Of Sight and Sound: How Technology Helps Impaired Students

Technology in universities have an overall positive effect on accessibility, and for some students, that means more than just having fewer books to carry.

  • 1/3 of disabled youth attend some kind of postsecondary school in the United States.

  • People with hearing or visual impairments were more likely to attend college.

  • About 1/4 of disabled students receive no accommodations from their university.

Many technologies respond to the needs of the impaired, offering university textbooks with a variety of tools on common handheld devices. While some books are scanned images of the pages, others are fully digital text with variable font size and text-to-speech capabilities.

Google's app store is adding academic books in addition to their already popular ones. (Photo Source: Wesley Fryer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/)

Google’s app store to add academic books in addition to their already popular selection of literature. (Photo Source: Wesley Fryer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/)

In spite of all this technologies, problems of inaccessibility still persist. Recently, a blind student in Louisiana was unable to access the online materials for a course and was forced to withdraw. Fortunately, the Justice Department ruled that universities cannot buy material that is not available to all students.

We at Scholar Hero only hope that both technology and policies continue to move towards total accessibility for all students. Nothing should stand in the way of an equal education for all.

Powerful tools for the disabled student. (Photo Source: Yutaka Tsutano http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivyfield/)

Powerful tools for the disabled student. (Photo Source: Yutaka Tsutano http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivyfield/)

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/09/google-play-adds-digital-textbooks-for-rent-and-purchase/

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/29/disabled

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/26/settlements-put-colleges-duty-ensure-blind-students-access-materials-under-new

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

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