This past Thursday Meg Wilson shared her wealth of knowledge, specifically regarding accessibility and designing for everyone to our EDT 517 class. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the live session, but I just watched the recording. She discussed how assistive technology has helped her hear the stories of all of her learners.
Meg graciously shared her experiences with assistive technology. Her favorite centered around her good friend, Sadie. Sadie is passionate about editing film. She was so quick to pick up editing skills that she easily moved up to creating films with Final Cut Pro. She uses Final Cut Pro to share her journey and experiences. Together, Sadie and Meg became problem solvers with the help of technology. They were able to utilize tech to truly transform Sadie’s learning experiences.
Meg also shared a video of Sadie from an Apple event that was extremely powerful that highlights the assistive technology Sadie and others utilize to make their lives more efficient and allow them to ignite their passions!
Which is powerfully stated by Sadie at the end of the clip: “When technology is designed for everyone, it lets anyone do what they love”
Meg also mentioned Todd Rose’s book the “End of Average”. I haven’t read his book yet, but I did have the opportunity to hear Todd speak at iNacol last year. The main theme of Todd’s book and speech is that we need to think outside of the average learning experience. There is no average student. Our learners have so many needs and there are resources such as ESpark that can help teachers find the best apps for each learner.
The idea of designing for everyone has us looking at the margins and pushing ourselves to hit those margins. When we do this, we will hit everyone in between. If we design for the average, we actually hit no one. We should be looking through the lens of – if this accessibility feature helps one student, what can it do for others!
Meg also shared a few of her favorite features
1. Accessibility Shortcuts in the Control Center- quick access to these features in iOS11
2. Even simple things like the picture within picture zoom- can help visually impaired learners but can also be a wonderful presentation tool to help and guide all readers.
3. Smart Invert: Keeps video and photos and just keeps the inverted color around it.
4. VoiceOver- World’s first gesture-based screen reader
5. Alex Voice- natural intonation
6. Braille screen input
7. Siri- reminders, manages calendars, but Siri also empowers students to organize and manage their days.
8. Screen Recording/ Screenshot functionality- new ways to teach and guide learners
I truly learned so much from Meg and her vast experience and knowledge regarding assistive tech. It definitely has me looking at technology in so many new ways to help our learners!