[Pibe-division] inaccessible online classrooms/assessments etc.

Dr. Denise M. Robinson dmehlenbacher at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 19 17:48:04 CST 2008


Yes Peter. You are So correct about this.


       Denise 
 
Denise M. Robinson, Ph.D. 
Coordinator for Blind/VI students at ESD105
Teacher of the Blind & Visually Impaired
509-969-3622

--- On Wed, 11/19/08, Peter Donahue <pdonahue1 at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

From: Peter Donahue <pdonahue1 at sbcglobal.net>
Subject: Re: [Pibe-division] inaccessible online classrooms/assessments etc.
To: "Professionals in Blindness Education Division List" <pibe-division at nfbnet.org>
Date: Wednesday, November 19, 2008, 8:10 PM

Hello Denise and listers,

I'm going to insert my responses to this message after your points. Here we

go:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dr. Denise M. Robinson" <dmehlenbacher at yahoo.com>
To: "Professionals in Blindness Education Division List" 
<pibe-division at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 5:57 AM
Subject: Re: [Pibe-division] inaccessible online classrooms/assessments etc.


There are some ways to get around many problems.

A.
    And some of those "Ways" are time-consuming for both teacher and 
student.

 For instance, AR can be read using the JAWS cursors and students can get AR 
to read and can do it independently.

    A.
    All while the school districts get away with violating applicable 
legislation that requires material to be available to students in 
alternative formats.

 inaccessible online materials come in PDF and these can be opened, then 
selected (as in all content alt-A), copied (control-C)and pasted (control-V) 
into WORD where JAWS will read it or it can be embossed out using Duxbury.

A.
    That is provided the PDF maker has not "Locked" the file so its
contents 
cannot be copied, exported, or saved in other file formats. And there's the

problem of PDF content being generated from an OCR image making it 
inaccessible to JAWS or other screen readers.

You have to walk by faith when you do this as JAWS tells you nothing is 
there, but it works every time.

A.
    With varying degrees of difficulty.

    Other inaccessible sites can once again be used by the JAWS cursor (keys 
on the num pad).

A.
    Try doing that on:
http://www.disneyparks.com
    And please report your findings back to us. The concerns over 
inaccessible Web sites, particularly online learning sites is very real, and 
I urge you to join with us to ensure that such Web sites are made accessible 
and easier for blind students and their teachers to use in the years to 
come.

 This is usually a skill most teachers of the blind do not know how to use, 
thus their students do not know how to use it either....unfortunately...and 
thus many areas go un-taught and unlearned by the student

A.
    If the Web sites and applications aren't designed to make their content

available to screen readers it doesn't matter whether the teachers know how

to teach their students to use problem Web sites with access technology or 
not.This would be like an O&M instructor telling a blind student to
"Listen" 
to the traffic pattern before crossing the street at an intersection through 
which only hybrid vehicles passed. How is the blind student going to know 
which traffic is moving if the vehicles don't make their presence and 
direction of travel available to the blind student's ears?

There is a plethora of problems, but most areas I have found a way around, 
so my blind students can access these poorly designed sites.

A.
    They could use them more effectively and you could make more efficient 
use of your time if these problems were addressed at the site/application 
design level. Will you help us do that?

Peter Donahue

Denise

Denise M. Robinson, Ph.D.
Coordinator for Blind/VI students at ESD105
Teacher of the Blind & Visually Impaired
509-969-3622

--- On Wed, 11/19/08, Andy & Sally Thomas <andysally at comcast.net>
wrote:

From: Andy & Sally Thomas <andysally at comcast.net>
Subject: Re: [Pibe-division] inaccessible online classrooms/assessments etc.
To: "Professionals in Blindness Education Division List" 
<pibe-division at nfbnet.org>
Date: Wednesday, November 19, 2008, 11:10 AM





Inaccessible on-line learning materials begin in Kindergarten. Many schools 
use the Accelerated Reader program. Last year in 5th grade my son's history

curriculum was on line in an inaccessible format. Most often the solution 
has been to read the materials to him. His history teacher would often 
exempt him from work. It is a huge problem that is only getting worse. Even 
though there is a textbook law, many schools don't use the textbooks they 
buy. I reported this lack of access to the curriculum on the NFB books on 
time survey. I hope more people talk about this and that this issue is 
brought to the forefront because it is obviously getting worse fast.

Sally Thomas

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Rene Harrell
To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children) ; 
Professionals in Blindness Education Division List ; Parents of Blind 
Children State Presidents List
Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 11:51 PM
Subject: [Pibe-division] inaccessible online classrooms/assessments etc.

Can we discuss online learning and assessments a bit? I'd love some more 
information and feedback on this topic.

It's come up recently in my State about a growing problem with online 
curricula and assessments not being accessible to blind/low-vision children 
who need to use screen readers or magnification software. I know there was a 
discussion on a parent listerv that encompasses all disabilities about a 
family that was attempting to use K-12 for their homeschool program, but 
could not because it is not accessible to blind children. When called, the 
company said it was a "copyright" issue and could not make their
program 
compatible with screen readers. I've heard from a smattering of other 
parents about tests that have had to be modified because they were online in 
an inaccessible format.

There was quite a discussion going on about this today on a policy/educator 
level. TVIs are expressing frustration that more and more of the school 
districts are turning to online curricula and assessments, but they are 
inaccessible to blind children. They complain to the school, but the school 
says it is a vendor issue. So far, complaints to vendors haven't brought 
about any changes to the current software being used and distributed.

My daughter is homeschooled so this is an issue I have not had to confront 
or deal with personally. But, it seems to be a growing problem for students 
and teachers here, and they're trying to figure out what they can do about 
it. I'd love to hear about how others have worked around this issue, or if 
this has been a problem for anyone else? Are these software companies 
violating ADA for making their programs inaccessible?

As more and more colleges turn towards online formats, and K-12 school 
districts follow suit, I wonder if we're going to see this become a growing

issue in the years ahead? What kind of steps can we take to be proactive on 
this issue?

Wisdom and thoughts are appreciated.

:-)
Rene





-- 
" I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up 
where I needed to be."
-- Douglas Adam





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