By Kyle Shachmut
SEPTEMBER 09, 2013
The Braille terminal is one type of aid for visually impaired computer users.
AS STUDENTS return to school this fall, most will find a plethora of new technologies and virtual environments, on which their institutions have been spending millions of dollars to bring into the classroom. Yet many of these resources will be needlessly discriminatory. What would happen if an institution constructed a new state-of-the-art building but neglected to make it accessible to the disabled? People would rightly be outraged. Yet even as new technology-rich environments revolutionize the classroom, few make provision for people who are blind, dyslexic, or otherwise print-disabled.
Just like buildings, digital resources can be made accessible to all through good design and planning. Electronic resources should be inherently accessible; for most people, the zeroes and ones that make up digital content are translated for display on screens, but the same information can be transmitted audibly or connected to an accessory that puts it into Braille. Mainstream touchscreen devices like the iPad and iPhone are fully accessible to blind users right out of the box.