Because of one of my majors is Special Education, I am more likely to look for tips that make easier to people with special needs, navigate in a website. So, I found these useful tips for accessibility:
1. Make a better choice of colors different to combine green and red together, especially on items like navigation bottoms. This will be useful for people with color blindness.
2. Use alternative text for images, which may not be longer than 5 to 15 words.
3. It is good to add links to text-only version; this is nice for people who use screen readers.
4. If you are going to use a video in your website, you can add captions or subtitles. This function will be very useful for deaf and hard of hearing.
5. Write clear and simple information instead of use jargon, which make it more accessible to everyone.
What not to do?
1. Don’t use animation, blinking texts or auto-loading sound.
2. Don’t put text over image backgrounds, it is too amateur!!!
3. Minimize clicking, Put as few clicks between your visitor and your information as possible.
4. Don’t use frames
5. Don’t use light text on light background, or dark text or dark background.
Section 508 standards provide information about federal regulations for any kind of electronic and information technology. As educators, we have the power to use the best resources in order to pull out the maximum achievement in our students, but how to do it without the accurate information? In our classroom we will have diverse learners, children who have different needs and interests, and technology will help us in our dairy labor of teaching. Here are 3 ways to ensure our students can access technology easily:
1- Getting information about software applications such as alternative keyboard navigation, useful for people with visual impairments who cannot rely on a mouse.
2- Most of verbal tags, graphics or frames are available in an accessible format, like HTML code.
3- Most of Multimedia products have captioning and audio description, which can be turn on or off according to the viewer.
All these resources apply to students with special needs.
Visit my website:
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Description: This is a website for foreign language teachers. Thedesign is o.k. It is very easy to navigate and features like colors and letters in different sizes make reading fun and light. About thecontent, this site provides activities like flashcards, games, worksheets and songs that help teachers to create amazing lessons for kids who are learning English, Spanish and even Korean. ESL-KIDS.com is free but also links with other sites even more structured, only for members. Regarding credibility, this page is sponsored by several organizations but the copyrights belong to one person. I could not find his contact information. I have used this site in the past because it is easy to find what I need for my lessons, and it’s great for accommodations. About technical elements, I can say that connection is quick, all links work and graphics download easy.
Description: This is a site for Math teachers, students and parents. Its design offers interactivity and it is really fun; good use of graphics and colors. The content is current and reliable. It is easy to navigate and provides contents for math P-K through eight grades, which are updated. Students can practice, understand concepts at their own pace, get feedback, and practice at home. For teachers is ideal since they can get a membership for their classrooms. For parents it is great since the company send every week a report of progress and time at work. About credibility, this site belongs to a company, which have another line of educational products; the contact information is available. I believe this site really meets the needs of the target audience. About technical elements, I found it runs fast in my computer, graphics download quickly; it is easy to follow even for little children because exercises have the audio mode.
We are always afraid about we don’t know and future is definitely unknown; that is why many people try desperately to grab the past, because is the only thing that brings them security. We can hear people saying: “Past time was always better”, or this one: “ Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense and the past perfect”, but the truth is that time runs forward and we have to move according to it, otherwise, we are taking the risk to be isolated in the past time.
I have a friend in Colombia, she is now 63 years old and she never touched a computer until her daughter came to live to the U.S.; she founded herself in the need to communicate in the distance and she learned how to use messenger, email and many other useful things. I mean, if my friend could everybody can!.
I believe the need makes us progress; slates were too little, so paper offered wider options; pencils were good and still are, but there are documents that should not be erased, so pens and ink were the solution. Nowadays, computers and Internet make our lives easier and their applications are infinite. It is our responsibility as educators get our students ready for the upcoming challenges, and in order to do that we have to be emotionally and technologically prepared. My plan for bridging the technology gap between “old school” and “new school” is to create in the students the need to learn, to propose them assignments which could be better developed using technology.
Friday, February 17, 2012
THIS IS TIME FOR COMMON SENSE
A good definition for Educational Technology seems to be “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources”. Based on this definition we could think in an endless list of technological resources that could be applied in order to raise the performance of our students in the classroom; so, my question is why are we framed with the idea that technology is nothing more than computers and smart boards?
It seems that the more resources we have at our service the less creative we became. It is time for educators to be professionals researching, testing and improving our techniques based on the student’s needs.
My struggle is for rescuing the older technology that not because is passé it necessary means that is useless. I am going to try to make my point taking the radio as an example. For those that belong to the “guava” generation that means people born between 50’s and 60’s, the radio was the major entertainment. Family members used to sit around the radio after dinner for listening news, announcements, music and full cast programs, which narrated the most amazing and exciting stories. During this “happy hour”, children were developing several skills as listening, visualization, anticipation, critical thinking, imagination, but beyond all this benefits the main profit was developing feelings of belonging, unity and love, nurtured just by the fact to share in family.
In this modern world, children are over stimulated with so many T.V programs, electronic advertisements, video games and Internet. For nobody is a secret the increment of the rate of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) during the last twenty years and then, paradoxically, educators and parents are looking for the ultimate method for the treatment of this disorders in the same source that overwhelmed them.
I invite my colleagues in Education to be critical thinkers, to be lead by the common sense and more important to be responsible, creative and professional at the moment to choose technological resources.
Here are some links related with technology advantages and disadvantages.