The Importance of Accessibility in Education and How Technology Can Help

Education is a fundamental human right, but unfortunately, not everyone has equal access to it. Accessibility in education refers to the ability of all students,…

The Importance of Accessibility in Education and How Technology Can Help

Education is a fundamental human right, but unfortunately, not everyone has equal access to it. Accessibility in education refers to the ability of all students, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities, to access learning materials and participate fully in educational activities. In this blog post, we will discuss why accessibility is important in education and how technology can help.

 

Why is Accessibility Important in Education?

Equal Opportunities for All Students: Accessible education ensures that every student has an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.

 

Accommodation for Diverse Needs: Students with disabilities or different learning styles require accommodations to ensure they can participate fully in educational activities.

 

Legal Obligations: Educational institutions have legal obligations under various laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.

 

Ethical Responsibilities: Providing accessible education is an ethical responsibility for educational institutions as it ensures that all students are treated equitably.

 

How Technology Can Help Improve Accessibility

Technology has played a crucial role in improving accessibility in education. Here are some ways technology can help:

 

Assistive Technologies: Assistive technologies such as screen readers, text-to-speech software, and speech recognition software can help students with visual or hearing impairments access digital content more easily.

 

Online Learning Platforms: Online learning platforms provide flexibility and convenience for students who might have difficulty attending traditional classes due to physical or geographical barriers.

 

Closed Captioning: Videos on online learning platforms can be made accessible through closed captioning, which provides written transcriptions of spoken words.

 

Mobile Apps: Mobile apps provide accessibility features such as voice commands and larger font sizes that cater to diverse needs.

 

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): AR/VR technologies provide immersive learning experiences that can enhance engagement and improve comprehension for students with different learning styles.

 

Accessibility is built into the Digitize Platform

Here’s some of the accessibility features we’ve build into the digitize platform:

Epilepsy Safe Mode: Dampens colour and removes blinks

Visually Impaired Mode: Improves website’s visuals

Cognitive Disability Mode: Helps to focus on specific content

ADHD Friendly Mode: Reduces distractions and improve focus

Blindness Mode: Allows using the site with screen-reader

These features can be switched on or off at any time and change the appearance of the entire site for the user. 

In the GIF below, you can see how easy it is to navigate through the accessibility features:

 

We think these are some of our most useful features:

Dark Large Cursor & Text to Speech Combo

Dark cursor and speech to text is one of our favourite combinations. Turning on the large dark cursor makes it easier for users to click on different site features, and the dark contrast creates a contrast with the site background. This makes it easier for users to use their cursor as a pointer, and to follow and read text. This feature also works well with speech to text. Users can use the larger cursor to find and highlight text the it’s read aloud to them through the device speakers or earphones.

 

Text Magnifier

The text magnifier enlarges any text that’s hovered over. This is particularly useful for users who struggle to read from a screen.

Reading Guide

The reading guide underlines text. This is particularly useful for users to enable them to better follow the text, and can be used so they don’t lose their place.

ADHD Friendly Mode

ADHD friendly mode dulls all of the text on the page except for the text within a certain area. This makes it easier for users to focus on small parts of text, rather than having to try and focus on the page as a whole.

 

Conclusion

Accessibility is essential in ensuring that every student has equal opportunities to learn and succeed. Educational institutions must embrace accessible practices by providing appropriate accommodations for diverse needs while also meeting legal obligations under various laws like the ADA.

 

Fortunately, advancements in technology have provided new avenues for improving accessibility in education, from assistive technologies like screen readers to online learning platforms offering flexible schedules and mobile apps providing accessibility features catering to diverse needs.

 

By leveraging technology effectively, educational institutions can create an inclusive environment where all students feel valued and empowered to achieve their full potential.

 

Sources

httpss://www.ed.gov/accessibility

 

httpss://www.eab.com/research-and-insights/student-success-center/blog/inclusive-accessibility-in-higher-ed

 

httpss://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2020/06/03/how-improve-online-learning-students-disabilities-during-covid

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