Digital learning enables leadership teams and other leaders such as teachers, districts and schools to form, respond and sustain education in a digital environment. Digitized learning technologies with advanced accessibility features can make it easier for students with disabilities to learn at the same level as their peers in traditional classrooms.
In 2019-20, the number of students ages 3-21 who received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was 7.3 million, or 14% of all public-school students. Now those are some staggering figures!
Students with disabilities should participate in education and training on the same basis as all students without disabilities, and they should not be discriminated against. Education standards should assert that students with disabilities are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Progress in the IT industry and digital technology is accessible and widespread, enabling the use of digital technologies to create new opportunities for students. AI technology is capable of influencing this scenario through advances in transcription, translation and language understanding.
Our team at 247 Accessible Documents specializes in EdTech-Accessibility. We render all digital learning content accessible and ensure students get equal access to such content, irrespective of their disabilities.
How Technology Can Be Useful?
Technology can facilitate the education process for students with disabilities.
Technology is a blessing if used in a correct fashion. As the quote goes “Technology is best when it brings people together.” Let’s look at some of the ways technology can help make life more accessible and easier for students with disabilities.
- Technology helps in designing online lessons for students with special needs. Surprisingly, it does not take as long as using them face to face and transferring them to an online environment.
- Use of simple, low-cost tools such as voice-over-text features and screen reader programs, which are found on many devices, can help to personalize learning for students with sensory or cognitive difficulties.
- Assisted visual impairment technology and text and language software can help students with reading disabilities access course materials and listen to textbooks and other printed materials.
- Technology such as Aria allows blind or visually impaired people to call a consultant with smart glasses and augmented reality to see the environment in front of them, to find books in the library or to find a backpack.
These new technologies are ongoing efforts to provide disabled students with access to these technologies. A whole field has emerged to improve access to education for people with disabilities over the years and is growing.
The Accessibility Law
The Title II and Title III of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act require educational institutions to make disabled students access their digital content. Accessibility to EdTech is an essential prerequisite for people with disabilities because the provision of accessible content benefits all learners. The World Wide Web Consortium for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA), accepted by the Web Industry and used in the settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, provides full and equal access under federal law.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Titles II and III of the American with Disabilities Act require colleges and universities to offer equal and integrated access to higher education. Schools cannot deny a student with a disability an effective opportunity to participate in programs and benefit from the services they provide. Educational technology, media, materials and programs are the primary sources of support for accessible technologies and media-related activities for people with disabilities under the Education Act and IDEA.
Bone in the Throat
Many EdTech tools on the market lack advanced accessibility features to support disabled students. When it comes to translating digital learning tools, even well-intentioned educators are at a disadvantage for thousands of students with hearing, vision, physical and learning disabilities.
Learning technology is transforming the education system with impressive advances in information and communication technology (ICT). There is widespread optimism that educational technology can help create a level playing field for young people with disabilities, but the new report finds a significant lack of evidence of how these innovations are positioned to help children in low-income contexts. The report also notes that many teachers lack the training to use new technologies and are reluctant to do so.
Moreover, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Titles II and III of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) protect the rights of students with disabilities to equal access to education, but these laws do not provide clear guidelines to ensure that students with disabilities have access to technology that is central to the learning experience of the 21st century. In 2018 the Open University, the UK's largest academic institution and a pioneer in distance learning, conducted research to identify common processes of access to everyday support, including education, as a major burden on people with disabilities. Disclosure of disabilities and identification of needs proved to be particularly challenging.
What’s The Solution?
We at 247 Accessible Documents use technology to make lives better for people with disabilities. Our highly experienced team ensures that all learning content is accessible and comply with ADA and Section 508. Read our article on Accessible Textbooks to gain more perspective.
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