All About Accessibility: Using Microsoft Solutions to Foster a More Inclusive Learning Environment
A Microsoft Solution Session Webinar
Thursday, January 13, 2022 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET
Accessibility isn’t nice to have; it’s necessary. With more than one billion people in the world living with a disability, accessibility is essential to the progress of all people. Simply putting more devices in students’ hands is not enough; they deserve access to an equitable education – including best-in-class learning solutions and technologies. These solutions must be inclusively designed, giving students multiple ways to create, engage, and participate in constructing knowledge regardless of ability, income, language, location, or identity.
In this CoSN Solution Spotlight Webinar, Technology Leaders will learn how Microsoft’s inclusively designed education solutions support school systems in providing accessibility options that are built-in, mainstream, non-stigmatizing, and free.
Date: November 23, 2021 Time: 2:00 – 3:30pm ET Cost: Free
The Great Lakes ADA Center in collaboration with the Great Plains and Southeast ADA Center invite you to join the upcoming Accessible Technology Webinar Series session titled “Creating Accessible Digital Documents” on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 from 2:00 – 3:30pm ET.
Digital documents can often create barriers for people with disabilities. Many of these barriers are easy to remove with training around how people with disabilities use technology. In this course, participants will learn how people with disabilities use technology to access documents, characteristics of accessible documents, and practical tips for ensuring accessibility.
The presenter for this program is Emily Shuman, Director, Rocky Mountain ADA Center.
Registration is required. The session will have human generated real-time captioning provided.
The online modules are an exciting opportunity to learn more about Deafblindness and engage with a consortium of service providers in CT, ME, MA, NH and VT. Upon completion of each group of modules, you will receive a certificate of completion and Professional Development Points (6 PDPs per module)
Description of the Modules
Each module is designed to increase knowledge related to intervention for students who have combined vision and hearing loss or at risk (ages 3 through 21). The module content was created by a diverse group of experts in the field of Deafblindness including state and national deafblind project staff, parents of children who are deaf-blind, higher education faculty, teachers, educational
interpreters, and interveners. Also each module takes about 6 hours to complete and includes accessible videos, photographs, slide presentations, and learning activities.
Paraprofessionals, Teachers, Related Service Providers, Parents, Agency Personnel
NEC will also host NCDB On-Line Modules to support continuing groups of service providers
working with child(ren) who have combined vision and hearing loss or who are at-risk.
NEC will host NCDB On-Line Modules to support a new group of service providers working
with child(ren) who have combined hearing loss or who are at-risk.
We encourage teams to participate (i.e., one classroom teacher and one paraprofessional/aide)
but parents and individual service providers are also welcome!
Modules are hosted by a Facilitator and participants will be provided support and feedback in
completion of each module. The modules can be completed at a time most convenient for you
and at your own pace.
NOTE: Each Individual module takes 6-8 hours to complete so there is a time commitment. Many
participants report that it’s a fun and convenient opportunity to share ideas and expertise!
DCMP is involved with a new YouTube pilot program designed to give participating content creators the ability to add audio description to their videos through a secondary audio track. We’ve been partnering with science communicator Emily Graslie to help bring Art Lab to YouTube as the very first educational series with native audio description! DCMP was a pioneer in bringing audio description to streaming media, and we’re thrilled to be working with Emily and YouTube in expanding accessibility to people with disabilities on a global scale.
You may know Emily Graslie as the host of The Field Museum’s Brain Scoop series, which is available with audio description at DCMP, or from her recent broadcast television debut on PBS in Prehistoric Road Trip. Her new series, Art Lab, celebrates art and science, how they come together, and how the skills used by artists help teach scientific concepts to a general audience. Art Lab will also be available to families and educators at dcmp.org.
Not only does Art Lab have audio description, but DCMP serves as technical advisor and accessibility provider to help make the series accessible from concept to completion.
We hope you take the time to be involved in this project yourself by viewing Art Lab with the audio description turned on! To activate the description, look for the Settings icon (a gear shape) at the bottom of the YouTube player, click “Audio Track,” and then choose “English Descriptive” to turn on audio description. Keep in mind that only a small number of content creators currently have access to this feature—but you can always find thousands of videos with audio description at DCMP!
The Maine Department of Education has partnered with T-Mobile to expand efforts to provide internet access and devices to Maine students through their Project 10Million initiative. If they choose to participate, the program provides mobile Wi-Fi hotspot devices directly to school districts for student use.
“We are thrilled to partner with T-Mobile to continue providing opportunities that allow Maine students to stay connected to their teachers, peers, and school communities,” said Maine Commissioner of Education Pender Makin. “The partnership helps to expand our own Connect Kids Now! initiative which supports Maine schools by providing internet connectivity through the pandemic.”
The Connect Kids Now! initiative began in the spring of 2020 at the onset of the pandemic when it became abundantly clear that technology resources were critical in closing the equity of access gap for continued learning for Maine students. In line with this these efforts, T-Mobile’s Project 10Million initiative provides the opportunity for districts in Maine to participate by signing up and choosing from three tiers of service which they can pass on to students at no cost: up to 100GB per year per device for free, or low-cost options for 100GB per month or unlimited data. Part of the commitment of the partnership will be to provide additional devices from T-Mobile over the next five years. T-Mobile will distribute these devices directly to districts and all student households with at least one student participating in the National School Lunch Program are eligible for the program. The Maine DOE will look to include districts based on economic factors such as Title 1 schools, National School Lunch Program eligibility rates, and distressed county designations. Districts can complete an online interest form to participate in the program.
