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Desire2Learn's blind workers help make better accessibility tools for classrooms

Desire2Learn's blind workers help make better accessibility tools for classrooms | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it

Education startups don’t typically have money to burn. But Desire2Learn is an exception; it recently raised $80 million, the largest-ever venture investment in a Canadian software company.

 

What’s the company doing with all that cash? “We’re breaking down barriers in education,” asserts founder and chief executive John Baker in a phone interview from the offices in Waterloo, Ontario.

 

Specifically, Desire2Learn is hiring visually impaired and blind workers to test new products before they hit the market. The company is positioning itself as a pioneer in the accessibility sector, and it hopes to outstrip the efforts of Microsoft and Apple.

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Accessible Educational Materials
AEM, Accessible Tech and NIMAS on the web
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Accessible Educational Materials: Home Page

Accessible Educational Materials: Home Page | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Welcome to the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials. We provide resources and technical assistance for educators, parents, students, publishers, conversion houses, accessible media producers, and others interested in learning more about AEM and implementing AEM and the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS).
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Accessibility Whack-A-Mole - alistapart.com

Accessibility Whack-A-Mole - alistapart.com | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Accessibility doesn’t just involve improving access for people with visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological difficulties—it impacts us all. Remember that in addition to those permanently affected, many more people experience temporary difficulties because of injury or environmental effects. Accessibility isn’t a niche issue; it’s an everyone issue.

There are lots of helpful accessibility guidelines in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, but although the W3C is working to better meet the complex needs of neurodiverse users, there are no easy solutions. How do we deal with accessibility needs for which there are no definitive answers? And what if a fix for one group of people breaks things for another group?
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17 Adjustments You Can Make to Your Website Today That Make It More Accessible to Visitors with Disabilities

17 Adjustments You Can Make to Your Website Today That Make It More Accessible to Visitors with Disabilities | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
By 2018, The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will roll out official compliance guidelines concerning online accessibility for the disabled as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

DOJ will soon be expecting all websites to accommodate people with disabilities.

Whether DOJ will implement web accessibility standards is not a matter of "if", but "when."

However, waiting until it's the law may make your company legally vulnerable in the meantime if you aren't in compliance, as organizations such as Peapod, Target, Reebok, and the NBA have already found out.

In order to assure that websites and web applications are accessible to and usable by everyone, Web designers and developers must follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the Internet.

WCAG 2.0 Guidelines originated in 2008, and cover a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible. It covers an expanded range of disabilities: blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, and photo sensitivity.
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FCC Highlights Accessibility Challenges for Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities | CommLaw Monitor

FCC Highlights Accessibility Challenges for Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities | CommLaw Monitor | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it

On October 6, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a White Paper entitled “Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities: Barriers to and Solutions for Accessible Information and Communication Technologies” containing best practices for equipment manufacturers and service providers looking to comply with the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act and the FCC’s accessibility rules. This release teed up FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s remarks later that day at the Coleman Institute Conference on Cognitive Disabilities and Technology. These events come after the FCC hosted its first-ever Summit and Expo on Telecommunications Needs of People with Cognitive Disabilities in October 2015 and demonstrate a strong focus of the FCC on making sure communications equipment and services are accessible to people with all kinds of disabilities.

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Accessibility Testing with the NVDA Screenreader | Deque.com

Accessibility Testing with the NVDA Screenreader | Deque.com | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
This is the first post in a two-part series on Accessibility Testing for Developers by Matt Isner, a developer here at Deque Systems. For today’s post, Matt has created a video demonstration for sighted developers on how to install and configure the NVDA screen reader for accessibility testing. (Please note: NVDA is for Windows only.)
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Are You Providing Students With Disabilities Digital Accessibility? | HigherEdTechDecisions.com

Are You Providing Students With Disabilities Digital Accessibility? | HigherEdTechDecisions.com | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
More than 645,000 students in the United States report having a disability. And while every higher education institution in the country has done its utmost in the last 30 years to ensure that campuses, offices and living spaces are accessible to those with a physical disability, many of their digital spaces are far less accommodating.

