An image of brownies
Author: Samantha Goldman;

The CIDDL Cizzle Ctatium welcomed Chef Nicholas Hoekstra, a doctoral student from the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas within the specialization of Instructional Design, Technology, and Innovation, to discuss various reading technologies while baking Betty Crocker’s Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies.

Christine Parsons, the Cizzle moderator, and Nicholas begin by describing themselves for the Cizzle viewers. Nicholas explains that it is important to describe yourself at the beginning of meetings to support people with visual impairments by providing context for them of the visual cues present.

Written material is accessible when a student can shape it to meet their needs. This means that a user with print disabilities can make the text larger, use a screen reader, and understand what the images are, to name a few. To support individuals with print disabilities in accessing printed materials, there are various reading applications that can be used on smart devices (e.g., phones, tablets), extensions on internet browsers, and refreshable braille displays. Which application works the best? Well, it depends on who the user is. Nicholas details what some key features of these applications are and who they benefit.

Nicholas takes us into his kitchen where he shows how he uses various technologies, both high tech using applications and low tech using touch screen, as he bakes some delectable brownies. But, before he gets baking, he shares some of the frustrations he encounters when attempting to use inaccessible print. When online text is displayed as part of an image without alternate text embedded, screen readers cannot detect the words, making the online content inaccessible to individuals with print impairments.

The technology really heats up when Nicholas gets baking, though. Nicholas walks us through the different technologies he uses to read his recipe and find various ingredients he needs. Check out the Cizzle to see how he integrates each application into his baking. And when the brownies come out of the oven, you can almost smell them through the screen.

Do you want to learn more about reading technologies that support accessible materials? Below are some of the technologies Nicholas shares and a brief description of them. 

          This website offers a wide variety of textbooks and novels in accessible formats. They are free of charge for U.S. students with registered print impairments. It provides low-cost memberships for non-students.

          This is a free application from Microsoft that can help read a short text, scan documents, describe pictures, identify money, and much more.

          This assistive technology is a mobile camera application that leverages the device’s camera and VoiceOver functions to take a picture or video of anything and identify it out loud for users.

Be sure to check out the Cizzle with Nicholas Hoekstra and rate him by visiting the CIDDL website. For other resources integrating technology and the UDL framework, be sure to stay up-to-date with the CIDDL website and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

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