By Zahavit Paz, Co-founder and Chairperson of LD Resources Foundation.
Presented at the 12th Annual Accessing Higher Ground: Accessible Media,Web and Technology Conference.
November 13th 2009 panel, “From Clay Tablets to the Kindle – implications of the new e-book technology (in particular, it's implications for accessibility)”
Accessing Higher Ground focuses on the implementation and benefits of Assistive Technology and Accessible Media in the university and college setting. Other topic areas cover legal and policy issues, including ADA and Section 508 compliance. The creation of accessible media and information resources, including Web pages and library resources are a particular focus of the event.
The development of Technology and Assistive devices
In the last 20 years, the advancement of the personal computer and other technologies has changed the way most people live, work, shop and communicate. The Internet has changed the world. We have more access to millions of documents, which, before, were inaccessible. The Internet has connected Americans to sources of information throughout the world in a matter of nanoseconds.
It has also helped in U.S. politics. In 2008, all the American Presidential candidates have used the Internet to raise over a billion US dollars to fund their campaigns and to get their message across. The Internet, and cell phones, smart phones such as the I-phone and Blackberry can now communicate and market campaign information in the United States and around the world.
In colleges, many students are required to upload their assignments from their college website, and email the completed questions and assignments to their professors. They also work on assignments with distant peers. Some universities started to use E-readers such as Kindle DX to upload their textbooks.
With this increasing reliance on technological developments, no adult with a reading disability “should be left in the technological dark.” Assistive technology is affordable and should be accessible to everyone.
Thanks to assistive technology and the rapid development of Assistive devices, the literacy needs of people with learning disabilities can be met, because everyone can and should have access to the information they need!
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