New Accessibility Features in iOS 10

Our Instructional Technology Student Assistant, Kristen Szuman, did some research into new accessibility features available in iOS10 (if you missed her first post on iOS accessibility, find it here). She turned up some interesting features, including a camera magnifier, color display adjustments, voicemail transcripts, and more. Read on!


Apple has long been an innovator in the field of accessible technology. As one of the world’s foremost and most popular brands, Apple has been continuously raising the bar for technological accessibility; their release of iOS 10 was no different. Advertised as their “biggest release yet,” Apple’s iOS 10 featured many new and innovative accessibility features that work directly with the operating system, eliminating the need for additional app or tech support. Here are some of the new accessibility features available in iOS 10.

iOS 10 Camera Magnifier

With iOS 10 you can now use your built-in iSight camera as a Magnifier with a customizable user interface. The Magnifier allows you to access the camera flash, gives you the ability to lock focus and take a screencap, and adjust color filters to increase contrast or color settings for easier viewing. This new feature not only has practical everyday applications for everyone, but also is especially helpful for anyone who may be visually impaired in some way.

  • To enable the Magnifier: Settings>General>Accessibility>Magnifier
  • To access the Magnifier: Triple-click the home button

Color Display Adjustments

With Apple’s fall launches, they have expanded their iOS, macOS, and tvOS, to include color adjustments to assist with color blindness by adding the ability to tint the entire display a certain color. Apple has included new color options such as Grayscale, Red/Green Filter (for people with protanopia), Green/Red Filter (for people with Deuteranopia), Blue/Yellow Filter (for people with tritanopia), and a more general Color Tint.

  • To enable Color Display Adjustments: Settings>General>Accessibility>Display Accommodations>Color Filters
  • To access Color Display Adjustments: Automatic once enabled

Voicemail Transcripts

iOS 10 now supports Voicemail Transcriptions as do many of the major US cell phone carriers. Voicemail Transcriptions transcribe the words that are spoken on voicemail messages and display the text right in the voicemail section of the built-in Phone app on your iPhone. Voicemail transcripts are useful for everyone but offer new communication opportunities for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

  • Carriers that Support Voicemail Transcription
  • To enable Voicemail Transcription: If you have upgraded to iOS 10 and your cellphone carrier supports Voicemail Transcription, it should be automatically enabled on your iOS device
  • To use Voicemail Transcription: When you select a voicemail message the first time, the audio will playback automatically when you tap it to see the transcript. If you’ve already listened to a message, it will not playback the next time you read it.

Wheelchair Fitness

With the launch of watchOS 3, the Apple Watch has become capable of tracking the activity and fitness of wheelchair users. The device will track pushes, rather than steps, and encourages users to meet daily goals, burn more calories and provide notifications to keep moving throughout the day. While this feature is only available built into the new Apple Watch series, this is a new and innovative way to track fitness that will assist many wheelchair users.

Siri Updates

iOS 10 has opened up a whole new world for app developers as Apple has now begun to allow third-party apps access to Siri. Using apps such as Square Cash, Venmo, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and The Roll, an iOS 10 user can now access Siri to perform simple tasks, such as sending money to a friend via Venmo or searching for pet photos in The Roll. You are also now able to send messages in third-party messaging apps, such as Skype, WhatsApp, and WeChat, using Siri. Additionally, ride-sharing apps are now partnered with Siri, so calling an Uber is now as simple as asking Siri to do so. As an easily accessible app, the addition of Siri in third-party apps have made those apps increasingly user-friendly and accessibility-friendly. While the motor control needed to swipe through pages of apps and repeatedly click and type may have been difficult for some individuals, the new addition of Siri in third-party apps now removes some potentially difficult physical barriers.

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Open Access Week 2016, Open in Action, Starts Today!

Open in Action Logo

Today marks the beginning of International Open Access Week. This year’s theme is “Open in Action.” To celebrate, we are posting with the hashtag #ConnCollegeOA on Twitter throughout the week, multiple times a day. Follow us to learn about Open Access, why Open Access matters, how to participate and make your work more widely available.

