From liability to opportunity: Ensuring web accessibility through technology leadership and teacher education

ID: 54156 Type: Brief Paper
  1. Natalie Shaheen, Towson University, United States
  2. Sarah Lohnes Watulak, Middlebury College, United States

Tuesday, March 19 3:00-3:20 PM

Presider:
Vivian Intatano, Raja Soliman Science and Technology High School, Philippines

Over the last several years, the attention of technology leaders in numerous districts has been unexpectedly diverted from emerging technologies to district websites in order to respond quickly to complaints filed against them with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Since 2014, over 2,400 complaints have been filed against local and state education agencies alleging disability discrimination due to the inaccessibility of their websites (Keierleber, 2018). This presentation will report the findings pertaining to web accessibility from a larger qualitative study, which examined the process by which five districts implemented technology accessibility policy. The findings reveal (1) the barriers to accessible K-12 websites, (2) the approaches that districts have taken to improve the accessibility of their websites, and (3) how districts’ views of accessibility have shifted over time. The presentation will argue that web accessibility should be incorporated into the preservice and inservice training of educators and technology leaders so these professionals can leverage their district’s websites as an opportunity to reiterate their commitment to equity and inclusion. Specific recommendations of how web accessibility can be incorporated into teacher training will be offered.

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