Part I: How do I measure accessibility maturity and compliance? — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

When you ask adults to recall their most memorable and enjoyable learning experiences it nearly always comes back to relationships – a fun teacher, an inspiring lecturer, a lively community. Such human interactions neatly illustrate the difference between maturity and compliance.

A “mature relationship” sounds a lot more attractive than a “compliant” one. Yet many institutions are offering compliance to disabled learners rather than mature relationships.

The lenses we use are:

  1. Main driver – Where is energy being expended and what is measured as success?
  2. Responsibility – Who are the actors. Do they have sufficient authority?
  3. Model of disability – Is the perception “users with issues” or “systems and content with barriers”?
  4. Focus of effort – Is accessibility a “task and finish” project or a long-term quality improvement?
  5. Skills and expertise – What is the focus of training? Who gets it? Is it considered important?
  6. Digital accessibility in policies – Digital accessibility is a vital equality issue. Is it visible in policies?
  7. Culture – Is the focus on minimising risk? Or maximising user experience? Does accessibility straitjacket online learning? Or encourage innovation and experimentation?
  8. User’s digital experience – How consistent is the user experience? How well designed?

Part II: Accessibility maturity in education — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

Excerpt:

In this article we explore the “Drivers” lens. What is driving your change? The need to be compliant and tick off the boxes? Or a desire to be digitally inclusive, ensuring every student can be as confident, independent and productive as possible?

Part III: Broaden accessibility responsibility beyond learning teams — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

Excerpt:

At the upper levels of maturity, the confidence and competence of a wide body of staff will mean the organisation moves beyond micromanagement of accessibility. Accessibility may be mandatory but a wide range of templates will be available. Even better, many staff will have enough understanding to create their own accessible content and courses without needing a template. At this level, the following lines of evidence will be available:

  • A senior sponsor will be responsible for digital accessibility across the organisation.
  • Any cross-organisation steering group will be hosted by senior staff, meeting regularly and evidencing positive outcomes.
  • Digital accessibility will be a standing item in self-assessment reviews or quality assurance processes, and appropriate training will be in place to make this meaningful (see the later lens in the final blog coming soon in the series, on skills and expertise!).
  • Students will be actively involved in accessibility developments.

Part IV: Coming soon.


Learn about the Accessibility Maturity Model for Higher and Further Education that AbilityNet and McNaught Consultancy have developed based on Alistair McNaught’s existing model. See here and here.

Some example snapshots:

A virtuous circle of digital accessibility -- positively impacts teaching and learningLenses for self-reflection -- 1 Lenses for self-reflection - 2 Lenses for self reflection - 3

 

Elevating Your Streaming Production Quality — from avnetwork.com by Cindy Davis

Excerpt:

The instructional studios started with a mobile standing desk, which serves as the command center for instruction. The desk has a room controller, document camera, and an interactive display with an adapter for laptop content sharing. Behind the desk is a whiteboard with a whiteboard camera. In front of the desk, we designed an AV cart that includes a shotgun mic pair, LED light panels, two large displays, one off-lens teleprompter, and PTZ camera.

The studios put the instructor in control of the meeting using a Zoom Rooms controller— allowing them to easily switch between and share multiple types of content simultaneously: main camera, document camera, laptop content, digital annotations, and whiteboard writing.

Picture of a mobile streaming studio's setup

 

A professor teaching about equations in front of a smartphone -- in order to reach remote learners

Will a Rise in Online Learning Open Remote Teaching Opportunities for Faculty? — from edsurge.com by Robert Ubell (Columnist)

Excerpts:

Liberating campus-bound faculty.
Of the many remarkable things about online learning—its principal benefit—is to give students the freedom to learn almost anywhere. And that goes for faculty members, too, who might now have access to new opportunities to teach remotely for institutions around the globe—and let colleges hire online faculty with attractive strengths who happen to live far away.

That has already started to happen during the pandemic, with so many faculty and staff working and teaching from home. Since it has made no difference to their students where they were living, some, quite privileged, took off for country homes or slipped away to vacation spots, continuing to teach online as if they were at a nearby campus.

 
 

Learn How To Study Using… Dual Coding — from learningscientists.org by Megan Smith & Yana Weinstein

Excerpt:

This is the final post in a series of six posts designed to help students learn how to study effectively. You can find the other five here:

What is dual coding?

Dual coding is the process of combining verbal materials with visual materials. There are many ways to visually represent material, such as with infographics, timelines, cartoon strips, diagrams, and graphic organizers.

When you have the same information in two formats – words and visuals – it gives you two ways of remembering the information later on. Combining these visuals with words is an effective way to study.

Now, look at only the visuals and explain what they mean in your own words. Then, take the words from your class materials and draw your own visuals to go along with them! 

