6 Free Tools for Evaluating Web Accessibility — from boia.org

Excerpt:

Can you evaluate your website’s accessibility on your own?

Not necessarily. To ensure conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), you’ll need to test your content regularly by using both manual and automated tools. Ideally, manual tests should be performed by human testers who have disabilities.

However, as you learn about the concepts of WCAG, you can use free tools to test your website for common barriers. If you’re a web designer or developer, online tools can be a vital resource as you incorporate the best practices of inclusive design.

Below, we’ll discuss six free tools that can help you make better design decisions.

 

College Guide for Students with Disabilities and Their Parents — from ivypanda.com; with thanks to Yvonne McQuarrie for this resource

Excerpt:

According to recent statistics, 18% of undergraduate and 12% of graduate students have temporary, relapsing, or long-term disabilities. Students might have noticeable disabilities, but many disorders are “hidden.” Luckily, modern colleges have many resources that allow people with disabilities to attend classes and thrive in their academic life. This guide will focus on the advice that can help students with disabilities successfully navigate their higher education.

 

Education is about to radically change: AI for the masses — from gettingsmart.com by Nate McClennen and Rachelle Dené Poth

Key Points:

  • AI already does and will continue to impact education – along with every other sector.
  • Innovative education leaders have an opportunity to build the foundation for the most personalized learning system we have ever seen.

Action

Education leaders need to consider these possible futures now. There is no doubt that K-12 and higher ed learners will be using these tools immediately. It is not a question of preventing “AI plagiarism” (if such a thing could exist), but a question of how to modify teaching to take advantage of these new tools.

From DSC:
They go on to list some solid ideas and experiments to try out — both for students and for teachers. Thanks Nate and Rachelle!


Also from Rachelle, see:


 

37 predictions about edtech’s impact in 2023 — from eschoolnews.com by Laura Ascione
What edtech trends will take top billing in schools and districts in the new year?

Excerpts:

School districts will begin to offer microschool options. With 65% of K-12 parents backing school choice, school districts will realize that in order to stay competitive and meet the needs of students and parents, adopting and offering innovative learning models is key. One of the shifts the industry can expect to see in the coming years is school districts offering mircoschool options within the district itself. While historically independent learning institutions, microschools will be adopted within school districts that are responsive to this need for choice and evolving learning needs of students.
—Carlos Bortoni, Principal, Industry Advisor, K-12 Education, Qualtrics

In 2023, educators nationwide will benefit from the most recent wave of edtech consolidation. The various services and products acquired by consolidators over the last year or two will be integrated into increasingly comprehensive platforms offering instructional content, assessments, and classroom tools all in one place.  As this occurs, the power and effectiveness of those edtech resources will grow as they begin to work in concert with each other seamlessly. The combination of these resources will empower administrators, teachers, families, and students to better leverage edtech’s ability to improve learning.
–Kelli Campbell, President, Discovery Education

From DSC:
Vision is key here…not just data. If data provided all of the answers, being an effective, impactful leader/administrator would be far easier.


Also from Laura Ascione, see:


 

From DSC:
Below is another example of the need for Design Thinking as we rethink a cradle-to-grave learning ecosystem.


The United States Needs a Comprehensive Approach to Youth Policy — from cew.georgetown.edu

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

On the education front, federal legislation serves as an umbrella for many state and local policies and programs. Education policy is further fragmented into K–12 and postsecondary silos.

An all-one-system approach to youth policy would support young people along the entire continuum of their journey from school to work. It would help them attain both postsecondary education and quality work experience to support their transitions from education to good jobs. In this modernized approach, preschools, elementary and secondary schools, community colleges, four-year universities, employers, and governments would all follow an integrated playbook, helping to smooth out young people’s path from pre-K–12 to college and work. To transform youth policy, systemic reforms should incorporate the following:

 

Female scientists challenge stereotypes | Not the Science Type — from 3M.com
Female scientists challenge stereotypes and blaze paths for future generations in this 3M-produced docuseries

Excerpt:

STEM education has an access issue: let’s change that.

Around the world, people believe the we need more people in STEM careers. Eighty-seven percent of people believe we need to do more to encourage and retain girls in STEM education. At the same time, barriers remain – 73% of people believe underrepresented minorities often lack equal access STEM education.

Not The Science Type gets to the heart of access and gender inequity in STEM education and STEM fields. This four-part docuseries features four female scientists who are challenging stereotypes and confronting gender, racial and age discrimination as they rise to prominence.

Not The Science Type highlights four brilliant minds, showcasing women who break down boundaries within their fields – biology, engineering and science and technology-based applications.
.

Female scientists challenge stereotypes and blaze paths for future generations in this 3M-produced docuseries.

While each woman has taken a different path to pursue scientific excellence, they are bound by the common experience of feeling excluded, or “not the type” in traditionally homogenous fields.

 

2023 Higher Education Trend Watch — from educause.edu

2023 Higher Education Trend Watch

Also see:

2023 Strategic Trends Glossary — from educause.edu

Excerpts:

  • Closer alignment of higher education with workforce needs and skills-based learning
  • Continuation and normalization of hybrid and online learning
  • Continued adoption and normalization of hybrid and remote work arrangements
  • Continued resignation and migration of leaders and staff from higher education institutions
  • Declining public funding for higher education
  • …and more
 

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 | Daniel Christian