[Athen] Making ESL materials accessible for blind students

Madeleine Rothberg madeleine_rothberg at wgbh.org
Wed Jan 18 14:41:26 PST 2017

One approach to describing images for foreign language learning (including ESL) is to describe the image in the student's native language. This makes the task more similar to what a sighted student is doing. For example, if the sighted student sees a kitchen with a stove, sink, and an open window, then they can try to say all of those words. If you have someone available who knows the student's native language, they could write that same description in that language, and then the student would be trying to say all of those words in English.


From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu> on behalf of "Pfau, Jillian" <Jillian.Pfau at montgomerycollege.edu>
Reply-To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Date: Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 2:45 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Making ESL materials accessible for blind students

Greetings colleagues,
And happy new year to you all! I’m reaching out for some suggestions on how to make ESL textbooks and workbooks accessible with JAWS for a completely blind user. These books contain very little text and are comprised mainly of images that are used to depict scenarios the student must describe in English… similar to any other foreign language textbooks.
There is no audio version of these books, so I am starting from scratch with .pdfs. However, any alt text that I might use for the images would essentially give the student the answer to the questions.
If anyone has any experience with remediating materials like this, I would love to hear your suggestions on how to proceed in making these accessible.
Thanks and best regards,
Assistive Technology Coordinator
Disability Support Services
Montgomery College
51 Mannakee St., CB116
Rockville, MD 20850

Tel. 240-567-5224
Fax. 240-567-5097

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