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USA: Most K-12 Online Learning Content Does Not Meet Needs of Students with Disabilities
Online education is growing rapidly, reaching millions of students every day. However, a Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities at the University of Kansas study has found the majority of online educational products are not designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities and struggling learners. Sean J. Smith, professor of special education and a co-principal investigator with the center, has authored “Invited In: Measuring UDL in Online Learning.” The report analyzes how six popular vendors of online learning products meet the principles of Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, the concept that education should be designed to meet the needs of all students. It also provides a tool that K-12 school districts across the country can use to evaluate online education programs they are using or considering for their students.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/13/most-k-12-online-learning-content-does-not-meet-needs-of-students-with-disabilities/, April 14, 2016

Google.org Pledges $20 Million to Support Disability Technologies
The World Health Organization estimates 1 billion people across the world live with disabilities, and Google's philanthropy division, Google.org, just pledged $20 million to help improve their situations. The money is spread across 29 programs working on disability technologies -- the average amount they'll each receive is $750,000, with six of the grant winners getting more than $1 million, Wired reports.
From http://www.engadget.com/2016/04/12/google-org-20-million-disability-technologies/, April 13, 2016

Gamification in Citizen Participation
Before getting your hands dirty with building a citizen participation program, rethink why citizens would participate nota bene. Understanding the motivations and motives of citizens correctly leads to a more effective participation policy. One of the instruments to increase civic engagement is called gamification. By bringing a more competitive and fun character to your next crowdsourcing project, the engagement rate can be significantly higher.
From http://citizenlab.co/blog/civic-engagement/gamification-in-citizen-participation/, April 13, 2016

Internet of Things Technology & Application Market Worth $1,423 Billion by 2020
According to a new market research report “Internet of Things Technology & Application Market by Communication Technology (ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, RFID), Application Vertical (Building Automation, Consumer, Wearable Electronics, Industrial, Automotive & Transportation, Agriculture) & Geography - Global Trends & Forecasts to 2014 - 2020” published by MarketsandMarkets, the value of Internet of Things market was worth $1029.5 billion in 2013, and is expected to reach $1423.09 billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 4.08% from 2014 to 2020.
From https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/internet-things-technology-application-market-worth-142309-p, April 13, 2016

Juniper: Expect Contactless Payments to Surge
Contactless payments from smartphones and wearables is still a small segment of the payments market, but might see a surge in usage over the next two years, according to Juniper Research. The research firm predicts the value of the smartphone and wearable contactless payments to rise from $35 billion to $95 billion in 2018. Juniper claims that smartphones will account for the vast majority of non-card contactless payments, asserting that “while nearly nine million Apple Watches had been shipped by the end of 2015, these numbers were dwarfed by near field communication (NFC)-capable iPhones.”
From http://readwrite.com/2016/04/12/apple-google-contactless-payments-growth-juniper-vm4, April 13, 2016

Proposal for a Directive on the European Accessibility Act
The European Commission made a proposal for a directive on a European Accessibility Act, which will set common accessibility requirements for certain key products and services, and will help people with disabilities at EU level to participate fully in society. The EESC is currently preparing an opinion on the Commission's proposal . On 13 April 2016, the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) will hold a public hearing in conjunction with the work on this opinion. The conclusions of the hearing will feed directly into the work of the drafting group which will hold its second meeting in the afternoon of the same day.
From http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.events-and-activities-eu-accessibility-act, April 13, 2016

World Health Day: Countries Making Strides in Disability Rights and Where They Need to Improve
To mark World Health Day, Barney Cullum of the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity explores how different corners of the world are faring on accessibility and disability rights.
From http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/world-health-day-countries-making-strides-in-disability-rights-and-where-they-need-to-improve-uk-a6971661.html?platform=hootsuite, April 08, 2016

Seeing AI: New Technology Research to Support the Blind and Visually Impaired Community
Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, which includes creating and delivering technology for people of all abilities. As a part of this effort, last week at the Microsoft Build Conference, we debuted a new research project in development – Seeing AI – aimed at helping people who are visually impaired or blind to understand more about who and what is around them. Seeing AI will use computer vision, image and speech recognition, natural language processing and machine learning from Microsoft’s Cognitive Services and Office Lens to help describe a person’s surroundings, read text, answer questions and even identify emotions on people’s faces.
From https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/accessibility/2016/04/07/seeing-ai/, April 08, 2016

"Inclusive Design is an Innovation Tool"
With the world’s population ageing, we investigate how adopting inclusive design principles can increase profits for companies. According to the World Health Organisation, around 22 per cent of the global population will be older than 60 by 2050. In Britain alone, the Office for National Statistics predicts that more than 29 million people will be 60 or over by 2032. As ageing causes a decrease in our physical, cognitive and sensory capabilities, this adds up to a lot of customers either excluded from or having difficulty using products and services ranging from new technologies to public transport.
From http://eandt.theiet.org/magazine/2016/03/inclusive-design.cfm, April 08, 2016

USA: JPMorgan Chase Kicks Off New Conference Accessibility Initiative
JPMorgan Chase & Co, in collaboration with the World Institute on Disability (WID), today launches its Conference Accessibility Initiative. Through this initiative, 10 of the largest community development and civil rights conferences in the United States, including the NAACP, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Housing Conference, National Urban League and the Corporation for Economic Development, will for the first time, be fully inclusive of people with disabilities and enable them to both attend and fully participate in conference sessions.
From http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160323006438/en/JPMorgan-Chase-Kicks-Conference-Accessibility-Initiative, April 04, 2016

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