Future of educational technology
This is an extract from NB magazine, RNIB’s eye health and sight loss magazine for professionals. The publication covers the latest developments in eye health, social care and policy.
In this months issue of NB magazine Steve Griffiths, RNIB’s digital accessibility expert, explores the New Media Consortium’s Technology Outlook report. The report scans the horizon looking for upcoming trends in the field of educational technology. Steve writes about the coming year for ebooks:
“For the past year, every pupil at the Cedars School of Excellence in Greenock has used an iPad rather than pen and paper, and a recent article in the Times Educational Supplement said that South Korea ‘has announced it expects to replace all paper textbooks with electronic tablets at its state-run schools by 2015’.
The challenge for students with sight loss is that few ebooks reading systems offer the facilities required of education-based ebooks - bookmarking, annotations, searching - in an accessible way.”
The report predicts the increasing use of mobile phones for accessing the internet:
“...many blind users find that accessing the internet over a phone - perhaps with a Bluetooth keyboard - is no different to using a computer. But students with low vision aren’t so well served by this... even the largest phone has a small screen compared to the smallest laptop!”
Steve goes on to talk about developments expected in the next five years: augmented reality, games based learning, gesture-based computing and learning analytics, all of which present opportunities and challenges for accessibility, concluding that:
“The best case scenario is that accessibility will become woven into the fabric of new technologies so that they will be as useful to people with sight loss (and other disabilities) as they are to everyone.”
- Steve Griffiths is RNIB’s digital accessibility expert. He is a regular contributor to the RNIB TechKnowMore blog