Ed Tech Accessibility

Disability rights advocates and book publishers are pushing for federal regulations to ensure higher education technology is accessible to tens of thousands of students with visual impairments.

A federal study in 2011 found college students with a range of disabilities face "unintended and nearly impenetrable barriers" thrown up by some new technology products. Now, the National Federation of the Blind is floating a draft bill designed to ensure students with disabilities are not left behind on college campuses by a wave of new technologies. The proposal has the support of other disability rights groups and the Association of American Publishers.

About 2.1 million American students have some kind of disability, including about 63,000 with visual impairments, according to the 2011 report on the accessibility and inaccessibility of instructional material.

"It is critically important that blind students have access to the technology that is being used in the educational environment today at all levels, and this includes e-books and clickers and other technologies," said Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind.

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