Integrating Accessibility to Create a More Equitable Classroom
Published on Oct 12, 2021 by Jess Reider
How teachers can utilize technology to create a more equitable classroom environment for students with disabilities.
For many students with disabilities – both visible and invisible – the implementation of new technologies can be a phenomenal tool in bridging the gaps between learning and accessibility. However, not all sites and tools are developed with these users in mind and some can be difficult or impossible for them to utilize. Incorporating tools and digital assets that support students with disabilities is one way you can ensure your classroom is a more equitable space.
While understanding disabilities and how to address them in an educational setting may seem daunting, small changes can lead to big impacts on learning. Classrooms and curriculum can embrace accessibility in several ways:
- Evaluating Course Content – Evaluate the accessibility of digital documents with tools like Grackle. Programs such as this scan documents for accessibility issues including missing alt-text for visual components, lack of color contrast, text alignment, and more.
- Learner Specific Needs - Focus on specific learner needs and give students options that reflect their varied capabilities. Create parameters for assignments that allow the use of accessibility-friendly programs and tools such as speech-to-text dictation or writing supports like Apple’s Typing Feedback or Microsoft Editor.
- Linking to Accessible Content - Be sure to always share accessible video content. When providing students with video-based materials, ensure they contain closed captioning and transcripts or the option to turn them on.
- Keep Mobility in Mind - When working on the layout of your physical classroom space, take note of any spaces that may be inaccessible to students with different physical abilities. Do your best to set up materials in easy-to-access places, minimize travel distances across the room, account for how physical disabilities may impact a student’s timeliness, and provide some extra time or an early start when necessary.
For more on increasing accessibility in your classroom, check out these articles: