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Our Bold Call to Action — #CSforALL Must Include Students with Disabilities, and it Needs to Happen Now

CSforALL
CSforALL
Aug 29, 2018 · 5 min read

Image: pencil erasing in from inaccessible. Source: AccessibiliT.com

#CSforALL Efforts Should be ‘Born Accessible’

Today, computer science (CS) is increasingly taught in K-12 education, in some cases by law (e.g., Arkansas, Nevada). This trend, which has become known as the Computer Science for All Movement, has been growing considerably over the last decade. The name itself, computer science for all, exemplifies the mission: to provide every student the chance to learn computing skills relevant to the 21st century.

  1. Curriculum designers need to ensure that all curriculum for the web is compatible with WCAG and is ARIA compliant (which are standards for accessibility) and any computer science tool embedded into their curriculum should be accessible. Further, curricular materials, pedagogical approaches, and student-facing materials should be designed through the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, so that these curricula can proactively address common barriers to learning and ensure that all students can be meaningfully engaged in learning computer science.
  2. Teachers and informal educators should examine curriculum and tools to determine level of accessibility. If curricula, tools, or other aspects of a program are not accessible to all of your students, consider working with your organization to find alternatives that are. Educators can also consider ways of applying strategies that are effective in other content areas to their CS education curriculum.
  3. School districts are required by law to ensure materials are accessible to all students. If a vendor, tool creator, or curriculum is not accessible, advise your provider that they are not compliant and your district may have to find an alternative. Additionally, districts should be including special education teachers and staff in the process as they build out their CS education pathways, and administrators should review how structural considerations, such as scheduling, may limit students with disabilities from accessing a robust CS education.
  4. Researchers should consider disability as an underrepresented population in research project design and data collection.
  5. Corporations and foundations that invest in computer science education programs should include accessibility for students with disabilities as part of the funding criteria.

Images L-R: Daniela Marghitu, Maya Israel, Richard Ladner, Todd Lash, Andreas Stefik

CSforALL Stories

Thoughts & conversations on the movement to bring rigorous, inclusive and sustainable computer science to all US students.

CSforALL

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CSforALL

CSforALL is the national hub for the #ComputerScience for All movement. Much more content at medium.com/csforall-stories

CSforALL Stories

Thoughts & conversations on the movement to bring rigorous, inclusive and sustainable computer science to all US students.