer Leonard, Theodore Ruger (Law School Dean), and others!

I really appreciate Jen’s vision here, because she recognizes that the legal industry needs to involve more disciplines, more specialists, and others who don’t have a JD Degree and/or who haven’t passed the Bar. On Day 1 of the conference (in the afternoon), Jen enlisted the help of several others to use Design Thinking to start to get at possible solutions to our entrenched issues.

America, our legal system is being tightly controlled and protected — by lawyers. They are out to protect their turf — no matter the ramifications/consequences of doing so. This is a bad move on many lawyers part. It’s a bad move on many Bar Associations part. Lawyers already have some major PR work to do — but when America finds out what they’ve been doing, their PR problems are going to be that much larger. I’d recommend that they change their ways and really start innovating to address the major access to justice issues that we have in the United States.

One of the highlights for me was listening to the powerful, well-thought-out presentation from Michigan’s Chief Justice Bridget McCormack — it was one of the best I’ve ever heard at a conference! She mentioned the various stakeholders that need to come to the table — which includes law schools/legal education. I also appreciated Jordan Furlong’s efforts to deliver a 15-minute presentation (virtual), which it sounded like he worked on most of the night when he found out he couldn’t be there in person! He nicely outlined the experimentation that’s going on in Canada.

Here’s the recording from Day 1:

 


Jeff Selingo’s comments this week reminded me that those of us who have worked in higher education for much of our careers also have a lot of work to do as well.


 

Addendum on 11/8/22:

 


 

2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Action Plan: Hybrid Learning — from library.educause.edu

Excerpts:

Building on the trends, technologies, and practices described in the 2022 Horizon Report: Teaching and Learning Edition, the panel crafted its vision of the future along with practical action items the teaching and learning community can employ to make this future a reality. Any stakeholder in higher education who teaches in or supports hybrid learning modalities will find this report helpful in preparing for the future of hybrid learning. The future we want is within reach, but only if we work together.

Asked to describe the goals and elements of hybrid learning that they would like to see 10 years from now, panelists collaboratively constructed their preferred future for institutions, students, instructors, and staff.

Institutions

  • Higher education is available on demand.
  • Learning is not measured by seat time.
  • Collaboration across institutions facilitates advancement.
  • College and university campuses are not the sole locations for learning spaces.

Students, Instructors, and Staff

  • Everything is hybrid.
  • Student equity is centered in all modalities.
  • Professional development is ongoing, integrated, and valued.
 

4 Tips for Choosing Accessible WordPress Plugins — from boia.org

Excerpt:

WordPress plugins can change how your website operates — typically, that’s why you want to install them in the first place. If you need to add a form or a video player on your WordPress site, you’ll probably look for a plugin before attempting to code your own solution.

But unfortunately, some plugins can alter your content in unpredictable ways and create accessibility barriers. Needless to say, you’ll want to avoid those issues if possible. Fortunately, WordPress is a fairly accessibility-friendly platform — and by following a few simple tips, you can reach a wider audience.

Are Hamburger Menus Bad for Accessibility? — from boia.org

Excerpt:

In web design, a hamburger menu is a button — usually with three horizontal lines — that typically opens a navigation menu.  The icon vaguely resembles a hamburger (or any other sandwich), hence the name.

Like many trends in web design, hamburger menus are controversial: They can cause accessibility issues, depending on their implementation, and they might obscure important navigational information. However, they’re extremely common — and while they pose a few potential issues for users with disabilities, sidebars can be accessible with appropriate markup.


Addendum on 10/18/22:


 

 

Assistive Technology for Kids with Multiple Disabilities — from equalentry.com

Help Kids Learn dot com -- online learning for special education -- uses assistive technologies

 

Lego Owner to Acquire Education-Technology Firm Brainpop — from nytimes.com by Trefor Moss
Kirkbi, the family-run company behind the world’s largest toy maker, plans to establish an education business

Excerpt:

Lego owner Kirkbi A/S is buying U.S. video-learning firm Brainpop for $875 million, according to the companies, as the family behind the world’s largest toy maker expands into the education business.

