How Can We Include Students with Disabilities in Computing Courses? (Audio Described)
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How Can We Include Students with Disabilities in Computing Courses? (Audio Described)


[ music ] [ music and title narration ] (Narrator) We take our smartphones, computers
and gadgets for granted. But behind all this technology is a skilled
workforce of software developers, systems administrators, Web developers and programmers. There’s an increasing demand for individuals
who have technical skills. An understanding of computing is important
for these opportunities. We often talk about broadening the participation
of females as well as racial and ethnic minorities
in computing courses, but what about including
people with disabilities? (Richard Ladner) Worldwide there’s
one billion people, about 15% of the international population
have a disability, according to the World Health Organization. So, if you like, that’s a lot of customers
that they would like to get and having a diverse workforce they’re more likely to have the kinds of products that will satisfy more people’s needs and
interests. (Narrator) Individuals with disabilities,
including autism spectrum disorders, attention deficits, learning disabilities,
hearing impairments, visual impairments,
and mobility impairments, can succeed in computing education
and computing careers. (Cynthia Bennett) It is important for people
with disabilities to pursue careers in science because we have really unique
life experiences and skills that we can offer and it’s important that
for us to be stakeholders in projects and for us to be represented on
the market. (Michael Forzano) Being a problem solver
is definitely really important when you’re a software developer. And if you’re someone with a disability that’s something that you have to do pretty
regularly since, you know, we’re faced with challenges
all the time. We have to find solutions to them so that
probably makes us better problem solvers. That’s definitely a good trait to have
when you’re working in this field. (Sheryl Burgstahler) It’s very important to attract students with disabilities
into computing. One reason is
it’s a matter of fairness. There are a lot of opportunities
in those fields and they should have an equal opportunity
to pursue those fields. But another important thing
is that they can benefit, those fields can benefit from the perspectives
of people with disabilities. (Narrator) With proper assistive technology
and accommodations, individuals with disabilities can successfully
pursue education and careers in computing. (Michael Forzano) I am a software development engineer at Amazon. I work on the Trade-in Team, so that’s the program that allows customers
to trade in their old items such as textbooks, electronics like iPhones,
DVDs, videogames. Here I am, working for Amazon as a software developer and now I’ve been here almost two years. There’s been new challenges every day that
I’ve had to face and had to find a solution for. (Jessie Shulman) My name’s is Jessie Shulman
and I’m an operations program manager in the web services field and a graduate of
the University of Washington. And I have a learning disability so I struggle
with language to begin with, so learning a computer syntax like Java, all the problems that I had, the struggles that I had with English, came
up again with Java. (Cynthia Bennett) I am a first year PhD
student in the Human Centered Design and Engineering Department at the University of Washington. I became interested in a career in Human Centered
Design and Engineering because I worked as a research assistant in the Computer Science Department at the
University of Washington for two years. I was hired because I have a psychology background
and experience managing research projects. (Kevin Cree) I’m dyslexic which means I
have difficulty reading and pretty bad handwriting. (Jessie Shulman) The accommodations that
I used in school included books on tape. I used a note taker for certain classes and I used dictation software
for my writing tasks. (Michael Forzano) I had all my textbooks
in either electronic format or Braille depending on the situation.
Like for the math courses, I had them in Braille so I could see the diagrams
and everything. They bought a, an embosser that was capable
of Brailling diagrams so I had note takers in my classes and they would copy down the notes
and the diagrams and transcribe them into Braille which was
great. I had access to everything I needed. (Kevin Cree) My main accommodations
would be extended time on tests, having my books available as e-text format which means I can use a screen reader to read out the books to me so even though when I’m reading it myself
and I may not be able to understand it, the computer is telling me exactly what
those words are. [ People talking in the room ] (Cynthia Bennett) I use a typical computer
like everyone else. But it has an additional piece of software
called a screen reader loaded onto it. The screen reader tells me what is on the
screen. (Teacher) Don’t feel too pressured if. . . (Narrator) Teachers can play an important
role in encouraging students with disabilities to study computing by giving this underrepresented
group access to classes. (Vincent Martin) If you don’t start doing
this at a young age, you won’t even know what’s going on later
even if you’re not a computing major. You need to understand how computing works because everything you have
has a computer in it, your watch, your phone,
your car has 25 different processors in it. (Kevin Cree) For the most part, the K-12
system were very accommodating, getting an IEP and different accommodations
through them and specific classes to assist
in teaching reading and writing. [Teacher talking] (Narrator) Teachers can make their classes
accessible to all students by applying universal design, designing their classes and lessons so all
students have equal access to the information. Taking these steps proactively has the potential
to benefit all students in a classroom, not just the students with disabilities. (Sheryl Burgstahler) Teachers can use
multi-modes of instruction. And so they can speak the content to the class, they can have students discuss it in small
groups, they can write things on the overhead projector, they might show a concept using a video. And so that’s the first thing is just to recognize
that the students in their class have many different learning styles and some of them actually have disabilities
that affect their learning. (Richard Ladner) You might provide
alternative ways to look at a single concept in a science class, not just one way of looking at it. So there might be a visual way,
a more auditory way, perhaps, examples from different walks of
life of a concept. So you’re already doing that. And so you just want to continue doing that
and maybe add a little bit more. (Michael Forzano) I would say they should
be willing to work with the student because every student has different needs. They should be willing to provide their materials
in accessible formats. (Narrator) It’s important for students with
disabilities to feel welcome in the classes. (Sheryl Burgstahler) In the high school
setting, one good way to get the word out about classes that students
might take, particularly in computer science, is to let the counselors know
how open they are to having students with disabilities
in their classes. (Erika) I’ve had a lot of mentors and teachers who have helped me be more encouraged to go into computing. One of the professors, a well-known professor,
Richard Ladner, has really helped me go towards computing. (Richard Ladner) You can think of beginning
computer science courses as gates. Gates to get into a field, and if those gates are impenetrable or really difficult or kind of don’t meet
the needs of a lot of students then, if you like, that gate is already closed
and they’re not getting in. So why not have a course
that is so inviting, so much fun, so interesting and is an inviting course. (Narrator) An example of universal design is Quorum. It’s a programming language that’s easy for
everyone to use and understand, while also being accessible to students who are blind. (Richard Ladner) Quorum isn’t just a language
for blind kids. It’s a language for everyone and it just happens to work really well with
blind kids as well so if you like it’s universally designed. It’s designed for easy learning by everyone,
including blind kids. (Narrator) Although applying universal design minimizes the need for accommodations for students, it’s also important to have a plan in place to respond to additional accommodation requests. (Cynthia) There are a lot of people who take the time to leave the world a better
place than it was when they entered it. And I feel that it’s my responsibility to
do the same, to thank all the people who helped me and to ensure that more people with disabilities can pursue the career that I have,
and pursue it a little bit more easily.>>Narrator) To learn more about how you can
encourage and support students with disabilities in computing courses, engage with the AccessCS10K project hosted by the University of Washington and the University
of Nevada Las Vegas.

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