Archive for April, 2013

AccessU is Knowbility’s annual conference that provides three days of accessibility classes and workshops. As Austin begins to warm toward summer, there is no cooler place to be than with the passionate speakers and instructors for this May’s AccessU! How can you resist all these wonderful accessibility courses and workshops from the world’s best instructors?

This year, some of the highlighted speakers and topics include include:

  • Henny Swan from the BBC, who will focus on Mobile Accessibility
  • Shawn Lauriat from Google, who will help us take on accessibility challenges in Complex Web Applications
  • Molly E. Holzschlag from Knowbility, who will demystify the emerging Open Web Platform.

Be sure to check out the AccessU full course schedule to learn more about all of the fantastic presenters and content, as well as opportunities for socializing and networking during evening events.

AccessU keeps close to the heart of the ideologies of Open Web – that the Web we create must transcend the platforms, operating systems, browsers and most importantly – societal barriers imposed on anyone seeking access to the information and services we create every day. To do this well is a fine art as well as deep technology.

Come and join in for a great experience that will leave you with new learning, inspiration and passion for building the Web – the way the Web was meant to be!

Want to change education for the better? Even if you are not from Texas…I need your help! Please send an email to the Honorable Jimmie Don Aycock in support of HB 3586. (see sample letter at bottom of this post) Let’s make it loud and clear to the Texas Legislature that education needs to be accessible.

Call to Action:

Students with disabilities, who are served in Texas schools, need your help. Please consider writing a letter of support or position statement for HB 3586. This bill will help move our schools toward providing learning and assessment materials that can be accessed by all students in an equally effective manner.

HB 3586 was recently filed by Texas State Representative, Mark Strama to form an Accessible Learning Materials Council. This Council will:

  1. Study issues related to improving the academic success of students with disabilities using accessible learning materials for instruction and accommodations on assessment instruments that will allow use of assistive technology devices or software;
  2. Make recommendations to change existing requirements, law, rules, or policies to require that assistive technology and accessible learning materials be available for instruction and use in the administration of assessment instruments;
  3. Produce biennial reports on the status of providing accessible learning materials for public school students with disabilities, including accommodations used in the administration of assessment instruments; and
  4. Establish accessibility and procurement standards to provide accessible learning materials for students with disabilities that are as effective as materials and assessment instruments provided to students without disabilities.

Desired Outcome of Action:

Persuade members of the Public Education Committee to hold a hearing on HB 3586

Action Steps

  1. Write a letter or position statement in support of HB 3586. ( see sample letter below ) If writing on behalf of an organization, please use the organization’s letterhead.
  2. Address your letter or position statement to:
    Texas House Public Education Committee
    The Honorable Jimmie Don Aycock, Chairman
    jimmie.aycock@house.state.tx.us
    P.O. Box 2910
    Austin, TX 78768-2910
  3. Salutation should read:
    Dear Chairman Aycock and Members of the Texas House Public Education Committee:
  4. Provide your name, phone number, and email address at the bottom of your letter or position statement and sign it.
  5. Email your letter or position statement to the following members of the K-12 Accessibility workgroup so that they can take a copy of it to each member of the House Public Education Committee:

Sample HB 3586 Letter

To: Jimmie Don Aycock
cc: k12accessibility@gmail.com

Texas House Public Education Committee
The Honorable Jimmie Don Aycock, Chairman
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

Dear Chairman Aycock and Members of the Texas House Public Education Committee,

I positively support HB 3586 and its purpose of providing accessible and usable public school assessment materials for all students regardless of their abilities or disabilities. There is a definite gap in these services and students with disabilities are the only ones at a disadvantage. This has a real impact for successful independent lives.
Thank you in advance for working to pass this legislation.

Your name
Your phone number
Your email address

I just sent my own letter. I personalized it with information about my web accessibility experience and added my resume. If you are an expert in this field, you may want to use my email as your starting point:

Texas House Public Education Committee
The Honorable Jimmie Don Aycock, Chairman
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

Dear Chairman Aycock and Members of the Texas House Public Education Committee,

I positively support HB 3586 and its purpose of providing accessible and usable public school assessment materials for all students regardless of their abilities or disabilities. There is a definite gap in these services and students with disabilities are the only ones at a disadvantage. This has a real impact for successful independent lives.

As an expert in the field of web accessibility, I solemnly swear that this is a reasonable and achievable requirement for K-12 education. There are numerous lawsuits and settlements in higher education based on universities not providing equal access to digital resources. Act now before we get hit with a lawsuit.

I’ve attached my resume so you can verify my experience in web accessibility.

Thank you in advance for working to pass this legislation.

my name
my address
my phone number
my email address