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Week Three- Accessibility

Week Three- Accessibility

Task 1: Write a short portfolio post on where your platform meets or falls short of accessibility guidelines. Remember that in many instances this will reflect decisions made at your institution, but there are also practices you could adopt. There are some elements (like using alt text) that you won’t be able to evaluate without administrator access. In your blog post, comment on what would be the most effective change you, your institution, or the platform provider could make to support accessibility.

Our school uses a variety of platforms to connect with students digitally. We use a student management system to share feedback on assignments, assessment and attendance data and even to share files and instructional materials. Overall, this platform is not very accessible, and it doesn’t allow teachers to customize the experience for their students. There is not a way to add captions to images that we share through the platform, and things like data on student performance are often hard to find, much less interpret, as tables and charts are not always accompanied by text commentary, much less audio or video explanations of how to read student information.

More frequently I find myself using the Google Suite platform for connecting with students. Our school is a “Google school” in that all students have access to a Google account, and therefore access to the apps associated with the platform. I use Google Classroom as a primary way of sharing feedback and materials with my students and find that this tool allows me to have all of my students access the platform, while giving me some freedom as to how I post my material.

Thinking about the POUR accessibility checklist developed by Glenda from Blog Accessibility 101, using the Google has allowed me to make a lot of material accessible to my students. Here are some of my thoughts on how accessible my practice using the Google Apps suite has been: 


I find that I like to include images in a lot of the Google Docs and Slides I use. For many, I have accompanying text as a caption (or in the speaker notes section of the slides), but this is a relatively new thing for me, and something I only added in recently, as students asked me to explain the images through text. The platform allows for this though, which is great.

I also use the Youtube product from Google quite a bit, and I like that it generates automatic captions. I have not ever provided students with a transcript of the videos, but after a quick search, it seems fairly easy to generate one, (at least according to this website here) and I will be including transcripts alongside each video I make or post from now on.

I also love that I can write text based suggestions on student work, or embed audio clips of my feedback into student work through a number of different extensions, like talkandcomment, so that students can access my feedback in multiple ways. Students can also make use of extensions like readandwrite to help them get audio access to the material when accessing text based Google Docs. For many of my students Google Doc’s voice typing function allows them to easily interact with the material orally as well, which is something that has been a huge help in improving the accessibility of many of my assignments. 


Operable and Understandable:

I really like the simple, intuitive nature of Google’s products when working with Middle School children. Navigating through a Google Site, Google Doc or Google Classroom is typically something that can be done with very few clicks or scrolls, and it is easy for the creator to make sure that they use headings, subheadings and clear text links to help make it easy for the user to navigate through material.

There are many times when I wish that as the creator I could easily make more substantial changes to things like layout when using these products, but the very simplistic nature of how they are set up also means that it is easy for students to navigate through the material with very little coaching. 

That being said, because there are so many links posted on a typical Google Classroom stream, this might be a challenging format for someone using an alternative method of accessing the content. I wonder how navigating through a webpage that has many different tabs would be for someone who isn’t able to use a mouse or touchpad, and would be interested in seeing whether this platform would be a worthwhile one to continue using if my students had these needs.

I think that one way to improve my use of the Google platform will be to provide a “TLDR” section to any longer posts or materials I am going to ask my students to interact with. A summary of the most important information will be a help for many of my students, and a worthwhile exercise for me in clarifying for myself and my students the essential learning that I would like them to take away from interacting with longer pieces of material.



My students access the Google Suite of applications in a variety of ways, from tablets to mobile devices to PC and Mac computers. I find that there is a lot of accessibility when it comes to most of the Google Suite, although I do find that Mac IOS devices sometimes have issues accessing some features of certain applications- especially the web site development function of the Google Sites application. That being said, I am satisfied with how well Google’s products perform across different kinds of devices.

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