More than two percent of U.S. students have a visual impairment, four percent have hearing problems and seven percent have limited mobility. Every one of these students must log into school websites to enroll, access lesson information and more. But if those impairments are severe enough, they may not be able to fully interact with a digital space.
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When Equity Means Accessibility | Blogs.Scholastic.com

When Equity Means Accessibility | Blogs.Scholastic.com | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Of the nearly 55 million students who attend primary and secondary schools in the United States, about 60,000 are visually impaired, meaning they’re either blind or have low vision. Because students with visual impairments make up such a small segment of the overall student population, their specific learning needs are often an afterthought. This is particularly the case as teaching and learning in our schools increasingly rely on digital materials and online platforms that too often offer limited accessibility to students with visual impairments.
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Microsoft publishes new Accessibility documents for Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Microsoft publishes new Accessibility documents for Windows 10 Anniversary Update | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Windows 10 offers a number of enhancements to users, from security to added features to improved machine intelligence by way of Cortana. One specific area where Microsoft focused efforts on making Windows 10 shine is accessibility, meaning the application of user interface elements and various technologies to make the operating system fully accessible to all users.

Yesterday, Microsoft published a number of documents outlining how the Anniversary Update further improves Windows 10 accessibility
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Welcome to Includification - Actionable Game Accessibility

Welcome to Includification - Actionable Game Accessibility | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Welcome to the AbleGamers Foundation’s Game Accessibility Guidelines, written by developers, and gamers with disabilities. We hope you will use this website as a resource tool to answer questions you might have about adding accessibility to your game.

The information you will find on this website is the culmination of nearly a decade of research, review, experiments and first-hand experience by gamers with disabilities who live with these problems every day.

If there's one thing you take away from our guidelines, please remember that everyone has a different way of playing. There is no one right or wrong way of playing with a disability. As disabled gamers, we just want to be able to play the game and sometimes that means accessibility options are a must.
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Website Accessibility: Ten Things School Districts Should Know - Education Week

Website Accessibility: Ten Things School Districts Should Know - Education Week | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
What has the office for civil rights been doing to enforce website accessibility?

As of July 2016, OCR has 227 investigations open involving the issue of accessibility of online courses, distance learning, websites and remote applications. The result of many of those investigations are consent agreements with schools, districts, and states to fix their websites. Those agreements have pointed toward two international standards as a framework to follow. One is called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and the second is a set of tools designed to make today's more complex web interfaces usable for all. (Those tools are known by the tongue-twisting name of Web Accessibility Initiative Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite, or WAI-ARIA.)
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IAAP and G3ict Merger Press Release | g3ict.org

IAAP, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals and G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies, announced today that G3ict will be acquiring IAAP in a merger aimed at promoting the accessibility profession on a more global scale. Under this agreement IAAP will become part of G3ict, effective immediately, but will continue its mission to define, promote and improve the accessibility profession globally through networking, education and certification in order to enable the creation of accessible products, content and services. This joint decision by the Boards of IAAP and G3ict reflects the strategic alignment of these organizations and a shared need to respond to rapidly growing, unmet worldwide demand for IT professionals, developers, educators, business leaders, and content creators knowledgeable in accessibility.
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Doors Are Open to the AEM Center: Explore Accessible Learning Options This Summer

Doors Are Open to the AEM Center: Explore Accessible Learning Options This Summer | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it

Doors Are Open to the AEM Center: Explore Accessible Learning Options This Summer.


The AEM Center offers ed resources and technical assistance for educators, parents, and students all year long. AIM-VA is a free program sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education. We provide free accessible versions of printed instructional materials for qualified K-12 students in Virginia.


Students with disabilities who meet certain criteria can be found eligible for AEM and free high quality accessible reading materials. Moreover, some of the providers offer contests and ways to connect with readers who have print disabilities.


For example: "Learning Ally has kicked off its "Summer Reading Together.External Link to Summer Reading Together (New Window)" program. This initiative is designed specifically for students with reading disabilities, such as dyslexia and blindness or visual impairment. The program features unique and engaging events that create a sense of fun, excitement, competition and support among students, their teachers, families and friends.


Bookshare's accessible online library is another excellent resource for students and adults who cannot read traditional print books due to disabilities like blindness, low vision, physical disabilities, and learning disabilities like dyslexia. Check out Bookshare's tips for giving students with print disabilities independent access to Bookshare over the summer.

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Complex Images • Images • WAI Web Accessibility Tutorials

Complex Images • Images • WAI Web Accessibility Tutorials | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Complex images contain substantial information – more than can be conveyed in a short phrase or sentence. These are typically:

graphs and charts, including flow charts and organizational charts;
diagrams and illustrations where the page text relies on the user being able to understand the image;
maps showing locations or other information such as weather systems.

