Published On: Mon, Apr 2nd, 2018

What Apple’s preparation announcements meant for accessibility

From an accessibility news standpoint, this week’s Apple eventuality in Chicago was antithetical to a Oct 2016 event. At a latter event, Apple began a display with a crash — display a tangible video being edited regulating Switch Control in Final Cut. Tim Cook came out thereafter to speak some about Apple’s joining to portion a infirm village before phenomenon a then-new accessibility page on a company’s website.

By contrast, a education-themed eventuality in Chicago this week went by with hardly a discuss of accessibility. The usually specific call-out came during Greg Joswiak’s time on theatre articulate about iPad, when he pronounced “accessibility facilities make iPad a training apparatus for everyone.”

That doesn’t mean, however, accessibility has no aptitude to what was announced.

I was in a assembly during Lane Tech College Prep on Tuesday covering a event. As a former special educator –and special preparation tyro — we watched with penetrating seductiveness as Apple told their story around education. While Apple is targeting a mainstream, we came divided with clever impressions on how Apple can make critical inroads in furthering special preparation as well.

It’s Called ‘Special’ for a Reason

Apple is obviously—rightfully—building their educational plan towards mainstream students in mainstream classes. It’s a classical top-down approach: Teachers allot students work around handouts, for such activities as letter essays or completing scholarship projects. This is a whole reason for Apple’s Classroom and Schoolwork apps. However well-designed, they skip an element.

Where they skip is there is zero afforded, during slightest in specific terms, to teachers and students in special preparation settings. Apple’s plan here is defined, again, by a classical teacher-student relationship, though any courtesy for other models. I’m not levying a critique on a company; this is a reality.

At many levels, special preparation classrooms do not function in a approach that’s gainful to Apple’s prophesy for training during this time. In a moderate-to-severe early childhood (Pre-K) classrooms we worked in for tighten to a decade, a structure was such that most, if not all, activities were protracted by a complicated sip of adult support. Furthermore, many of a students were pulled out of category during certain times for additional services such as debate services and physical/occupational therapy sessions.

In short, there were no lectures or letter prompts anywhere.

This is where accessibility comes in. There is huge intensity for Apple to puncture deeper and enhance a toolset they offer to educators and students. To accommodate for special preparation is, in my view, same to easy infirm users by charity accessibility facilities on any of Apple’s program platforms.

Special preparation is special for a reason. It involves ways of training and training that are unique, and a people who work and learn in these environments merit a same consideration.

Accessibility is Apple’s Secret Weapon

Leading adult to a event, there was many speak in a Apple village of writers and podcasters that Google is eating Apple’s lunch in a schools marketplace since Chromebooks are mud inexpensive for districts and many everybody relies on Google Docs.

I’m not meddlesome in a details of this argument. What we am meddlesome in, however, is simply indicating out that notwithstanding a notice Apple products are too costly and reduction capable, they are improved in one suggestive sense: accessibility.

Consider Chromebook contra iPad. In many levels of special education, an iPad is distant higher to a Chromebook. The tablet’s multi-touch user interface is distant some-more intuitive, and some-more importantly, iOS is built with accessibility in mind. From VoiceOver to Dynamic Type to Switch Control and more, an iPad (or an iPod Touch, for that matter) can yield a distant some-more permitted and enriching training knowledge for many students with disabilities than a Chromebook. And lest we forget a App Store effect; there are many superb apps geared for special ed.

This is a essential indicate that many record pundits who lamentation Apple’s position in a preparation marketplace always seem to miss.

Making Special Educators More Special

One area where Apple can severely urge a lives of teachers is by broadening a Schoolwork app such that it creates IEP prep easier and, personification to Apple’s core strength, some-more modern. Historically, even today, IEPs are designed and created regulating stacks of paperwork. Goals, assessments, and agree forms are handwritten (sometimes typed) and stapled together. And being a contracting authorised document, teachers contingency safeguard there are a correct signatures on each page, or else be dinged for being out of correspondence with protocols. In sum: a IEP is a scandal of each special educator’s existence since they take so many time.

To this end, Apple could do special preparation teachers a grand use by adding a procedure of sorts to a Schoolwork app that would concede them to some-more simply emanate and lane a student’s IEP. There could be charts for tracking idea progress, as good as ways to collect and discharge papers among a IEP group (SLPs, OT/PT, etc) and of march parents. Teachers could even send an email to relatives with any agree forms trustworthy and inspire them to pointer with Apple Pencil on their iPad, if they have one.

At a really least, it would make IEP prep forever some-more efficient, and maybe assuage some of a highlight during a tangible meetings. Digitizing a routine would be game-changing, we think.

Bottom Line

The ideas I’ve summarized here are good within Apple’s wheelhouse. They would expected need to combine with special educators and districts on things like IEP forms and policies, though it is positively within them to do so. They can do this if they want.

To echo an progressing point, special preparation deserves only as many courteous care and creation as a preparation attention during large. Given Apple’s invariable support of accessibility, this is an area in that they can certainly improve.

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