“Partnering with the Maine DOE helps us identify districts and students that will benefit most from Project 10Million and get them the devices and connectivity required to fully participate in school,” said Mike Katz, executive vice president of T-Mobile for Business. “We are grateful to be a part of the solution that Commissioner Makin and her team have put in place to make sure ALL students can access the resources they need to succeed.”
NLS Publishes New Regulations: Medical Doctor Certification No Longer Required for Reading Disabilities
We’re pleased to inform you of important regulatory changes that should ease access to accessible formats of materials for students with reading disabilities, including dyslexia.
In March of 2020, we sent a notification about changes to U.S. copyright law that have an impact on students served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and may also qualify to receive accessible formats of materials derived from the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). At that time, the Library of Congress Technical Corrections Act of 2019 had amended terminology for persons eligible to receive accessible materials consistent with the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (MTIA).
On February 12, 2021, the National Library Service (NLS) published the regulations that go along with the Library of Congress Technical Corrections Act of 2019. In addition to expanding the list of persons who may certify a student’s eligibility for accessible formats, the Library of Congress removed the requirement for certification by a medical doctor for those with reading disabilities. Educators, school psychologists, and certified reading specialists are now among the professionals authorized to certify students with reading disabilities.
The National AEM Center will be providing technical assistance to states and districts to support the implementation of these changes. Our team welcomes any immediate questions or concerns. Please contact us at email@example.com.
In these otherwise challenging times, we’re relieved to celebrate this advancement in access with you, your students, and their families.
Director of Technical Assistance, CAST
Director of the National AEM Center
Jessi Wright, MBA, ATP has been named the new Director for the Maine CITE Program, the Assistive Technology (AT) program for the state of Maine. Jessi began her duties on February 1, 2021.
Jessi was previously the Director of the West Virginia State Assistive Technology Program located at the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities.
Jessi has worked in the disability field for over 15 years, ten years of which were with state assistive technology programs. She has extensive experience in disability services program management and is recognized as a national leader in the assistive technology field with knowledge of AT services, training, data management, funding, and grant writing.
Personally, Jessi grew up with an aunt with Down Syndrome and has provided caregiving support to friends and family with varying disabilities. She also identifies as a person with a disability. As a user of AT, she fully understands the potential life changing benefits of AT and has dedicated her career to educating and helping others achieve independence and an increased quality of life through the use of AT.
As a photography, nature and travel enthusiast, Jessi is looking forward to exploring all the adventures Maine has to offer. She plans to spend her down time camping, hiking and kayaking in the beautiful state of Maine. Jessi is also looking forward to trying out winter recreation activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing as well. You may also find her checking out a local hockey game or live music event around the state.
The Maine CITE Program, located at the University of Maine Augusta, is the statewide AT program, administered by the Maine Department of Education and funded by the federal Administration for Community Living. Maine CITE provides information, training, and services about AT, manages the statewide device demo, loan, and reuse programs, and provides technical assistance to organizations and individuals. Maine CITE’s online searchable AT inventory, AT4Maine, has more than 1000 devices available for demo and loan that can be accessed at the website, AT4Maine.org.
Maine CITE also administers the Maine Accessible Educational Materials Program (Maine AEM) which provides information, training, and technical assistance to educators to ensure educational content and communications are accessible to all.
Located near Boston, CAST is a nonprofit education research and development organization that created the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework and Guidelines, now used the world over to make learning more inclusive.
Register now for the 7th Annual CAST UDL Symposium!
2020 was a year for the history books, challenging us to make dramatic, unexpected changes quickly. We also confirmed that radical change in teaching and learning is possible. But 2020 also illuminated barriers to learning like never before. How do we ensure that the future is intentionally planned in a way that achieves the outcomes we hope for?
The 7th Annual CAST UDL Symposium will highlight promising work taking place in the field and will also serve as a forum to think about how we can begin to intentionally design for a better future right now. This year’s event is not about UDL as it has always been done. It is about the dramatic changes that we hope to see in the future and the innovations that can lead us there. Join us for a learning and networking experience filled with connected conversations that elevate our thinking around UDL and the future designed.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published the First Call Public Working Draft of its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0,which are developed through the W3C process in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world. WCAG 3.0 provides new ways to evaluate web content accessibility for people with disabilities by addressing more types of disabilities, concentrating on both mobile and desktop applications, and developing new tests and scoring to determine accessibility.
While WCAG 3.0 would succeed WCAG 2.1 and 2.0, it would not deprecate these earlier versions. WCAG 3.0 covers a wider set of user and disability needs, publishing requirements, and emerging technologies such as web XR (augmented, virtual, and mixed reality) and voice input. WCAG 3.0 also includes non-normative information about web technologies working in conjunction with authoring tools, user agents, and assistive technologies. The WCAG 3.0 model is designed to support better coverage across disabilities and be easier to maintain so that the model keeps pace with accelerating technology change.
Since the late 1990s, the Board and the WCAG working groups have engaged in ongoing collaboration to make web content more accessible to users with disabilities. The Board’s original Section 508 Standards (2000) cited WCAG 1.0 and included a mapping between specific WCAG 1.0 checkpoints and 508 provisions. The refreshed 508 Standards (2017) incorporate significant portions of WCAG 2.0 by reference.
Apple has published a new resource for educators about using iPad for learning. Separated into four sections: Connect, Collaborative, Creative, and Personal, the resource PDF provides information on topics such as accessibility, productivity, creative projects for learners and apps for education. In addition, the resource provides links to free curricular and learning resources and professional learning opportunities.