In a recent speech Apple chief Tim Cook described people with disabilities as locked in a struggle “to have their human dignity acknowledged”. All too frequently, he added, they were left “in the shadows of technological advancements that are a source of empowerment and attainment for others”.
He is right. Yet it need not be so and there are solid reasons to believe this situation is set to change. To be sure, obstacles remain – as witnessed by Andrew Trounson’s recent article that Government funding to help universities to support students with disabilities has fallen to less than half the actual cost (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/more-uni-disability-funding-needed/story-e6frgcjx-1227010315296) – nevertheless, much can be done within the existing framework.
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Greater educational opportunities for disabled students are likely to result from a new international partnership involving Australia’s Global Access Project (GAP).
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – 14 July 2014. GAP this week joined IBM and Nuance Communications (the creators of Dragon NaturallySpeaking software) as the third industry partner in the Liberated Learning Consortium (LLC) – a prestigious international group of technology providers, universities and colleges working to advance information accessibility in higher education through applications of speech recognition software. Hosted by the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the LLC works to collaboratively develop captioning and transcription solutions that create inclusive learning environments.
People with disabilities will find it easier to study university courses thanks to a practical new service developed by a team of higher education accessibility specialists. It is also designed to help universities meet their obligations in ensuring all students can access their resources.
The Global Access Project (GAP) is the work of the Sydney-based Higher Education Consulting Group, which will launch the service on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, May 15 2014.