Topic 1 What does accesibility and inclusion refer to?

Within this topic, we aim to offer the readers a more concrete perspective on the limits of the accessibility and inclusion theme as it is approached within the DigCompEdu Framework.

The topic is the first of the series of learning items approaching the first main theme of the Learner Empowerment module, which is Accessibility and Inclusion.

Distinctions and Overlaps

Accessibility: addresses discriminatory aspects related to equivalent adult learners with disabilities. Web accessibility means that learners with disabilities can equally perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with websites and tools. It also means that they can contribute equally without barriers.

Inclusion: is about diversity, and ensuring involvement of everyone to the greatest extent possible. In some regions this is also referred to as universal design and design for all. It addresses a broad range of issues including:

⮚accessibility for people with disabilities;

⮚access to and quality of hardware, software, and Internet connectivity;

⮚computer literacy and skills;

⮚economic situation;

⮚education;

⮚geographic location;

⮚culture;

⮚age, including older and younger people;

⮚language.

Accessibility includes:

⮚Requirements that are technical and relate to the underlying code rather than to the visual appearance. For example, they ensure that websites work well with assistive technologies. This includes screen readers that read aloud content, and screen magnifiers that enlarge content. Voice recognition software used to input text is another form of assistive technology. These aspects are typically not a focus of usability research and practice.

⮚Selecting classroom apps that have sole purpose of ensuring accessibility in using other apps and tools by the disabled (such as “magnifier glass” apps) or by the culturally impaired (such as translator apps).

⮚Requirements that relate to learner interaction and visual design. Inadequate design can cause significant barriers for learners with disabilities. That is why they are included. For example, understandable instructions and feedback for website forms and applications is good usability. They also help learners with cognitive and learning disabilities. Without such requirements, some learner with disabilities may be excluded from using the Web.

What is Web Accessibility

Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can:

⮚perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web

⮚contribute to the Web

Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including:

⮚auditory

⮚cognitive

⮚neurological

⮚physical

⮚speech

⮚visual

Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities, for example:

⮚people using mobile phones, smart watches, smart TVs, and other devices with small screens, different input modes, etc.

⮚older people with changing abilities due to ageing

 Here we have a short video on web accessibility “Web Accessibility: Essential for some, useful for all“ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f31oufqFSM

Below we have a list of articles and links from the UNICEF website, talking about the use of technology for making education accessible to everyone:

⮚Innovation Fund Graduate eKitabu move to final round of Sign On For Literacy prize competition held by All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD)

Making Technology Work for Everyone: Interview with Disability Activist and Entrepreneur Fred Ouko

GlobalSymbols.com: UNICEF Innovation Fund’s work on open symbol sets for greater communication

Making Digital Learning Accessible For All Children in Kenya: Reflections from UNICEF Kenya on a universal textbook

Accessibility Cohort Gathering: Companies work together to build an accessibility ecosystem

Write down a list of technology items that you use in your teaching activities. How would not using them impact your classroom activities?

This topic was an introduction to the first theme of the Empowering Learners chapter of the DigCompEdu Framework – Accessibility and Inclusion. Within it we have presented the definition of accessibility and of inclusion, approaching the ways in which they can be discerned from one another.

Also, in the context of an ever-increasing online activity, we have presented a series of special characteristics of web accessibility.

Finally, we have included a series of UNICEF articles on how to use technology in making education accessible to everyone.