For CSforALL to truly be for all, we must include students with disabilities. To address this gap CSforALL and AccessCSforALL are joining together to launch the CSforALL Accessibility Pledge to rally the national community of CS education content creators, program providers, educational institutions, researchers and investors to take immediate steps to achieve accessibility for existing efforts, and ensure that future efforts address accessibility within the design phase.
Currently, over one hundred organizations have taken the CSforALL Accessibility Pledge. In doing so, they have joined a team of peers working to make #CSforALL truly inclusive by committing to take action to make their programs, products, and investments meet the needs of the approximately 7.6 million students with disabilities in the nation.
Accessibility Pledge makers can select from four categories: Content Creators, Program Providers, School Districts/Education Associations, and Investors. Organizations may fit into more than one category, and can choose the pledge areas most relevant to them.
While the community has rallied behind this important initiative, we continue to encourage others to join us in signing the pledge and help further the effort to make CSforALL truly be for all students. The release of new Accessibility Pledge signatories will coincide with Computer Science Education Week, December 3-9, 2018.
Note: Students with disabilities covers a large range including students with cognitive disabilities of various kinds (such as learning disabilities, autism, intellectual disabilities), and various physical disabilities (such as blindness, deafness, and mobility/dexterity limitations).
Federal legislation including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 include guidance about accessible educational materials.
When referring to accessibility standards please refer to the following:
- Section 508 Standards
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- Quality Indicators for the Provision of Accessible Materials
Andreas Stefik is an associate professor in computer science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. For the last decade, he has been creating technologies that make it easier for people, including those with disabilities, to write computer software. With grants from the National Science Foundation, Stefik helped establish the first national educational infrastructure for blind or visually impaired students to learn computer science. He is the inventor of Quorum, the first evidence-oriented programming language. The design of Quorum is based on rigorous empirical data from experiments on human behavior. As part of his work, Stefik is a PI on the NSF-funded AccessCSForAll grant that is helping prepare K-12 teachers to be more inclusive in their computing courses with students with disabilities. Finally, he was honored with the 2016 White House Champions of Change award in computer science education.
Daniela Marghitu, a faculty member in the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department at Auburn University since 1996, has published seven IT textbooks, over 100 peer reviewed journal and conference papers, and she gave numerous presentations at professional events in USA and Europe. She is the founder director of the Educational and Assistive Technology Laboratory; partner of AccessComputing, AccessCSforAll, and AccessEngineering NSF Alliances; CO-PI of NSF INCLUDES: South East Alliance for Persons with Disabilities in STEM and PI of Computer Science for All (CS4ALL) inclusive K12 research and outreach projects. She is the recipient of the 2011 AccessComputing Capacity Building, 2012 Auburn University Access, 2012 SDPS Outstanding Achievement, 2015 DO-IT Trailblazer awards, 2017 IARIA and SDPS Fellowships. She is, since 2015, an appointed member of the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) congressionally mandated advisory committee to the NSF.
Emma Koslow is a high school senior and a disability advocate for computer science. She started coding with HTML and Scratch at six years, has currently learned almost 20 programming languages, and is the founder of Programming Pals, an online coding tutoring service for students with disabilities. For her work with Programming Pals, she has been recognized by NCWIT, Stanford She++, National Coding Week, and Girls Who Code. Emma also suffers from Misophonia, a rare neurological condition that causes severe sensitivity to sound and Motor and Vocal tic disorder.
In her 11 years of working in public media, from the time she served as a production assistant and researcher on the PBS KIDS Curious George website in 2007 to her current work directing the development of inclusive and personalized digital content for PBS KIDS, Rodriguez has collaborated with and led diverse teams of experts in: creating interactive learning experiences for children, educators, and families to help close achievement and opportunity gaps in literacy, math, and science; developing business and academic partnerships that drive innovation; analyzing the impact of PBS KIDS’ work to advance the field; and, above all, envisioning how to expand the PBS KIDS audience and the services they provide to the American public.
Maya Israel, Ph.D. is an associate professor of educational technology at the University of Florida where she leads the Creative Technology Research Lab (CTRL) in research related to K-12 computational thinking. Her primary areas of specialization include supporting students’ meaningful access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning with an emphasis on computational thinking and computer programming. She studies how to use instructional approaches such as Universal Design for Learning, metacognitive learning strategies, and technologies to help students become more successful learners.
Meredith Boyce is a college student whose work in computer science is focused on making technology accessible for those with physical disabilities, specifically blindness and motor disabilities. This became her passion after she became blind and motor-impaired following a stroke. Faced with limited options for success, she taught herself and then others how to use their technological resources. She has been recognized for her work by NCWIT and the Obama White House’s Champions of Change program.
Meredith hopes to continue her work through research in the multi-faceted field of accessible technology. Her motto is “to find what makes you angry, and to go out into the world and change it.”
Richard E. Ladner is Professor Emeritus in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. After many years of research in theoretical computer science, he has turned his attention to accessibility technology research, especially technology for deaf, deaf-blind, hard-of-hearing, and blind people. In addition to research, he is active in promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in computing fields. He is the Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation funded AccessComputing and AccessCSforAll.
Shireen Hafeez is a mother of a deaf/hard of hearing son who founded a nonprofit organization called DEAF KIDS CODE. She started this after being in advocacy and activism for kids like her child. Hafeez believes that the digital age is the great equalizer and computer science skills will allow greater participation in our world for the next generation. Computer science is to her a matter of human rights, self determination, and workforce development.
Todd Lash is a doctoral student in Special Education at Creative Technology Research Lab, University of Illinois. His research interests include investigating the integration of CS into k-5 mathematics curricula and the study of how Universal Design For Learning (UDL) may be used as a way to engage all learners, including students with disabilities, in CSed. Todd has made presentations on the use of UDL to increase access and opportunity in CSed at multiple research and practitioner-focused conferences, including SIGCSE, UDL-IRN, and CSTA and is an active professional development provider. Todd previously worked as a K-5 educator for seventeen years.