Why digital accessibility matters in the classroom, and how, exactly, to do it

As the world becomes more digital, the meaning of accessibility has grown to include digital spaces.

"Digital accessibility" refers to the practice of making websites, online content, technology, and devices accessible to people with disabilities. But there's much more to it than that. Done correctly, it opens up a world of learning options to neurodiverse learners, learners with disabilities, and multilingual learners. And, it benefits typical learners too.

Read on to discover how.

What is digital accessibility?

Digital accessibility means that all digital content and tools can be used and understood by everyone, no matter their physical limitations or abilities.

Digital accessibility includes:

  1. Providing digital materials so people with disabilities can use accommodations to access them.
  2. Making sure documents are accessible in format and layout, like using proper headlines.
  3. Checking curriculum to make sure learning materials can be used with assistive technologies
  4. Providing alt text and image descriptions for every photo, illustration, graph, or image.

To make sure your documents are accessible, learn how to evaluate curriculum, and gain a deeper understanding of digital accessibility, download our new, free Accessibility Guide for Educators and MTSS Teams.

How digital accessibility helps learners:

  • Physical Disabilities
  • ADHD, autism, executive dysfunction
  • Multilingual learners
  • Students with dyslexia

Digital accessibility helps students with physical disabilities perceive information with their senses.

  • Captions help students who are hard of hearing.
  • Alt text helps students with vision challenges who use screen readers.
  • Accessible, digital documents mean assistive technologies can be used.

Digital accessibility strategies

Three easy tips for classrooms.

  1. Play an audiobook while students follow along in a physical text. This helps students with accommodations feel welcome, normalizes accommodations, and bimodal presentation helps all learners remember what they read.
  2. Turn on captions in Google Slides at the front of the classroom while you're teaching. The research shows that this practice helps everyone in class learn, from typical learners to learners with ADHD and autism.
  3. Share both digital and physical versions of readings and assignments. That way, learners can choose which they prefer, and learners with accommodations don't feel singled out.

Luis Pérez: Why digital accessibility is important to learning.

"We know from the neuroscience that variability and neurodiversity are present in every learning environment." Luis Pérez, Disability & Digital Inclusion Lead at CAST

Get the Guide to learn more.

Grab our free Accessibility Guide, led by Luis Pérez.