Some thoughts on using mobile devices in education and ADA Compliance:
I recently received an email regarding ADA compliance policies and our LMS (Learning Management System), which is Blackboard. It seems that Arizona State University is being sued regarding the non-accessibility of the Kindle eReader, which had been used to deliver course content.
Fortunately, I am not responsible for setting policy. But, it occurred to me that the smart devices that I had been “playing with” recently did not appear to be ADA compliant. Shows you what I know, because it was quickly pointed out to me that both the iPhone and iPad had various accessibility features already built-in.
Barbara Schroeder, at Boise State, pointed out the following iPhone Accessibility page:
Here is the iPad Accessibility page:
I was not aware of any of these features, but have just tried out the “VoiceOver” and “Triple-click Home” items.
As I started to think about it, I realized that developing processes for producing mobile content and delivering mobile content were already addressing issues of ADA Compliance.
ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF POSTING TO A BLOG
I’m not sure of how easy it is to use the blog editing screen for WordPress from a screen reader, but here are some thoughts for creating postings initially:
If you can use MS Word 2007, then you can create a blog entry and post it directly via Word.
If you can create email, you can “publish via email.”
TEXT TO SPEECH
I tried the ODIOGO service out sometime ago and thought that it worked very well. This service will create mp3 audio versions of your text blogs in “near human speech.” Once set up, it does this “on the fly,” so all you have to do is post a text blog and ODIOGO does the rest.
WordPress.com already has a mobile aware theme, that recognizes when a viewer is accessing a site via a mobile device, and formats the content for easy delivery to that device.
BRAILLE DISPLAY / NOTE TAKER
I’m not sure of how many thousands of dollars the following “high tech” Braille device costs, but it does have a “slick” look and purports the ability to be connected to a PC and a smart device simultaneously with Bluetooth and USB connectivity options.
Braille display or Braille note taker for “…sending and receiving text messages and e-mails, browsing a contact list, reviewing appointments, creating spreadsheets and surfing the web, all in Braille.”
Approximate cost $5,700 from one vendor.