“Access to technology is a critical component for success …. Children who can access information via technology are at an advantage, and can better succeed in school. For kids with disabilities, the need for technology is even greater. Computers with appropriate technology can level the playing field, allowing kids with disabilities to compete fairly with their non-disabled peers.” Center for Accessible Technology https://www.cforat.org/
The Children & Technology committee of ALSC is partnering with other ALSC groups to provide more information about accessible technology. To begin, I’d like to suggest that you take a moment to view some resources on accessibility. The timing is right – May 16 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.
One way to participate in Global Accessibility Awareness Day is to take an hour to experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (or lack thereof). https://globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org/participate.php
- Learn about and use other OS accessibility features
The Windows 10 Operating System has a number of built-in accessibility features, as does the Mac Operating System. iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry devices also have accessibility features. Take an hour to explore what these are and try them out on the Web. In the case of mobile devices, why not try using some of your favorite apps with different accessibility features enabled.
- Try other adaptive software tools
The Adaptech Research Network has a library of free or inexpensive software that is useful to people with disabilities. Why not try one or more of them?
- Go mouseless for an hour
Go ahead and unplug your mouse and only use your keyboard alone (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) to navigate and interact with your favorite websites and applications. If you use a touchpad, trackpad or similar input method, disable it, and use the keyboard instead.
- Research the accessibility features of your library’s children’s area technology
Related to activity #1, look at the built-in accessibility features of AWE computers, tablets, Playaways, children’s computers, and so on. If you can’t find them, perhaps it is worth a call to the company or the support line.
- Choose a webinar to learn more about digital accessibility
Choose from those available at CforAT or another similar organization. https://tinyurl.com/y3obao9w
Elizabeth Gray manages technology at Yolo County Library in northern California and is a member of the ALSC Children & Technology committee. www.yolocountylibrary.org