USA: Department of Education Announces New Effort to Strengthen Accountability for Students with Disabilities
The Department of Education announced new steps to help close the achievement gap for students with disabilities by moving away from a one-size-fits-all, compliance-focused approach to a more balanced system that looks at how well students are being educated in addition to continued efforts to protect their rights. While the Department has effectively ensured access to educational resources for students with disabilities, not enough attention has been paid to educational outcomes, which have not sufficiently improved. This is partly due to the fact that federal policy has focused more on procedural requirements and not enough on critical indicators like increasing academic performance or graduation rates for students with disabilities.
From http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/department-announces-new-effort-strengthen-accountability-students-disabilities, March 21, 2012
India: Government to Set Up Online Braille Library
Using technology to empower the physically challenged, government has set up an Online Braille Library to make books and reading material in digital format accessible to visually impaired persons.
From http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-03-15/education/31196226_1_nivh-empowerment-minister-mukul-wasnik-books, March 19, 2012
TechNews: iPads Changing the Way Children Learn Today
There are thousands of videos on Youtube today that illustrate the bewildering intuition that young children seem to display when using iPads. They multitask between apps and interact with them in a way that leaves people stunned that infantile companions can get from app A to app B faster than adults can.
From http://betakit.com/2012/03/17/ipads-changing-the-way-children-learn-today, March 19, 2012
TechNews: Sony Unveils Touchless Smartphone Display
A smartphone that allows users to browse the web by hovering a finger above links they would normally touch has been unveiled by the Japanese electronics giant Sony. The firm describes the technology as a "floating touch" user-interface.
From http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17367993, March 15, 2012
European Commission’s “EDEN Awards” will Support Accessible Tourism Destinations in Europe
The European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) has welcomed the initiative of the European Commission for choosing “Accessible Tourism Destinations” as this year’s theme for the European Destinations of Excellence Awards. A Call for Proposals invites National Tourism Authorities in EU Member States and associated countries to organise competitions to select the best small, “non traditional” destinations that provide an outstanding offer for tourists regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. “Non traditional” is defined as a destination where the visitor density rating is from “low” to “very low” in comparison with the national average.
From http://www.accesstourismnz.org.nz/, March 15, 2012
USA: Sprint Launches Mobile Accessibility App for Free to Android Users with Visual Disabilities
Sprint announced today at the 27th annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference, hosted by California State University Northridge (CSUN), that it has officially launched a free downloadable application providing easier access to an Android smartphone’s functionality for customers who are blind or have low vision. Developed by Code Factory, the full suite of Mobile Accessibility features is being offered by Sprint under the name “Wireless Accessibility,” at no charge through the Android Market to Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile USA customers.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/03/01/sprint-launches-mobile-accessibility-app-for-free-to-android-users-with-visual-disabilities/, March 14, 2012
YouTube Makes Captioning More Accessible for Viewers with Hearing Disabilities
Millions of people enjoy viral videos each day, but some people aren’t getting the jokes — and it’s not for a lack of humor, either. Because many videos on YouTube do not include closed captioning, deaf viewers can be left out. But thanks to a new change at YouTube, more hard-of-hearing people will be able to indulge in the wealth of online videos. The video sharing site enabled caption support in 2006, but it announced Tuesday options that make user-uploaded videos more accessible for those who rely on closed captioning, with new languages, search options, and settings for video text.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/02/29/youtube-makes-captioning-more-accessible-for-viewers-with-hearing-disabilities/, March 14, 2012
Canada: Innovative Designs for Accessibility Competition Organized by COU to Make Ontario More Accessible
Ontario University students are being challenged to put their creative minds to work to develop solutions that will make the world more accessible for people with disabilities, including new IDeAs for devices, software, architectural design, awareness campaigns, or policies. The Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) competition is being organized by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), in partnership with the Government of Ontario. The province-wide initiative is being overseen by the IDeA Working Group, comprised of representatives from engineering and design Faculties at several Ontario universities.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/02/28/innovative-designs-for-accessibility-competition-organized-by-cou-to-make-ontario-more-accessible/, March 14, 2012
Chinese Vice Premier Urges Equal Access for People with Disabilities
Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has called for equal access for people with disabilities to participate in the social life and to enjoy the benefits of the country’s development. Efforts should be made to narrow the gap in living standard between people with disabilities and the average people in the society, Hui said.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/03/01/chinese-vice-premier-urges-equal-access-for-people-with-disabilities/, March 14, 2012
USA: Tulane Engineering Students Invent Devices to Help Children with Disabilities
Because of a neurological condition called ataxia, Bennett Curran, 8, likes to hold the back of a kitchen chair and rock back and forth. But if the chair rocks too far, it tips over and Bennett tumbles to the floor. On Saturday, Bennett was able for the first time to climb onto his own rocking system, painted black with gold fleurs-de-lis and custom-built for him by a team of four students from Tulane University’s biomedical engineering department.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/03/05/tulane-engineering-students-invent-devices-to-help-children-with-disabilities/, March 14, 2012