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This is the "Assistive Technology" page of the "UDL-Universe: A Comprehensive Universal Design for Learning Faculty Development Guide" guide.
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UDL-Universe: A Comprehensive Universal Design for Learning Faculty Development Guide  

Last Updated: Jan 31, 2018 URL: http://udluniverse.v1.libguides.com/udl Print Guide RSS Updates

Assistive Technology Print Page

UDL and Assistive Technology

Assistive technology (AT) is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for individuals with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. AT promotes greater independence by enabling individuals to perform tasks they were formerly unable to accomplish, or could only do so with great difficulty, by providing enhanced methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish certain tasks.

Likewise, disability advocates point out that technology is often created without regard to people with disabilities, creating unnecessary barriers to hundreds of millions of people. Even those who develop technology-based assistive supports still argue that universal design is preferable to the need for AT and that universal design projects and concepts should be continuously expanded.  UDL stresses the best possible design, resulting in little or no need for AT accommodations.


Demonstration of Screenreader Use


Faculty Developer Tips

The goal of EnACT~PTD is to help faculty understand how Universal Design for Learning supports assistive technology use by students with disabilities. Emphasis is first place on Level 1 of the EnACT~PTD UDL Pyramid (below), where faculty gain a firm understanding of the principles of UDL and making relevant course changes. Then, faculty add technology components, tools, or resources to a course.  In doing so, faculty should be aware of accessibility related benefits and challenges. Finally, there is increased faculty awareness of assistive technologies and how they are used by some students with disabilities.  Faculty members are not expected to become experts regarding assistive technology but should understand how the resources they develop or implement in their courses can be crafted in a way that best supports assistive technology users.

Screen Reader Demos

  • Victor Tsaran: An Introduction to Screen Readers (27 mins)
    In this video from 2007, Yahoo! Accessibility Program Manager Victor Tsaran shows us the core functionality of screen readers and how they interact with the desktop, then demonstrates how he uses them to explore and understand web sites, how sites are “linearized”, and how using semantic markup to build sites supports accessible navigation and usability.
  • Videos of screen readers using ARIA (14 videos)
    Recordings of screen readers using web page components that do and do not make use of WAI-ARIA can be a good educational resource for why ARIA is important to accessibility. A collection of such video collated by Zoe Mickley Gillenwater.
  • Understanding the purpose of using image alt-text (3 mins)
    Quick tutorial on how to provide alt text for different sorts of images in such a way that people using assistive technologies will be able to understand the purpose of the image.
  • Order of Content (3 mins)
    Emily Coward from Nomensa demonstrates the importance of making sure the order of content on a website is logical to ensure that it makes sense when it’s read through from top to bottom by someone using a screen reader.
  • Designing for All in a Web 2.0 World
    A presentation given at the Future of Web Design, London 2009. Robin Christopherson uses a screen reader and selection of websites with varying levels of text and multimedia content to give some demonstrations of good and bad practice in terms of accessibility compliance.

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