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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Making Online and e-Learning Accessible to All

Photo: Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President of www.RespectAbilityUSAorg reports, "American teens spend an average of seven hours a day connected to their electronic devices (computers, phones, etc.). So it you want to get into the hearts and minds of young people today, you have to where they are: online." 

That's why websites, emails and e-learning tools need to be accessible to all, including people with hearing and vision impairments who use screen readers or who need captions on videos or other assistive technologies.

The web is a great place for communications, social connections, gaming and even learning. Yes - online learning. This is a relatively new field that is extremely promising for differentiated learners - i.e. gifted learners, people with learning disabilities, and everyone else in between. I'm a big fan of the Khan Academy, and MOOCs.

Soon we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act. We also have other laws that govern the accessibility of communications, including websites. Religious organizations are exempt from those laws, and many other institutions simply ignore them. But we are better as a community when we all our institutions practice inclusion both in person and online. To do that you need to follow the standards of The standards are going to be updated soon as experts from around the world are creating even better universal guidelines. And you don't have to go it alone. Indeed, groups like ours, RespectAbility, offer free webinars and tools on this, or you can hire experts.

One in five Americans has a disability - that is a total of 60 million people. It is of utmost importance to companies, organizations and individuals to have websites and social media that is fully accessible to screen reader software, has captions in all its videos and takes into account other disabilities. When a website is accessible people who are vision, mobility or hearing impaired, they can participate and contribute equally within our community. 


Source: Huffington Post