This post originally appeared on the Bookshare Blog.
Please help us put accessible materials on the map at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference.
For those of you who may not have heard of it, SXSW is a hugely popular set of music, film, and interactive festivals (and conferences) that take place every spring in Austin, Texas.
One of the conferences being held in March 2014, SXSWedu, is focused on innovation in education—a natural fit for the work of the team that built Bookshare and the DIAGRAM Center, two of the initiatives in Benetech’s Global Literacy Program.
Our latest initiative uses technology to help people find accessible resources wherever they may be. That’s why we have submitted a panel for SXSWedu entitled Discovering Accessible Learning Resources. As more and more educational materials become accessible, it will be important for educators to be able to find the right materials to accommodate students with special needs.
In our proposed session, we’ll discuss the issues around discovering accessible materials for students with print disabilities, demonstrate how to tag learning resources with accessibility metadata, and show the upcoming cutting-edge tools for finding accessible materials. The catch is that since SXSWedu programming is largely determined by community input. We need your vote today to have our session included in the program. Please lend us a “thumbs up” and cast your vote for our proposed session. By doing so, you’ll be able to play an important role in informing the final programming selections for the event.
Our proposed panel is being organized by Benetech’s Vice President of Engineering, Gerardo Capiel. It would feature Gerardo, Michael Jay, the President of Educational Systemics who has been working on LRMI tagging of Common Core–aligned materials, and Kathi Fletcher, a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow who has been working on authoring tools for Open Educational Resources (OER).
As accessible materials increasingly become more available, we must ensure that users can easily discover this accessible content. It’s time to elevate the discussion about the importance of the discoverability of accessible materials. Help us make sure our panel is part of SXSW 2014! Go to the SXSW PanelPicker and vote for Discovering Accessible Learning Resources. PanelPicker closes this Friday, September 6, so please VOTE NOW.
We are aware that some people might encounter accessibility issues with the SXSW PanelPicker and sign-up process, which is not controlled by Benetech or Bookshare. We hope that SXSW will resolve these issues soon. Your voice is important here, so if you are able to access PanelPicker and vote, please do so and support our panel.
Thank you for your support in making accessible materials more discoverable!