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Open Enrollment

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It is open enrollment time at work which has me thinking a lot about my hearing aids. I'm fortunate to have a full-time job that offers several different health insurance plans to choose from. and I am grateful to have a choice as many people may not.  Of the four insurance choices offered for the upcoming year as my plan is being phased out, all cover hearing screenings either at 100% or at 100% following a small deductible payment.  However, none cover hearing aids.  I have never had insurance that has covered my hearing aids. If I had known this prior to 15 years ago when hearing aids were first suggested, I would have started my Health Savings Account (HSA) much earlier.

I am on my third set of hearing aids and have paid for all of them out of pocket, costing a range between $2-5K for each pair. With technology always evolving, my rather unique needs, and being a bit of a gadget geek, there are both needs and benefits to upgrading. My latest hearing aids pair with my cell pho…

Create Accessibility at Fall #CUE

That's a wrap for another great Fall CUE! I had the great pleasure of sharing more about Create Accessibility and accessible design.  On Thursday evening, I shared some workflows for captioning videos in Google Drive.

On Friday, during the 90-minute workshop session, we created Google Sites with accessibility in mind.  Google Sites are easy for students of all ages to use to communicate information, understanding, and learning and provide a great entry into accessible design principles. When students are inserting text, one can teach about the importance of formatting and hierarchy with titles, heading, and subheadings for individuals using a screen reader. Similarly, when images are inserted beyond just showing students how to resize or crop, teach students about alt text.  Teach them why alt text is important, when it is needed, how to compose and insert.  There are lots of these opportunities to naturally insert accessible design lessons when students are creating google sites,…

CUE Tip: Closed Captioning in Google Drive

Yes, you can Create Accessibility with your Videos in Google Drive! Here are workflows (slide 1) and resources (slide 2) I shared this evening during my CUE Tip presentation at Fall CUE.  My dream is that someday Google Drive will offer a native captioning interface that will provide auto-captioning with the ability to edit those captions.  Until then, here are some workflows designed for school environments.

Moving the Needle. Create Accessibility One Year Later

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One year ago, I published "Be the Change" that began Create Accessibility. That blog post was motivated by my experience leaving Boulder, Colorado and the Google Innovation Academy. One year later a lot has happened that even I didn't realize until I did the numbers below.
Create Accessibility One Year Later By the Numbers44 Blog Posts Published19 Day #CreateA11y Challenge15 Video Tutorials8 Conference Presentations1 Google Site1 GitBook1 Caption Creator for Google Drive (Collaboration with Jordan Rhea, @rheajt)Countless Memories, Friendships, and Learning!


It would be great if any one of these solutions actually solved the pressing problem in education that I continue to address with this project. Unfortunately, there remains lots of online materials and platforms that are inaccessible to people with disabilities. Personally, I encounter inaccessible content on a daily basis, attend EDU conferences where videos lack captions, and encounter vendors selling products for s…

ISTE17 Presentation Materials

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It was an honor to present Create Accessibility at #ISTE17.  I had two formal opportunities on the schedule to talk about my #GoogleEI project. There is another blog post percolating describing my overall ISTE experience. Until then, I wanted to share my Create Accessibility presentation materials.

Google Certified Innovators Tell All (Panel) I was one of 10 Innovator panelist who shared different aspects of their Innovator experience and participated in the backchannel with those participants joining us virtually. The event was live streamed and is now available on YouTube. Unfortunately for accessibility, the video is auto-captioned and there are errors throughout, including my contribution.  Below, I have provided a transcript of my contribution.




Transcript (27:25 - 29:01) Wendy Gorton: Now we have Melissa Oliver who is our Coordinator of Instructional Technology. Also Colorado. and Colorado is about to wrap up their year. So their cohort was the ISTE cohort. So they somehow pulled …

Dear Conference Presenter,

I recently spent the day finalizing session proposals to submit for consideration at some upcoming conferences. Several proposals focus on accessibility. This got me to thinking while I wait to learn of their status. Wouldn't it be great if the acceptance letter included something about ensuring the accessibility of your materials?

I took the liberty to draft such a letter as a starting point and included it below.


Dear [Insert Conference Name] Presenter,

Congratulations! Your session proposal has been accepted at [insert conference name]! [Insert Conference Name] values diversity and the learning experience of all our participants. As you begin to prepare your session materials, please keep accessible design principles in mind to ensure all attendees can access, enjoy, and benefit from your expertise.
Caption All Videos. Provide Alt Text on your ImagesUse Accessibility Guidelines on your Website  If you should need assistance in creating accessible materials, [insert conference na…

Day 19: Add Alt Text to Google Sites

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Alternative Text is an accessible design feature that provides alternative text for images. Alt text is an important design feature for people with low vision or blindness accessing content online using a screen reader. If you have images on your Google Site that are communicating information, then alt text is needed. If images are purely decorative and do not serve a communicative purpose, alt text does not need to be included.

How to Create Accessibility by Adding Alt Text Click on your image in Google Slides. You know your image is selected when you see the blue box around it. Click on the 3 dots. Choose Alt TextType in your desired text > Apply

Current Challenge with Adding Alt Text It appears that one is no longer able to edit alt text on Google Sites. Alt text, once added, is not editable. In fact, I find that even as I'm typing the alt text, if I make a mistake and use the delete button in an attempt to backspace, it deletes the image entirely rather than allow editing. T…