Category Archives: environment

Accessibility in the classroom—tools that impact my students – Office Blogs

Creating a collaborative, inclusive classroom has many moving parts and pieces—and finding the right balance can be challenging. As a special education teacher, I am constantly on the hunt for technology and tools that give students with disabilities an environment that is personalized, differentiated and yet as close to their peers’ experience as possible. I have been an itinerant teacher, a distance education math teacher at a residential school and currently a resource room teacher—without the resource room.

When I work with my students and determine how to meet their needs, I think a lot about their accommodations rather than their modifications. The outcomes for a student can have a very dramatic effect on their learning.

In my accompanying blog post, “Accommodations versus modifications in an inclusive classroom,” I outline the important differences between accommodations and modifications to accessibly personalizing student learning. With Windows 10 and Office 365—free for teachers and students—I have been able to find and use many of the accommodations that I have been looking for making consumption of materials, content creation, collaboration and organization possible for students using the same technology and tools as their peers.

These tools help my students to consume content, create content, collaborate inclusively and stay organized.

……

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Accessibility in the classroom—tools that impact my students – Office Blogs

Emerging tech aims to improve life for handicapped

Emerging technology is giving new hope for the handicapped, and harnessing brainwaves for the physically disabled and helping the visually impaired with “artificial vision” are just the start.

Many systems showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas are aimed at improving quality of life for people with disabilities.

BrainRobotics, a Massachusetts-based startup, showed its prosthesis that can be controlled by residual muscle strength of an amputee with better efficiency than similar devices, according to developers.

Over time the group wants to use technology from its sister company BrainCo to harness brain waves for improved function. BrainCo already markets a headband which helps identify patterns of brain waves to help improve focus and treat children with learning disabilities.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Emerging tech aims to improve life for handicapped

A group of Google employees spent their ‘20% time’ making Google Maps wheelchair-friendly

 

Google Maps is now wheelchair-friendly.

The wildly popular map app will now tell you whether locations are suitable for people with access needs — and it’s thanks to a group of Googlers who worked on the feature in their “20% time.”

It’s a famous policy of the Californian search giant: Employees can spend 20% of their time working on other projects unrelated to their main jobs. Gmail, AdSense, and Google News all started as 20% projects.

These days, Google employees need to get permission from managers to get this time, and most don’t do it. Google HR boss Lazlo Bock says it has “waxed and waned” over time. But some still do — and Rio Akasaka is one of them.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: A group of Google employees spent their ‘20% time’ making Google Maps wheelchair-friendly | Business Insider

Meet the Blind Man Who Convinced Google Its Self-Driving Car Is Finally Ready

Steve Mahan’s solo ride showed it’s time to take the car to market.

Now 63 and having lost his sight, Mahan has become one of those capsule-bound explorers. In October 2015, he became the first member of the public to ride in Google’s self-driving pod-like prototype, alone and on public roads. No steering wheel, no pedals, no human on board to step in should something go wrong.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Meet the Blind Man Who Convinced Google Its Self-Driving Car Is Finally Ready

Accessibility advocates tweet their barriers | Toronto Star

Disability advocates are hoping social-media campaigns will publicly shame organizations into taking action on accessibility.

Tim Rose made headlines this month when he posted on Facebook about his harrowing back-and-forth with Air Canada, who refused to let him take a direct flight from Toronto to Cleveland because they said his wheelchair was too big to fit in the plane.

Rose started tweeting with the hashtag #wheelchairsarentluggage, in response to an Air Canada employee comparing his wheelchair to an oversized bag.

The hashtag has racked up hundreds of tags, including some by David Lepofsky, the chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Alliance.

Lepofsky started his own campaign a few months ago called #AODAfail. It asks Ontarians to point out narrow wheelchair ramps (or non-existent ones), uneven sidewalks and signs low in colour contrast — anything that creates obstacles for people with disabilities.

Lepofsky, who is blind, said he relies on traffic sounds to navigate the city as a pedestrian. He’s comfortable walking with a cane on the street, but wayfinding in some newer buildings is another story.

Navigating the wide, curved atrium at the Women’s College Hospital is like wading through the Atlantic Ocean, he said.

Before entering the atrium, there’s the matter of getting through the front doors. The hospital’s front entrance has poles on either side of the doors with sensors, so that when a guest waves a hand in front of the sensor, the door opens — dissimilar to most hospital doors, which open automatically.

The washrooms nearest the front entrance of the hospital have signs written in Braille, but Lepofsky points out the Braille only indicates room numbers — not whether the washrooms are meant for men, women or families.

“It’s hard to be that bad. It’s one thing not getting better, but it’s another thing making (accessibility) substantially worse,” Lepofsky said.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Accessibility advocates tweet their barriers | Toronto Star

The inaccessible web: how we got into this mess

Compared to other public spaces, the internet provides us with choices for how we consume and interact. We can use various devices, browsers and operating systems; we can change the size and colour of text; we can navigate with a mouse, keyboard, finger or mouthpiece; or we can use a screen reader to convert words to sounds.

Whatever your needs or preferences, there’s almost certainly a way to access the web.

Theoretically.In reality, the web is a mess.

These accessibility options tend to be forgotten or stripped away, even though accessible websites and apps can absolutely still be beautiful, innovative and user-friendly.

This is more than an inconvenience. This is a human rights issue. Disabled people need these options in order to access the web.

Here are my thoughts on how we got into this mess, and what we can do.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: The inaccessible web: how we got into this mess

Event Websites Need to Have Accessibility Info – Scrappy Deviation

I’ve done a few reviews of events now, and I intend to do more in the future. Some have focused specifically on accessibility issues, while others have included them along with other discussions of the events.

On both of the event reviews I have done on The Orbit I noted that the events DID have a harassment policy on those sites, which were easy to find. This is likely because social justice communities have demanded harassment policies for years and many well known people will not speak at events that do not have those polices highly visible on their websites.

Attendees need accessibility information.

Neither event had accessibility information on their websites. To be blunt, I want this to become as unacceptable as having no harassment policy.

So what should a small event include on their website?

The most important thing is to be honest. If someone is told the event they’re attending is wheelchair accessible, but they arrive and find steps leading to the entrance, they’re going to have a bad time. So be as honest as you reasonably can about barriers that may exist for people, while still working to remove any barriers you can.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Event Websites Need to Have Accessibility Info – Scrappy Deviation