In these cases a two-part text alternative is required. The first part is the short description to identify the image and, where appropriate, indicate the location of the long description. The second part is the long description – a textual representation of the essential information conveyed by the image. The following examples show different approaches that can be used to provide such short and long descriptions.
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Students with Disabilities Meet Challenges with Online Courses, Accessibility Improvements | news.Rutgers.edu

Students with Disabilities Meet Challenges with Online Courses, Accessibility Improvements | news.Rutgers.edu | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
According to the Americans ​with Disabilities Act, online courses must be made accessible to students with disabilities, but it’s up to individual schools to establish their own online standards. At Rutgers, a universal design committee was established to speak with students like Etori and research the best ways to make online courses the most accessible for all students, as well as those with disabilities.

This universitywide committee, led by Rutgers Center for Online and Hybrid Learning & Instructional Technologies, consists of faculty, staff and administrators in Camden, Newark and New Brunswick who are active in the online education space.
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Accessible Formats | ReadingRockets.org

Accessible Formats | ReadingRockets.org | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
For children with print-based reading disabilities, accessible formats provide alternate versions of print-based books that function in much the same way as a print-based textbook. Learn about the different kinds of accessible formats, including digital talking books, enlarged text, electronic publications, and more.

Accessible formats provide alternate versions of print-based books that function in much the same way as a print-based textbook. In order to meet the individual learning needs of unique students, accessible formats include audio, enlarged text, and embossed paper.
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Digital Inclusion and Accessibility: Top 100 Influencers and Brands | Onalytica.com

Digital Inclusion and Accessibility: Top 100 Influencers and Brands | Onalytica.com | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Whether you need to pay a household bill, find a job or maintain contact with your family and relatives, going online has become essential part of our every day lives. For many though, this is still a daunting prospect. They might not possess the right skills, motivation and trust to confidently go online, they might not even have access to a computer. Digital inclusion and accessibility is about reaching out to those people and helping them develop their digital capabilities, and improving their access to these services.
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Accessible eLearning Benefits All Learners by Pamela S. Hogle : Learning Solutions Magazine

Accessible eLearning Benefits All Learners by Pamela  S. Hogle : Learning Solutions Magazine | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Joel, a journalist, struggles to complete required online training. His media organization, which has more than 200 employees, uses an online training program that includes videos and webinars. Joel is hard of hearing; the videos do not offer captioning or even a transcript.

Anya, a university professor, is legally blind. She uses a computer with assistive technologies, including a screen reader. Each year, completing required compliance training is a frustrating experience. The eLearning program does not allow her to control text size, color, or contrast. She simply cannot read the screens. To make matters worse, it is not compatible with any screen reader Anya has tried. “It’s complicated to be disabled,” she says, exasperated.
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When it comes to accessibility, Apple continues to lead in awareness and innovation | TechCrunch.com

When it comes to accessibility, Apple continues to lead in awareness and innovation | TechCrunch.com | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
The accessibility software on all of Apple's platforms empower those with disabilities, myself included, to partake in the experience Apple intends for all.

With its Multi-Touch user interface and, as Steve Jobs described it,”desktop-class software,” the first iPhone set the bar for smartphones, establishing itself as the phone against which all others are judged. It was a true revolution.

Tech writers and analysts tend to associate these revolutions, the Next Big Things, with hardware. The iPhone epitomizes this, but a strong argument can be made that Apple has also led a software revolution equally as transformative but without nearly the bang in terms of press coverage. With iOS, Apple has created a rich and diverse set of tools for people with disabilities that enable them to use an iPhone with as much ease and delight as their non-disabled peers.

It’s for this reason the accessibility features on iOS are widely regarded as the best in the industry. This is no small feat, one that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you remember what cell phones were like before the iPhone came along.
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IBM Updates Accessibility Checklists in Preparation for Section 508 Refresh | AgeandAbility.com

IBM Updates Accessibility Checklists in Preparation for Section 508 Refresh | AgeandAbility.com | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Last week, accessibility took a step forward. The refresh of the Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology passed another hurdle on its long journey to being updated for the first time since its release in December 2000.

The Section 508 Amendment to the US Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandates that all information and communication technology developed, procured or used by the federal government be accessible. The requirements, however, were written when the majority of people in the United States didn’t use the Internet or mobile devices, and before the more advanced web technologies could be made fully accessible. It has been surpassed by worldwide standards and technologies, including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Accessible Rich Internet Applications 1.0 (WAI-ARIA), and HTML 5.
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First Editors Draft of EPUB Accessibility 1.0 now available | International Digital Publishing Forum

First Editors Draft of EPUB Accessibility 1.0 now available | International Digital Publishing Forum | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it

The first Editors Draft of EPUB Accessibility 1.0 has been published at http://www.idpf.org/epub/a11y/, making available a conformance and discovery specification for accessibility within the EPUB standard. While accessibility has always been a requirement of EPUB 3, this new specification was created as a work product of the EPUB 3.1 revision process, to gather in one document all the formal requirements to meet to certify EPUB publications as accessible.

