apps and accessibility: educative experiences for students with disabilities

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Joint presentation delivered with Mark O'Hara at the 34th annual Southwest Popular American Culture Association Conference, February 15, 2013. Provides an overview of research and resources. Addresses the ways technology can help or hinder learning, with a special emphasis on the use of iPads with children on the autism spectrum. More information at http://tinycc/ohara. Twitter: ohara_edtech


  • 1. Apps andAccessibilityEducative Experiences forStudents with DisabilitiesSWTX PCA/ACA ConferenceMark OHara, MA, MEdKaren OHara, MTSCMiami UniversityOxford, OHFebruary 15, 2013
  • 2. "Miami was a university beforeFlorida was a state."
  • 3. About UsKaren: M.A. Technical &Scientific Communication,working on grad.certificate in InteractiveMedia IT Services staff Adjunct in tech writingMark: PhD candidate (ABD) High school Englishteacher Disability Studiesinstructor, main campus
  • 4. Food for thought
  • 5. Compared to traditional education,computer-aided education has largelyproved to be more effective and efficient,primarily owing to additional motivationenhanced by the interaction with thecomputer (Kirinic, et. al., 2010, p. 13).
  • 6. Many corners of the Internet still havenot come to terms with accessibility foronline information even with existingguidelines to refer to. One of the mostgalling examples is e-government Websites, which are supposed to comply withSection 508 guidelines yet still have veryhigh levels of inaccessibility (Jaeger, 2006,quoted in Jaeger & Xie, 2009, p. 61).
  • 7. disability studies might effect asea change by asking that theinclusion-exclusion binary bereconceived in terms of accessibilityand inaccessibility, thereby takingpower and momentum from thoseon the inside and stressing thatsocieties should be open toeveryone (Siebers, 20, p. 94).
  • 8. Fewer experiences like this...
  • 9. Designing for cognition Simplicity and consistency Well-organized content and navigation Tolerance of user error Multiple modes of content delivery (text,images, video, sound...)(
  • 10. More experiences like this.
  • 11. Research andResources
  • 12. AccessIT Based at University of Washington Focuses on accessible educationaltechnology, all levels Features a knowledge base, checklists,videos, curriculum Useful for educators, policy makers,librarians, technical support staff, andstudents and employees with disabilitiesand their advocates.
  • 13. WebAIM Non-profit organization within Center forPersons with Disabilities at Utah StateUniversity A leading provider of web accessibilityexpertise internationally Knowledge, technical skills, tools to helporganizations make their own contentaccessible to people with disabilities WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool:Example
  • 14. WebAIM screen reader survey Full results available at Latest survey conducted May, 2012 1782 valid responses 73.1% of respondents were located in NorthAmerica 93% of respondents use screen readers dueto a disability
  • 15. Accessible Web Perception of web content accessibility isdecreasing. Use of properly structured headingsremains of great importance for assistivetech. Items that cause the most difficulty on theweb remain largely unchanged over thelast 2.5 years, with inaccessible Flashcontent and CAPTCHA being the mostproblematic.
  • 16. Completely Automated Public Turing test to tellComputers and Humans Apart
  • 17. "Invisible" Disabilities
  • 18. Autism manifests on a spectrum no definitive causes (many theories) more common than previously believed;CDC estimates 1 in 88 children in UnitedStates has been identified as having anautism spectrum disorder (ASD) may involve communication, socialization,sensory processing
  • 19. Technology that enables cognition Multiple options for user input (keyboard,mouse, voice, gesture) Tolerance of user error Ways to focus attention Code/architecture complies withstandards (WCAG, HTML)Improving web accessibility for this audiencewill improve access for everyone.(
  • 20. WebAIM screen reader survey:mobile is king 72% of the respondents use a screen readeron a mobile device, up from only 12% threeyears ago. 58.5% of respondents use Apple iOS devices When it comes to accessibility, Apple holds adistinct advantage over AndroidUsage of built-in screen readers isincreasing...and people are satisfied withthe options.
  • 21. Assistive andAvailable
  • 22. Before the iPad, Leos autism made himdependent on others for entertainment,play, learning, and communication. With theiPad, Leo electrifies the air around him withindependence and daily new skills. Peoplewho know Leo are amazed when they seethis new boy rocking that iPad...I dontusually dabble in miracle-speak, but I mayerect a tiny altar to Steve Jobs in the cornerof our living room.-Shannon des Roches Rosa
  • 23. Leo Playing FirstWords on his iPad
  • 24. iOS 6 accessibility functions(activated fromSettings>General>Accessibility) VoiceOver: gesture-based screen reader Invert colors: higher contrast for reading Speak Selection: used like Voice Over forspeaking text snippets Guided Access: a teacher can lock an app,disable some buttons, and restrict touchinput to certain parts of the screen Assistive touch: programs in differentgestures to enable one finger or a stylus
  • 25. Fleksy - Happy Typing
  • 26. EXO U
  • 27. The future....
  • 28. Thank you!Follow on Twitter:@ohara_edtechWeb:
  • 29. (2008). CDC Features - New Data on Autism Spectrum Disorders. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 30 Jan 2013].des Roches Rosa, S. (2010). The iPad: a Near-Miracle for My Son With Autism. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 29 Jan 2013].Jaeger P, Xie B. Developing online community accessibility guidelines for persons with disabilities and older adults. Journal OfDisability Policy Studies [serial online]. June 2009;20(1):55-63. Available from: CINAHL Plus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA.Accessed January 29, 2013.Kirinic, V. V., Vidacek-Hains, V. V., & Kovacic, A. A. (2010). Computers in Education of Children with Intellectual and RelatedDevelopmental Disorders. International Journal Of Emerging Technologies In Learning, 12-16. doi:10.3991/ijet.v5s2.1246Siebers, T. (2008). Disability theory. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, (2002). Welcome to AccessIT. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 29 Jan2013] (2013). WebAIM: Web Accessibility In Mind. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 29 Jan 2013].


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