Although, web-based distance education programs address geographical and cost barriers, they usually ignore access barriers to students with special needs (i.e. those with sensory, motor or cognitive disabilities). Distance education programs should ensure that conduits, and not barriers, to information are created. When planning a web-based special education program the following concerns should be considered: how to increase Web access to persons with disabilities by addressing access issues on both the client and the service side; how to optimize the use of innovative web technologies to transmit interesting yet accessible learning materials; how to increase community amongst special education students and teachers.
Accessibility is an issue that is bigger than just students. In order for there to be change for students with special needs there first needs to be a change about accessibility for the entire World Wide Web. While this will continue to be an issue, there is at least room for growth to make the internet more accessible for students with special needs.
Students with disabilities are in danger of being either excluded from the new media revolution or accommodated as after-thoughts of pedagogies that fail to anticipate their needs. Too often, our excitement about new media, even when that excitement is tempered by sober reflection, leaves intact a set of normative assumptions about students’ bodies, minds, and abilities. These assumptions operate behind the scenes. They are activated readily and unconsciously as beliefs about how well or poorly students move, see, hear, think, learn, know, act, and use specific technologies. Normative or so-called “ableist” assumptions about our students – e.g. that they hear, see, and move well enough or in certain anticipated ways to engage directly with course learning tools — threaten to undermine our commitments to accessibility and inclusivity.
Training sessions invariably have participants that come from a wide array of backgrounds and have various talents and levels of expertise. Some will be outspoken and others more withdrawn. Some will already have a background in accessible design, while others may have never heard of Web accessibility. Your participants will also have a wide range of technical expertise. You may have die-hard developers that program in text editors or an administrator who doesn't know what HTML stands for. It's important that you gain an understanding of what your training participants' talents and knowledge levels are, and then take advantage of their skills and abilities.
As a future teacher, I want to do my best to accommodate all students in the classroom. Children have the right to learn, no matter their disability or difficulties in learning. In addition, I feel that teaching children with disabilities in the same classroom as regular students provides life lessons that all students will take with them throughout their lives.
Because learners are trying to pay attention to the visuals, the need to move their eyes to focus on the accompanying caption is a distraction. Having a voiceover explain the visual enables the learner to absorb the audio and visual information at the same time. So my decision to turn off the audio was a mistake. I would have had a better learning experience if I had listened to the audio while focusing on the videos and ignoring the printed captions at the bottom of the screen. So does that mean eLearning should never include screen captions? Of course not. Sometimes screen captions are required simply because there is no voiceover or the learner may not have access to the voiceover.
While preparing these workshops, I knew that I would be addressing people from many backgrounds. My own background is in education. In pursuing my Master's program in Instructional Technology, I began working on a distance education project for special educators. It was my first introduction to Web accessibility. I eventually came to work at WebAIM where Web accessibility has become my primary interest. Currently, I am coordinating WebAIM's K-12 education initiative. My path to Web accessibility is very unique, as is yours. I would love to hear why you are here learning how to become a better accessibility trainer.
Most policies in education focus exclusively on the practices of in-house Web development professionals. Few institutions are looking at the Web content and Web-based applications that come to them from other sources (e.g., content management systems, finance systems, student information systems, healthcare or benefit systems, human resource systems). So, what is missing in current policy? A mechanism to procure accessible Web products and services is missing. Without procurement as part of the policy, true system-level accessibility can only be an illusion.
when first learning web accessibility and uncovering its secrets, like many things, it can seem daunting and difficult. I think a lot of developers are downright intimidated by web accessibility — maybe even scared to go that route. But why? I suspect the reason is web accessibility is a discipline that lacks accessibility.
While pursuing my undergraduate degree in business education, I took an entire semester-long course on writing good learner goals and objectives. Though I won't pass on everything I learned, I do want to stress the importance of establishing goals and objectives for your learners (as well as for yourself) and provide some tips for establishing effective, measurable goals and objectives.
Computer hardware, software and Internet connections - these are the new tools for education which are appearing in classrooms everywhere. At the same time, more and more students with special needs are taking part in the "regular" school activities as educators are asked to integrate these learners into their mainstream classrooms.
The author shares some stories from her own life that may be useful in helping Web page designers and product developers better understand issues surrounding low vision, hearing loss, and mobility restrictions using her 'art of accommodation.' In this article, she discusses this art as it applies to seven areas: (1) reading structural cues and wayfinding, (2) multimedia, (3) graphics, (4) text design and visual threshold, (5) contrast, (6) glare and size of electronic displays, and (7) mobility.
As the new disability legislation becomes law in the UK, Academic websites will be coming under close scrutiny from Disability Rights Organisations. Long established tools that have been used to test websites could, if used in the wrong way, be more of a liability than a benefit. The use of websites as medium for academia is now well established, with a plethora of materials being distributed over Intranets and Extranets. Furthermore, the pervasive Virtual Learning Environment is lending itself to opportunities for interactivity hitherto only possible in face-to-face teaching. But, as more and more material is distributed in this way there is a need for guidelines to ensure access for all.
This report is targeted towards students, teachers and educational technology specialists in order to help them understand the practical issues of Personal Digital Assistants, also known as Palmtops or Handheld PCs.
There are many reasons why people choose to design with accessibility in mind. These motivations can be roughly categorized into the following: ethical motivations; legal and standards-based motivations; business motivations.