Guest blog post by Alan Natachu, Learning Ambassador
May 4th is a day I hold close to me. There is the Star Wars reference (May the 4th be with you) that this day is known for. I survived CRC surgery on May 4th. Now this day holds more meaning from a teaching standpoint.
Actor Chris Pratt made a comment in which he asked his fans scrolling through his Instagram feed to turn up the volume and listen instead of, as he put it, "just reading the subtitles.” In a video posted on Instagram, Chris gave an apology in American Sign Language (ASL).
Why is this event “May 4th” worthy? He took the time to make a format that wasn’t accessible and creatively made it more accessible. He advocated for Instagram to provide the option to caption video on this platform (Instagram's parent company, Facebook, does allow users to upload captions to videos posted on Facebook). But more importantly, it’s not perfect. His ASL is not perfect. The video needs captions and an audio description to be even more accessible. He is trying and doing his best.
SCREENSHOT: Chris Pratt giving an apology in American Sign Language (ASL) on Instagram
I work with faculty and staff as a Technology Trainer. The topic I find hardest to train on is accessibility. Making objects accessible is seen as doing extra work and not the continued mastery of a program. I can talk about the benefits of accessibility (such as increased SEO, better navigation, benefits for ESL students, etc.) till I turn blue. I talked them out of even trying.
It's not until I show them how a blind user navigates a computer does it make resonate why they need to make objects accessible. Then they begin to start trying.
SCREENSHOT: Screen Reader Demo, via SLCC Universal Access, YouTube
I review their attempts at making learning objects accessible. Their work is not perfect, but they are trying and doing their best. As educators, we know that perfection is not always an accurate measurement of learning something. Our mistakes and failures is our best learning tool. It is from these lessons that we begin to do our best.
Chris Pratt is trying his best by calling out Instagram and pushing for a more accessible platform. I’m trying my best to help others easily create and restructure learning objects with accessibility in mind. I’m trying my best to ensure that every learning object I create is accessible.
What are you doing to make accessibility an option? Do you know where to start?
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Alan oversees the professional development needs through face to face, hybrid and online training methodologies for Madison College faculty and staff across 9 metro and regional campuses. He specializes in eLearning development, video and audio production, and accessibility. Alan provides training in institutional technologies, such as Microsoft Office and TelePresence.