Now, look at only the visuals and explain what they mean in your own words. Then, take the words from your class materials and draw your own visuals to go along with them!

From DSC:
As the authors comment, this is NOT about learning styles (as research doesn’t back up the hypothesis of learning styles): 

When we discuss verbal and visual materials, it does sound like we could be referring to learning styles. However, it is important to remember that a great deal of research has shown that assessing your learning style and then matching your study to that “style” is not useful, and does not improve learning (2). (For more, read this piece.)

 

What if we could create these kinds of calendars and/or apps for faculty and staff as well as for students? — idea from Daniel Christian. The vehicles could be developed as analog/physical formats or in digital formats and apps. In the digital realm, one could receive a daily notification.

For faculty/staff:

  • Teaching and learning tips; pedagogies (flipped learning, active learning, etc.); ideas that have worked well for others
  • Creative experiments to try (such as digital storytelling or with an emerging technology such as AR, MR, or VR)
  • Tips & tricks re: tools within the learning ecosystem of one’s organization
  • How to make digital content that’s accessible
  • Items re: bias, diversity, equity & inclusion
  • Dates to be aware of (for processes on one’s LMS/CMS as an example)
  • Notes of encouragement and/or humor
  • Links to key resources
  • Other

[The Corporate Training / L&D world could do this as well.] 

An example of what a front cover of a physical flip calendar could look like

An example of what a page might contain within a physical flip calendar

A calendar page that says Memory if the residue of thought.

Example calendar page that states when courses will be published on an LMS

For students

  • Studying tips
  • How to take courses online
  • How people learn
  • Resources, books, people to follow on Twitter, blogs and RSS feeds, etc.
  • Pictures of judges, legislative bodies, law offices, corporate HQs, other
  • Notes of encouragement
  • Ethics
  • Professionalism
  • Other
 

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month, May 15 – June 15

Excerpt:

Challenges faced as a result of the condition can be physically and psychologically crippling. Let’s make a difference together this Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month, May 15 – June 15, as we create a more universal understanding of the condition, as well as to share successes to inspire our community and beyond. There are various ways you can get involved and make a lasting difference on a global scale.

But do you want to know a secret of what it really is?

  • It’s the determination from the 7-year-old to focus on an assignment at school even though his hand won’t stop ticcing.
  • It’s the bravery of the 16-year-old with a shoulder-shrugging tic who’s taking her driving test for the first time.
  • It’s the strength of a mother who is confused and scared as her child has just been diagnosed.
  • It’s the candor of a 45-year-old who has just been overlooked for his dream job, or worse – recently let go, because of TS.
  • But above all-it’s the perseverance of every child, teen, and adult who lives with TS on a daily basis.

So the next time Tourette Syndrome is used as a punchline, a quip, or a slur, please don’t laugh. Don’t share it. But instead, remember that there are real people behind the joke who may set them back. (source)

 

 

Enrich your history and social studies classes with these resources — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Below are three websites we are featuring in our blog for the first time. These are platforms where teachers (and students) can access resources and teaching materials to help them with their history teaching (learning).

Addendum on 5/4/21:

 

Doubling down on accessibility: Microsoft’s next steps to expand accessibility in technology, the workforce and workplace — from Brad Smith, President of Microsoft

Excerpt:

Accessibility by design
Today, we are announcing a variety of new “accessible by design” features and advances in Microsoft 365, enabling more than 200 million people to build, edit and share documents. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies, we aim to make more content accessible and as simple and automatic as spell check is today. For example:

  • A new background accessibility checker will provide a prompt to fix accessibility issues in content across the core Office apps and Outlook will nudge users to correct accessibility issues.
  • AI in Microsoft Word will detect and convert to heading styles crucial for blind and low-vision readers.
  • A new Excel navigation pane designed for screen readers will help people easily discover and navigate objects in a spreadsheet.
  • We’re expanding Immersive Reader, used by 35 million people every month, to help with the comprehension of PowerPoint slides and notes.
  • In Teams, high-contrast mode can be used to access shared content using PowerPoint Live  which will reduce eye strain and accommodate light sensitivity with Dark Mode in Word.
  • New LinkedIn features that include auto-captioning for LinkedIn Live broadcasts, captions for enterprise content and dark mode later this year.

More than 1 billion people around the world live with a disability, and at some point, most of us likely will face some type of temporary, situational or permanent disability. The practical impacts are huge. 

Addendum on 5/6/21:

 

A lack of devices but a heroic effort by teachers — from global-edtech.com by Dorothy Lepkowska
EDUCATE webinar hears how countries coped with the Covid school shutdown

Excerpts:

As in many countries, including the UK, schools and students in Portugal were hindered by a lack of devices, Huge Fonseca, an EdTech innovator, told the webinar.  He said teachers were “superheroes” and did what they could to connect with pupils, including distributing work on bicycles.

