Tag Archives: LexDis

JISC TechDis toolbar and LexDis participant in the news

This news item comes because recently there have been three articles about the JISC TechDis toolbar – It all started with Lifehacker on 24th June, 2010, followed by The H-online blog during the TransferSummit Conference on 25th June, 2010 and today we had the makeuseof.com blog under the title of “Bring Accessibility Features To All Websites With TechDis Toolbar” that has some really good screen grabs.   The server survived some incredible peaks and there have been over 25,000 uses of the toolbar in the last six days.

JISC TechDis toolbar stats

Other good news is that Neil Cotterell of LexAble.com,  developer of Global Autocorrect as a strategy to help his own spelling  has won a Young Achiever Award from the British Dyslexia Association.

‘Changes that have happened to my learning environment’

“I use lots of different technologies and Web 2.0 software that might be considered an assistive technology, but a lot of mainstream education is using them – things like Google docs, Skype and things like that. ”  Teresa introducing the mind map she made showing how the changes in the types of technologies available have affected her learning environment.

These changes in the use of technologies have been mentioned by other students, who have also said that they make decisions on the type of technologies they will use based on time constraints, the tasks they need to do and ease of use.  There is  much learning about different technologies and strategies from peers and some academics. Many students admit they do not take up specialist training but tend to learn how to use these technologies by trial and error or through friends.

The mind map covers topics such as different types of hardware that is becoming more protable, prolific and cheaper, software options that include virtual learning environments, study skills applications and personalisation.   Then there is the way Teresa works with technologies and the use of social networks.  Over the last year we have also tried to evaluate the ease of use and accessibility of Web 2.0 services on the Web2Access site.

mind map of technology changes

LexDis hitting the top of the searches!

Lexdis has managed to find its way to the top of many Google searches, such as second for ‘IEEE referencing Word 2007‘ and fifth for wikilook and CapturaTalk!  We have over 500 sites linking to us and over 50 vistors each day.   There are some interesting results, such as sixth on the list for ‘dim lectures’!   A link to a strategy ‘Dim screen for note taking in lectures‘.

We are still looking for ways to make us gain improved bounce rates and top search results!  We are also trying to find ways to make the content more useful and relevant to a wide audience with a revamped interface.  All ideas welcome!

Accessiblog

Accessiblog has been started as we have several accessible technology projects on the go including LexDis, Web2Access and Synote and we wanted to have a space to track other projects as they progressed.  These all have working titles and  include:

StudyBar

StudyBar will build on existing tools such as those provided by Google, Firefox Accessibar and the JISC TechDis Preferences Toolbar, to develop an independent toolbar that works alongside the most widely used web browsers.  The aim is to help all staff and students (irrespective of their skills and abilities) save time when interacting with on-line environments.  Currently staff and students are switching between complex toolsets, especially when undertaking e-learning activities in Web 2.0 environments, such as using blogs, wikis and discussion forums, where time is of the essence.  They also have difficulties summarising and referencing works and require user-friendly tools to support and complete these tasks.

StudyBar will provide easy access to study support services to augment technology enhanced learning strategies.  Time spent working with a series of different or complex tools can be avoided by having a ‘one stop shop’ of easy to use services, appropriate for studying.  Time constraints are an issue for all students but in particular for those with disabilities especially when learning to use new technologies.

Current development is for use with Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera.

The work is being undertaken with close collaboration with JISC OSS Watch, JISC TechDis and JISC RSC Scotland N&E

This project has been funded by JISC TechDis and will run from July 09 to November 09

The Pen Drive

This pen drive is designed for both staff and students working in a teaching and learning environment. The accessible menu system will allow users to launch a range of assistive technologies from text to speech to magnification.   There will also be a portable browser with additional toolbars to provide staff with a means to evaluate online technologies before using them in a teaching and learning situation.

The entire menu system can be customised and all developments will be available via Google Code with the ability to download the source code and make changes.

Current development is for the Window platform but much discussion has taken place around the use of HTML and the Mac operating system.

The work is being undertaken with close collaboration with JISC OSS Watch, JISC TechDis and JISC RSC Scotland N&E

This project has been funded by the Learning and Teaching  Enhancement Unit of the University of Southampton and will be trialed in the Autumn 2009 – February 2010  with a full set of guides on making choices about the accessibility of Web 2.0 applications such as podcasts, blogs, wikis, social networking RSS feeds, bookmarking and microblogs.

Web2 Access Validation toolkit.

This online toolkit will be developed so that all users of the Web2Access.org.uk website can evaluate the accessibitity of any chosen Web 2.0 application at the outset and eventually software applications.  The fourteen tried and tested checks based on WCAG 2.0 guidelines will be developed into an online wizard with accompanying narrated screencasts to aid both developers and those new to accessibility issues.

The 14 tests with levels of accessibility in different contexts provide a framework that is capable of validating accessibility in a way that is useful to potential users  for example supports those with visual impairments or has poor text size and contrast levels.  The service provides a ranking that is potentially valuable to providers as an indicator of accessibility although it is always advisable to check sites with disabled users.

Current development is for use with Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera.

The work is being undertaken with close collaboration with JISC TechDis

This project has been funded by JISC TechDis and will run from July 2009 – Jan 2010

Accessibility Cloud

The Accessibility Cloud project will be harvesting the existing accessibility content from previous JISC funded projects, making the data commonly available and searchable and making sure that the engine and data are secure, portable and able to be mirrored.  The initial projects providing the linked data are LexDis, Web2Access, Phoebe, Gateway to Excellence and JISC RSC Yorkshire and Humberside ‘Excellence in Inclusivity’.  Each site offers a different approach to the subject of teaching and learning with the use of technology.  This will mean that users of the accessibility cloud will have the chance to see for example the use of portable devices in colleges, their impact on various disabilities, the strategies developed by students and the way they can be used by staff in their day to day teaching.

It is hoped that it will be possible to browse by a series of categories and search the active data from all the websites but in a way that allows for different perspectives such as a pedagogical approach, disability viewpoint and technology choices.

Current development is for use with Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera.

The work is being undertaken with close collaboration with JISC TechDis

This project has been funded by JISC TechDis and will run from Oct 09 to Sept 2010.