The most exciting thing I saw during the Super Bowl wasn’t the play on the field or the halftime show. It was this commercial from Microsoft.
It’s not that I’m a big-time commercial buff. It’s that the Microsoft’s We All Win campaign – which showcases the company’s efforts to build accessible controllers for children of all abilities – meant that accessibility as technological innovation had officially hit mainstream public consciousness.
A large movement is officially growing. Major software and hardware providers like Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft are doing their part by making their products usable for individuals with disabilities and it is doing wonders!
In May, the accessible version of MAP Growth will turn 3 years old. In that time, we’ve made important progress. We’ve added fully embedded text-to-speech capabilities. We added test-taking features and functionality like notepad, answer eliminator, and line reader. With the support of Desmos, we launched an amazing, fully accessible calculator.
We’re proud to be the first—and currently, only—provider of online interim assessments to offer a digitally accessible assessment for students who use a screen reader and/or refreshable braille display.
But our work is far from over on this. Our mission is partnering to help all kids learn, and that means we won’t quit until every student has access to the tools and resources they need to learn. For example, some of our partner schools are struggling with online math curriculum that currently isn’t accessible by students using screen readers or refreshable braille. It’s only available in print braille—an experiential gap that is a disservice to students reliant on digital devices to support their learning.
To get to the ultimate goal, it’s going to take a village. All of us in education and education technology can play a role in providing equal access to all students. We’re excited to see more education providers involved in the movement, creating accessible digital content and tools. Desmos created four accessible calculators! Pearson created a math equation editor that remarkably allows students to use a refreshable braille display to access Nemeth Braille. Text Help jumped into the math content world and offers an accessible math equation editor called EquatIO. Seeing these new accessible options is like a dream come true.
As we blow out the candles on 3 years with an accessible MAP Growth assessment, our wish is to continue finding more and more assessment, curriculum, and other learning solution providers committed to making accessible digital content. When we work together, more kids can win. And when more kids win, we all win.