By: Joe Rossignol (MacRumors Newsletter)

Apple announced that its Everyone Can Code curriculum is expanding to schools serving deaf, blind, or visually impaired students, starting with various locations in the United States in the fall.

Initial list of participating schools:

  • California School for the Blind (Fremont, CA)
  • California School for the Deaf (Fremont, CA)
  • District 75/Citywide Programs (New York, NY)
  • Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (St. Augustine, FL)
  • Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Winnetka, IL)
  • Perkins School for the Blind (Watertown, MA)
  • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Austin, TX)
  • Texas School for the Deaf (Austin, TX)

Everyone Can Code enables students of all ages to learn how to code with Apple’s open source programming language Swift. The curriculum involves the iPad app Swift Playgrounds, which lets students use real code to solve puzzles and control characters, and the iBooks course App Development with Swift.

Apple has tailored Everyone Can Code to work with Read the remainder of this entry »

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By:  Jenny Lay-Flurrie – Microsoft Chief Accessibility Officer

Today we celebrate the seventh annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day and announce new technology and resources for people with disabilities. The goal of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about accessibility. For us, it’s also about digging deep into how technology can empower the 1 billion people worldwide who have disabilities. Not only is it important that we do this for our customers and our employees, it’s also an exciting area for technology and innovation to drive incredible impact. In 2011, the World Health Organization changed the definition of disability to the result of a mismatch between what a person wants to achieve and the environment or society that he or she lives in. Technology can play a leading role in bridging the gap. It’s both exciting to think about the tremendous opportunity to empower and humbling to think about our responsibility to get it right.

Technology has human impact. It can empower people like Dan, a devoted gamer whose life was changed by an accident; Nori, who is passionate about Japanese culture and public speaking and has low vision; and Joseph, a first-year student who studies biology at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and is deaf.

While we live our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more every day, on GAAD we are pleased to be announcing the Xbox Adaptive Controller, a new technology to help more gamers game. We’re highlighting AI for Accessibility, which provides opportunities for Read the remainder of this entry »

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By Devindra Hardawar (Engadget)

One of Microsoft’s biggest announcements at Build this year is all about using artificial intelligence for social good. Through the new AI for Accessibility program, Microsoft has committed $25 million over the next five years to helping people with disabilities worldwide (a figure that currently sits at over one billion, according to The World Bank). Just like its AI for Earth initiative, which uses the technology for environmental innovations, the company will handle this program through investments, grants and expert assistance when necessary. And, as you’d expect, the AI solutions will also connect to Microsoft’s cloud services.

Specifically, Microsoft says the program will focus on accelerating the development of AI for Read the remainder of this entry »

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By Matthew Lynch (The Tech Edvocate)

The advances in technology could mean more for society than just new educational technology and virtual reality video games. People with disabilities are finding innovative ways to put artificial intelligence to work with their current conditions. As the science improves, assistive technology will continue producing new and improved platforms to help create a better standard of living for those individuals.
Are you interested in the myriad of ways that assistive technology is changing with the improved status of artificial intelligence? These four examples should give you a great idea of what’s possible when you integrate these two fields. Read the remainder of this entry »

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written by Steph Fiorelli (Promevo)

Google is committed to bringing the best tech to all their users, including users with disabilities. Through assistive technology on Chrome devices and G Suite, and by supporting accessibility-based Chrome extensions, Google is making sure that all are welcome and able to use their products. Here are some of the ways they do this.

Chrome OS Assistive Technology

Did you know that Chrome devices come pre-programmed with assistive tech features? To access them, go to your settings, scroll to the bottom, and press “Advanced”. Then continue to “Accessibility”, and finally click “Manage accessibility features”. Then you’ll be able to choose which settings you want to turn on.