He said: “In Portugal there is a lack of devices and a lack of teacher training. The profession is among the oldest in Europe, and half of teachers are more than 50 years old. There is no government support to develop them, and if you leave teachers without learning new skills for 20 years or more then it is hard for them to adapt. We need more young people to go into teaching.”

In Uruguay, more coherence was needed between the distribution of technology and teacher training.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, there was a roll-out of technology but little training for teachers.

In Zambia, however, the pandemic offered an opportunity for project-based learning to address some of the problems faced by communities.

She said the pandemic had shone a light on the heroic work of teachers and there was a “shift in perceptions about teachers, and the importance of face-to-face teaching as a valued part of civil society”.

Also see:

 

3 Tech Trends Shaping the Future of Post-Pandemic Teaching and Learning — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
The landscape of higher education has been transformed by COVID-19, and that impact is a major factor in the 2021 Educause Horizon Report. Here are three key technology trends to watch as the lasting effects of the pandemic play out.

Excerpt:

What’s in store for higher education’s post-pandemic future? The latest Educause Horizon Report has identified the trends, technologies and practices shaping teaching and learning in the wake of COVID-19. The potential lasting effects of the pandemic “loomed large” in the trend selection this year, the report stated, emphasizing that although it remains to be seen whether the transformations of the past year will persist into the future, “it isn’t hard to imagine that higher education may never be the same in some important ways (good or bad).”

In the realm of technology in particular, it’s clear that the pandemic-induced shift to remote learning has dominated the trend landscape. The top three technological trends identified by the report are…

From 2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® | Teaching and Learning Edition

This image relays some of the key technologies and practices such as AI, blended learning, learning analystics, OER, and others

Also see:

Jessica Rowland Williams, director of Every Learner Everywhere, agreed. “The pandemic has given us the unique opportunity to pause and listen to each other, and we are beginning to discover all the ways our experiences overlap,” she said.

 

Udemy, an Online Course Platform Where Anyone Can Teach, Keeps Raising Money. What’s Next? — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpt:

Udemy has become one of the best-funded companies in edtech, having raised another $80 million at the end of 2020 bringing its total raised to nearly $300 million. So, what are its plans, and how does it see the market for online courses changing after the pandemic?

Those were some questions we brought to Udemy’s CEO, Gregg Coccari, in a recent interview.

“They become professional at this,” he says. “They have assistants that handle the questions. They work at this every day. They’re always looking for new publishing ideas, more courses, they’re upgrading the courses they have. And so these become very professional online teachers.”

But those millionaires are, by and large, the exception.

 

Improving Digital Inclusion & Accessibility for Those With Learning Disabilities — from by Meredith Kreisa
Learning disabilities must be taken into account during the digital design process to ensure digital inclusion and accessibility for the community. This comprehensive guide outlines common learning disabilities, associated difficulties, accessibility barriers and best practices, and more.

“Learning shouldn’t be something only those without disabilities get to do,” explains Seren Davies, a full stack software engineer and accessibility advocate who is dyslexic. “It should be for everyone. By thinking about digital accessibility, we are making sure that everyone who wants to learn can.”

“Learning disability” is a broad term used to describe several specific diagnoses. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, nonverbal learning disorder, and oral/written language disorder and specific reading comprehension deficit are among the most prevalent.

 
An image of a barrier being torn down -- revealing a human mind behind it. This signifies the need to tear down any existing barriers that might hinder someone's learning experience.

 

Flipped Learning Can Be a Key to Transforming Teaching and Learning Post-Pandemic — from edsurge.com by Robert Talbert

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

What is flipped learning? A common and oversimplified answer is that it is an approach that asks students to watch lecture videos at home before class so that class time can be used for more interactive activities.

But the best way to describe it is to contrast it with traditional teaching frameworks. In the traditional framework, students get first contact with new concepts in class (the “group space” as I call it in my book on flipped learning) and then higher-level interactions are all on the student side through homework and so on (in the “individual space”). Flipped learning puts first contact with new ideas before group space activities, then uses the group space for active learning on mid- and upper-level tasks.

It’s worthwhile to compare flipped and traditional frameworks by contrasting the assumptions that each framework makes…

We can no longer assume that a pure lecture pedagogy is an acceptable teaching model or that banning technology is an acceptable practice.

 

DC: Yet another reason for Universal Design for Learning’s multiple means of presentation/media:

Encourage faculty to presume students are under-connected. Asynchronous, low-bandwidth approaches help give students more flexibility in accessing course content in the face of connectivity challenges.

— as excerpted from campustechnology.com’s article entitled, “4 Ways Institutions Can Meet Students’ Connectivity and Technology Needs

 

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian