Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Excludes the Visually/Hearing-Impaired - K12OnlineConference

Entitled "Eminently Inclusive," I thought my blog entries--Shareski's Keynote as well as Eminently Inclusive--about the K-12 Online Conference achieved global inclusiveness because it met these criteria of my own design:
  • Anyone could present at the Conference provided their presentations met the guidelines of the K-12 Online Conference
  • Presentations are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere with an Internet connection.
However, a fellow technologist took issue with that assertion in my title...and reminded me that the world isn't just for people who can see and hear. Jeff K. writes in this comment:
Miguel, I respectfully disagree with your title. I don't , and have not found the conference to be inclusive. Those who are unable to listen to presentations will be left out of the conversation. At best, transcriptions using DOTSub are completed long after presentations are given and discussed.

Even now, I am unable to benefit from most of last year's presentations, because they haven't been transcribed. And 5% of Dean Shareski's keynote has been transcribed in English - none at all in other languages. I'm not sure that there's a solution other than for me to get over it and move on...........

Listening to a Seedlings podcast featuring Karen Janowski this morning as I drove into work, one of the podcast hosts stated that we often see assistive technology as helping address a problem that a student has. In fact, though, we need to reframe that perspective and recognize that it is the curriculum that has a problem.

Does K-12 Online Conference have a problem insomuch that it fails to address the needs of those labelled as visually or hearing impaired? And, what obligations does a free gathering of individuals have to address these needs?

The K-12 Online Conference hasn't described itself as being the conference for all...that was MY mistake in claiming that it was eminently inclusive. Yet, should this be something K-12 Online Conference planners consider for the future? And, does "open to the world" imply a responsibility?

And, what responsibility do the visually/hearing impaired have to step up and do something about the K-12 Online Conference?

Is it time to Question Everything? To borrow from the Question Everything site, but adapting it for the purposes of this blog entry....
Do K-12 Online Conference organizers realize that resources you present to your  conference participants/viewers have unintended consequences? Do you consider the fact that some conference attendees can not achieve success because you have placed obstacles before them which they can not overcome? Have you really thought about that possibility?

If not, it's time to think about the educational rationale for the methods you incorporate into your conference planning. Why do you do what you do? And what obstacles are you presenting by the choices you make?

What do you think?

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1 comment:

jkitterman said...

Thanks for helping me think through this. In retrospect, I think that my comment was largely driven by personal frustration - Not being able to hear is immensely frustrating at times. It's difficult to see all of the great things that are available, but not be able to take advantage of them.

But in the end, that's for me to deal with.

I don't believe that this conference or any other inadvertently places obstacles in my path. Rather, the obstacle is mine. I carry it daily. I'm not looking for sympathy, but rather working through all of this. I've been deaf for 3 years. I spent my first 42 years as a hearing person.

I also think that, for the vast majority, the conference is indeed inclusive. This is confirmed by the fact that Delors Reig's keynote is already 100% translated. Why? I believe that it's because there are many who are unable to understand Spanish.

It's so great that folks from around the world can "gather" and learn together. I'll take part in any way that I am able.

Please take care. And - happy upcoming birthday to you!


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