Session: Workshop 84
Terry opened the session with some statistics on the number of differently abled people in the UK before introducing the work of TechDis.
TechDis provides inclusion technology advice on technologies available to post-sixteen education. They try to identify user needs and understand them better.
The accessibility maturity model is based on a continuum from luck – tokenism – specialism – standards – ownership – partnership, and is used to help organisations reduce their level of risk. Accessibility shouldn’t be regarded as a bolt on, it is part of the planning process.
Student with disabilities tend to get lower grades due to their disabilities, TechDis tries to tackle this unfairness. But some disabilities can be very complex and students with disabilities don’t necessarily declare them. Students cannot expect their tutors alone to have all the answers ready for them, it helps to have students directly supported by additional materials.
TechDis extend their work into the community by using the web 2.0 blogging network to circulate information and they want people to share their stories using the #techdis tag. They also use social media curation tools such as scoopit.
Why is there only one Stephen Hawkings? We need to disseminate less high profile accessibility success stories.
Terry introduced a workshop activity that required participants to score an OER of their choice using an accessibility checklist. While many of the points on the checklist were not relevant to all OERs, the checklist raised questions that many participants had not previously considered.
UKOER successes are deeply buried in the project reports because no one took the time to make them explicit. Why is this? Do people think accessibility is boring? The accessibility benefits of many resources are also hidden. There is a lack of paradata about resources for students with disabilities. All resources need to expose a clear value for accessibility. Making OERs accessible is not just the responsibility of the creator of the resource, it’s also the responsibility of those that maintain distribution platforms. There is a great need to support accessible services and platforms. Simple things can make a big difference and there are many freely available tools that can help.
Accessibility is a relationship, there are lots of different models for dealing with it – medical model, one size fits all, individualisation. Different users need different resources in different contexts. This is not just applicable to education.