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ringacrux's comment, August 27, 2016 12:55 AM

Excellent...!!
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Adobe InDesign accessibility | www.adobe.com

Adobe InDesign accessibility | www.adobe.com | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Adobe® InDesign® CC software supports accessible cross-media publication, allowing you to export InDesign documents to ePub, HTML, or accessible PDF. Reduce the time it takes to create PDF documents that people with disabilities can use more effectively.

Apply accessibility features within your InDesign document, rather than having to make major changes in Adobe Acrobat® software. PDF tags, alt tags, and the content order you assign stay with the document as you revise it. Used in combination with Acrobat for touch-up of the exported PDF files and Adobe Dreamweaver® software for HTML output, users can achieve maximum accessibility for the exported content.
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ringacrux's comment, August 27, 2016 12:55 AM

Thats astonishing...
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Accessibility: a concept for tomorrow - or today’s challenge? - Government Computing Network - UK

Accessibility: a concept for tomorrow - or today’s challenge? - Government Computing Network - UK | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Apple, Android and increasingly Microsoft products have a plethora of ‘accessibility’ features built in, there is no longer a special add-on that enables a blind person to work with an iPhone. It is simply part of the operating system to be enabled or not as you wish.

Accessibility is becoming part of the mainstream. Amazon has built eBook readers that render the book into speech or allow endless manipulation of the text for ease of reading and Samsung has made fully accessible TVs that can talk to you.

In short, there is no excuse at all for service providers to fail to reach out with their services to blind and partially sighted people and people with other disabilities. The everyday expectation is changing in the consumer market, we want to listen to our email or the news, we want to speak a text message or leave a voicemail. That is what technology is doing for us today, breaking out of the ‘traditional’ means of controlling our online lives, and indeed controlling our everyday environments.
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ringacrux's comment, August 27, 2016 12:55 AM
Thats stunning...
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Facebook's first blind engineer is revolutionizing social media as we know it  |  Mashable

Facebook's first blind engineer is revolutionizing social media as we know it  |  Mashable | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
Halfway through Matt King’s presentation, the screen goes dark.

It’s the kind of glitch that might make a man sweat in front of the audience. But this is no glitch. King has done it deliberately to bring us into his world, however disorienting it might be for the rest of the room.

“I’m going to put it into a state that’s more like how I operate,” King says with just a hint of mischief. He looks less like a computer engineer than an ex-marine, but with the surprisingly cheerful and calm speech of someone who grew up in the Pacific Northwest.

Before we can fully internalize his words, King is drowned out by a mechanical voice. “Screen curtain on.”

King begins tapping the arrow keys to scroll through a Facebook timeline, with the voice leading the way. “Heading Level 5. Link. February 26, at 3:53 pm." Next, it recites the contents of the friend’s post. “What a view, I really like my new camera.” Then nothing. The voice is quiet. King is quiet. There is no photo to enjoy. The screen is still dark.
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ringacrux's comment, August 27, 2016 12:56 AM
Thats stunning...
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Guest Post, Darrell Gunter: Accessibility Is The New Innovation | Scholarly Kitchen

Guest Post,  Darrell Gunter: Accessibility Is The New Innovation | Scholarly Kitchen | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it

Darrell Gunter discusses the great opportunities available in making all forms of content accessible to everyone.


As a member of the Board of EIES (Electronic Information and Education Service) of New Jersey for the last three years, I was very excited to attend this conference as EIES of New Jersey’s mission is to provide the visually impaired with the best reading service of the day’s news.


The Accessibility Conference featured an All-Star panel, and due to a last minute cancellation, I was asked to step in and present Eve Hill’s speech. Ms. Hill is the Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division of the US Justice Department. After delivering her speech, I was compelled to write about the conference as I believe that publishing industry is not addressing this topic as aggressively as it should.

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Interesting article and comments.
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ringacrux's comment, August 27, 2016 12:56 AM
Terrific...!!
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Making E-Learning Accessible | Pearson

Making E-Learning Accessible | Pearson | Accessible Educational Materials | Scoop.it
These guidelines were created to guide Pearson's development teams and are updated regularly with new techniques. They are public so that customers and others can see what we're working toward and will, we hope, find them useful for their own e-learning projects.
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ringacrux's comment, August 27, 2016 12:57 AM
Its fabulous