The Danish company said the purchase of Brainpop, which produces short animations used in schools to help children learn everything from math to music, was part of a plan to build a new business pillar. The deal—through which Kirkbi is acquiring Brainpop’s owner FWD Media Inc.—is expected to close Tuesday, the companies said.

“We are definitely on the path to establishing the Lego idea of learning through play in the formal education space,” said Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, executive chairman of the Lego Brand Group, the Kirkbi entity that oversees the toy brand.

 

What might the ramifications be for text-to-everything? [Christian]

From DSC:

  • We can now type in text to get graphics and artwork.
  • We can now type in text to get videos.
  • There are several tools to give us transcripts of what was said during a presentation.
  • We can search videos for spoken words and/or for words listed within slides within a presentation.

Allie Miller’s posting on LinkedIn (see below) pointed these things out as well — along with several other things.



This raises some ideas/questions for me:

  • What might the ramifications be in our learning ecosystems for these types of functionalities? What affordances are forthcoming? For example, a teacher, professor, or trainer could quickly produce several types of media from the same presentation.
  • What’s said in a videoconference or a webinar can already be captured, translated, and transcribed.
  • Or what’s said in a virtual courtroom, or in a telehealth-based appointment. Or perhaps, what we currently think of as a smart/connected TV will give us these functionalities as well.
  • How might this type of thing impact storytelling?
  • Will this help someone who prefers to soak in information via the spoken word, or via a podcast, or via a video?
  • What does this mean for Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), and/or Virtual Reality (VR) types of devices?
  • Will this kind of thing be standard in the next version of the Internet (Web3)?
  • Will this help people with special needs — and way beyond accessibility-related needs?
  • Will data be next (instead of typing in text)?

Hmmm….interesting times ahead.

 

2022 Students and Technology Report: Rebalancing the Student Experience — from library.educause.edu by Jenay Robert

2022 Students and Technology Report: Rebalancing the Student Experience

Excerpt:

In this report, we describe the findings of the survey in four key areas:

Key Findings

  • Educational technology impacts student wellness.
  • Physical campus spaces continue to play an important role in students’ access to education.
  • The online versus face-to-face dichotomy is being disrupted.
  • Device access is not a simple issue when examined through an equity lens.
  • Assistive technology can help all students.
  • Students are whole people with complex learning needs and goals.
 

Learning from Our Students: Student Perspectives on Good Teaching — from everylearnereverywhere.org; with thanks to Beth McMurtrie for this resource

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Twenty-two students trusted us with their stories and their reflections on good teaching. We honor that trust and hope that instructors who read this document gain as much insight about teaching from the students as we did. While we often write of students in the plural, each one of these students had an individual experience with learning and therefore a unique story to tell about good teaching. The key takeaways from their stories are:

  1. Students want to be recognized as individuals and appreciated in the classroom.
  2. Students want real life in the classroom.
  3. Students want to be treated with respect and trust.

We hope readers will likewise ask their own students, “What do your best instructors do?” and use that feedback to continuously improve their craft as teachers.

Out of 22 students:

active learning and a sense of belonging were the most frequently mentioned items from these 22 students

 

Disabled Americans Reap Remote-Work Reward in Record Employment — from bloomberg.com by Molly Smith
Adults with disabilities have rarely been employed in such high numbers

Excerpt:

Anardi is part of the second-largest minority group in the US — adults with disabilities. The 42.5 million disabled Americans make up 13% of the civilian population, compared with the nearly 19% that is Hispanic and the almost 12% that’s African American, according to 2021 Census data released on Sept. 15. After suffering some of the worst job losses during the initial phase of the pandemic, people with disabilities are now benefiting from the remote-work trend it triggered. Advocates hope they will continue to reap such rewards, even as companies demand that employees return to the office.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian