In response to the rapidly changing educational landscape, Google has created a new resource for teachers Teach from Home. The new web resource is available in eleven languages and provides teachers with answers to many questions and links to make additional resources found on their Google in Education service. There is a complete section on accessibility that describes how to turn on and use access features in Chrome and on Chromebooks.
The Teach From Home resource is also available to download (in PDF) for teachers who have limited access to the internet.
Google has also created a complementary resources, Learn @ Home a guide for parents and guardians. Google partnered with learning creators to bring parents and families meaningful resources and activities. These resources are not meant to replace homework assigned by teachers, but meant to complement that work.
Movies, videos, and other forms of multimedia are, these days, integral to public, private, and special education curriculum. If you’re a young person who can’t see or can’t see well, audio description provides access to all the visual images of the movies that sighted young people enjoy.
Entries can also be submitted via e-mail or postal mail (submissions from outside the United States are fine) to:
ACB-DCMP Benefits of Audio Description In Education
1703 N. Beauregard St., Suite 420
Alexandria, VA 22311 USA
Phone: (202) 467-5083
Deadline for Entries: Friday, December 6, 2019
Contest winners in each category will be chosen by January of 2020, and the grand prize winner will receive an iPad Mini! Each first-place winner will receive a $100 iTunes gift card. Second-place winners will receive a $50 iTunes gift card, and third-place winners will receive a $25 iTunes gift card. Each supporting teacher who has a first-place winning student will be awarded a $100 Amazon gift card.
Microsoft recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ Analysis of Microsoft Accessibility And Assistive Technologies For Education to quantify the benefits of Microsoft accessibility tools for students, teachers and schools.
According to the news release from Microsoft, “Forrester conducted numerous interviews across K-12, Higher Education, and an alternative school. These schools were using the built-in accessibility tools that are offered with our Microsoft 365 platform, including Office 365 and Windows 10. These schools represent over 90,000 students and 5000 faculty and staff.”
The research showed the following barriers to implementing Assistive Technology in schools:
Existing solutions could not be widely deployed and often had a stigma associated with them
Learning experiences could be disjointed and distracting
Technology costs and effort were too high.
Microsoft reported that “the study revealed that by deploying and using Microsoft Accessibility and assistive technology tool… schools can improve student learning, reduces costs and effort, and save time and be more effective.”
June 7, 2019 – Eleven national organizations have come together to outline a new vision for education technology in a series of publications that explore conception, design, procurement, use, and continuous improvement of ed tech initiatives.
The collaborative publications build off a central report, “Inclusive Technology in a 21st Century Learning System”, by Ace Parsi, Director of Innovation at the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). The report lays out a new inclusive vision for educational technology and considerations to ensure technology closes educational, economic, and civic opportunity gaps for individuals with disabilities.
The complimentary local and state/national briefs were developed in collaboration between the following organizations:
Policy and Research Organizations: The American Institute for Research, Digital Promise, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, and The Learning Accelerator
Associations Representing Local Policy Leaders: CoSN – Consortium for School Networking, the School Superintendent Association and Association of School Business Officials International;
Associations Representing State Policy Makers: National Association of State Directors of Special Education, the State Education Technology Directors Association, and the National Association of State Boards of Education;
National Policy and Advocacy Organizations: The Alliance for Excellent Education, the Future Ready Schools initiative, and the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
“Working together with these 10 other organizations sets a prime example of how all decision makers should be working together to ensure the needs of all learners are truly being met,” noted Lindsay Jones, CEO of the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
“These publications provide information and guidance to educational leaders to effectively leverage education technology to meet the needs of all learners, particularly those with disabilities,” said Tracy Gray, Managing Director at the American Institute for Research.
The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) is a leading national source for accessible educational content, providing services for students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind. Families and school personnel with early learners through Grade 12 students can register for free access to over 6,000 Educational Media titles on-demand and on DVD. DCMP’s Learning Center contains a wealth of information related to education, accessibility, deafness, blindness, and other related topics. DCMP provides Media Accessibility Guidelines through our Captioning Key and Description Key, used by media professionals as well as amateurs around the world.
The Described and Captioned Media Program provides premium media designed for students with disabilities and leads as a resource for families and teachers, supported by the federal Department of Education.
Map It: What Comes Nextis a free, online, interactive training designed for transition-aged students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The Getting a Job! online training was developed and designed for students who are deaf or hard of hearing and the professionals who work with them. Focusing on the transition from school to work, the training offers a series of activities, supporting documents and topical videos designed to help the job seeker prepare for the world of work. All the videos in the modules are presented in ASL, and are also voiced in English and captioned.
Additional videos and resources include:
Real Life 101: College Prep – With college just ahead of them, the hosts visit with some people who help students prepare for this milestone.
Biz Kid$ – Public television’s Emmy Award-winning financial education series of 65 videos for teens and preteens. Each video has a lesson guide, and the Biz Kid$ website has many additional ideas for learning activities.
A new article in Inside Higher Ed magazineHelping Institutions Reach Accessibility Goals details the fact that many institutions of higher education fail to have “coherent policies around accessibility. ” And, they note that there has been “…a recent uptick in high-profile lawsuits alleging failure to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act…”
While the reasons for this situation are many, the article suggests “time constraints” make be a factor. Quoting Cynthia Curry from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (NC-AEM), “Part of the problem is that people don’t have the time to do something systemic around accessibility within their institutions…” Curry said. “Most institutions, of course, aren’t looking proactively at accessibility. They’re looking at it more as a retrofit, or they’re being reactive if something litigious comes up.”
Maine CITE’s own resident digital accessibility resource person is John Brandt. Brandt’s own 25-year experience in web development and accessibility suggest that the perceived high cost to make web content accessible is probably the largest single factor in the equation. “Most organizations look at accessibility as expensive because they are approaching it from a mitigation perspective. They often fail to look at the costs associated with NOT having accessible content – lost student admissions, lack of student retention, etc.”
While most web accessibility experts will talk about the importance of “adding accessibility in at the beginning” of a web design process, colleges and universities are often not able to do this since they were among the first organizations to have websites in the 1990s – they have accumulated lots of content.
For colleges and universities just starting out with the process, these quality indicators can provide a blueprint and structure of the thinking process that need to be considered. Tom Tobin, one of the people interviewed in the article, encourages “institutions (to) focus accessibility efforts on the potential impact on student access and learning outcomes, rather than merely on ‘legal-compliance arguments.’”
“While the description of the quality indicators alludes to the broad access benefits for all learners when accessible materials, tools and interface are adopted, the actual indicators and critical components are focused squarely on meeting the needs of learners with disabilities — only a part of the access conversation,” Tobin states in the article.
DCMP’s mission is to promote and provide equal access to communication and learning through described and captioned educational media.
The ultimate goal of the DCMP is for accessible media to be an integral tool in the teaching and learning process for all stakeholders in the educational community, including students, educators and other school personnel, parents, service providers, businesses, and agencies.
The DCMP supports the U.S. Department of Education Strategic Plan for 2014-2018 by committing to the following goals:
Ensuring that students (early learners through Grade 12) who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind have the opportunity to achieve the standards of academic excellence.
Advocating for equal access to educational media as well as the establishment and maintenance of quality standards for captioning and description by service providers.
Providing a collection of free-loan described and captioned educational media.
Furnishing information and research about accessible media.
Acting as a gateway to Internet resources related to accessibility.
Adapting and developing new media and technologies that assist students in obtaining and using available information.
The Described and Captioned Media Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf.
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), of the U.S. Department of Education (Department), is pleased to publish, A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities.
OSERS’ mission is to improve early childhood, educational, and employment outcomes and raise expectations for all individuals with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the nation. To assist students and youth with disabilities to achieve their post-school and career goals, Congress enacted two key statutes that address the provision of transition services: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended by Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The IDEA is administered by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), and Titles I, III, and VI, section 509, and
chapter 2 of Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act are administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). OSEP and RSA, both components of OSERS, provide oversight and guidance regarding the administration and provision of transition services by State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies.
Both the IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act make clear that transition services require a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability within an outcome-oriented process. This process promotes movement from school to post-school activities, such as postsecondary education, and includes vocational training, and competitive integrated employment. Active student involvement, family engagement, and cooperative implementation of transition activities, as well as coordination and collaboration between the VR agency, the SEA, and the LEAs are essential to the creation of a process that results in no undue delay or disruption in service delivery. The student’s transition from school to postschool activities is a shared responsibility.
OSERS presents this transition guide to advance our efforts in ensuring that all students and youth with disabilities are equipped with the skills and knowledge to be engaged in the 21st Century workforce.