Here are some features to make note of:

Enable ChromeVox

ChromeVox is a screen reader that uses text-to-speech technology to help people with vision loss or reading difficulties. In addition to reading the copy on a page, ChromeVox also describes special text formats(such as the number of columns and rows in a data table) and lets users move throughout a page with keyboard commands. This way users can move the cursor around a page, even if they can’t see it.

Android tablets come with a similar screen reader called TalkBack.

Display Options

Another way of making a screen experience better for Read the remainder of this entry »

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by Joe Rice-Jones (reprint from KnowTechie)

Any museum-goer knows the ubiquitous “Do not touch” signs. What if you could though, with the aid of VR technology?

Image: NeuroDigital Technologies

That’s what a small startup from Spain, NeuroDigital Technologies has created for an exhibit currently going on at the National Gallery of Prague. NeuroDigital has created a VR experience, not with a headset, but utilizing haptic gloves that they created in a successful Kickstarter in 2015.

 

They have created VR maps of three iconic sculptures, The Head of Nefertiti by Thutmose (1345 BC), Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch (101 BC) and

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By Zuzana Kozinova – (reprint from EmergintEdTech)

For generations, students have been expected to absorb huge amounts of information, sometimes by simply being lectured to. And while the variety of activities we see now in class has greatly increased and become more student-centered, we are still often lacking tangible artifacts of learning that students take away from class.

3D can transform lessons and learning

Making classes more engaging and interactive should be an essential part of the education process. The act of creation in schools is often rather limited. Very few schools teach students how to produce something entirely new with what they have learned in class. Students are often just passive consumers rather than active creators.

3D – whether we are talking about 3D printing, 3D modeling software, etc – can provide numerous benefits to both teachers and students. For teachers, using the 3D technologies can help seize students’ interest in new class subjects. It provides hands-on experience which makes it a great tool when trying to explain difficult concepts or structures

For students, it’s an exercise of imagination as well as

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By Luke Dormehl (Digital Trends)

As much as we love our shiny new iPhone X, when it comes to technology that really changes people’s lives, very little compares to tech that’s designed to help disabled people lead fuller, more active, more independent, or simply more dignified lives. Thanks to advances in robotics, materials engineering, artificial intelligence, and a broad range of other things, assistive tech has progressed in leaps and bounds over the past decade. Here are seven astonishing examples of what we’re talking about: Read the remainder of this entry »

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Robots Bring the Class to the Student

Posted March 17, 2018 By Lee Learson

By Michael Gagne, District Administration

These days, McKenna Smith is back in the classroom. She’s a high school student in Missouri’s Nixa Public Schools, but had been unable to attend classes since elementary school because of chemotherapy treatment.

But Smith didn’t miss as much interaction with teachers and classmates as she could have because she connected with them remotely—via robot.

The Double Robot resembles a Segway scooter with a tablet computer attached to the top of the neck. Last year, the robot helped Smith seemingly be in school, as shown on a YouTube video. https://www.doublerobotics.com/

The robot wheeled up and down the classroom, while Smith’s face appeared on-screen, with a camera below the display. The camera captured the classroom, teacher and other students, and allowed Smith to interact with the class in real time.

Virtual inclusion

Researchers at the University of California Irvine studied the Double Robot and what it called “virtual inclusion.” Being connected to peers through robots can Read the remainder of this entry »

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by Kaya Yurieff  (CNN Tech)

Apple wants emojis to better represent people with disabilities. In a proposal sent to the Unicode Consortium — the nonprofit organization that sets the global standard for emojis — the company is advocating for 13 new additions.

The proposed emojis include an ear with a hearing aid, a person in a wheelchair, a prosthetic arm, a service dog and a person with a cane.  “Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities,” Apple wrote in the proposal. “Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all.”

Apple (AAPL) said it chose options that are most inclusive to people in four main categories: blind and low vision, deaf and hard of hearing, physical motor disabilities and hidden disabilities. However, the company noted this is designed to be a starting point, not a comprehensive list of all potential disabilities.

Apple said it consulted with top organizations for people with disabilities, such as

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