If you can’t wait to read our tweets (or dislike Twitter!), you can read the series of blog posts I wrote two years ago during Open Access week:

Day 1: Happy Open Access Week!
Day 2: What is Open Access
Day 3: Local to Global Open Access
Day 4: Is Your Work Still Yours?
Day 5: Teaching Open Access

To learn about Open Access workshops, events, seminars happening all over the world, click on the map below!

Exciting Workshops Just Ahead! Wikipedia, Scalar, Tableau and More…

We are very excited for our next Teaching with Technology workshops and hope you can join us! We promise you will leave these workshops inspired and excited to try new tools in the classroom and in your own research. Also, don’t forget we are hosting the Data Fair this week in Shain Library!

Wikipedia Assignments for Developing Literacies
Wednesday, September 28, 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Haines Room, Shain Library lower level
In addition to adding much needed diversity and authority to Wikipedia, Wikipedia editing assignments teach students many important skills and requires them to think critically about information. Join us to discuss the value of Wikipedia editing and how to incorporate these assignments into your classes. Please bring your own computer for the hands-on portion.
Register

Digital Publishing and Visualization Platforms: Scalar and Tableau
Thursday, October 20, 3:00-4:00 PM
PC Classroom, Shain Library lower level
WordPress is not the only free publishing platform on the block for digital projects. Come learn about Scalar, a free online platform built by the University of Southern California. Great for incorporating multimedia formats into your text, Scalar is easy to use and looks beautiful. Tableau is a free platform for building interactive visualizations with your data. You can then embed your creations into WordPress and Scalar sites, or anywhere else you publish to the web.
Register

Data Fair September 26-29!

Connecticut College is a member of ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research), a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences. It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields. We have written about this amazing resource on the blog, in Andrew Lopez’s post The JSTOR of Data Archives.

We invite you and your students to join us for the ICPSR  Data Fair being held next week, which “aims to introduce, engage, and help the data community manage through the ongoing Data (R)Evolution.” We will be broadcasting Data Fair events in the Davis Lab all this week. You will find the schedule below, and on the ICPSR website.

ICPSR Data Fair Poster

Sharing stories, building community

IMG_1633
Workshop presenters Ashley Hanson, Caroline Park, Laura Little, Ariella Rotramel, Joyce Bennett, and Hisae Kobayashi at SCSU.

Last Friday and Saturday Southern Connecticut State University held its 22nd Women’s Studies Conference, and a delegation from Connecticut College was there to represent! The conference theme – #FeministIn(ter)ventions: Women, Community, Technology – provided a perfect opportunity to share some of the technology-rich courses and projects that have been undertaken at the College, and to hear from colleagues about the successes and challenges of such ventures. At our roundtable workshop/discussion, we described the practices we collectively endorse and the activities we’ve been a part of, highlighting the collaborative spirit that developed among this mixed group of faculty, librarians, and instructional technologists as we prepared for the conference itself. Some of the projects we talked about have been the subject of Engage blog posts, including Hisae Kobayashi’s Twitter project, Ariella Rotramel’s Wikipedia project, and the various tele- and web conferencing activities we support, including Joyce Benett’s organization of a personalized Yucatec Maya course for a student. Caroline Park spoke about feminist music technology, bringing up gendered and racialized technical jargon in the context of creative art and sound projects, and the ongoing process of critically navigating that dynamic in the classroom and outside of it. Guided by Ashley Hanson, participants and presenters alike had a chance to role up their sleeves to do some mind mapping, which provided rich material for our discussion, and exciting ideas for the future. Feel free to check out our slides if you have time.

Endorsing as we do collaborative projects and approaches, we were somewhat disheartened to learn from one of our workshop participants that they are not so easily implemented in the K-12 environment as they are in higher education. Library Media Specialist Jill Woychowski enlightened us about filtering practices in federally funded schools that limit not just access to potentially harmful web sites, but also to ones that enable collaborative projects or contain content related to many common Gender and Women’s Studies topics. This conversation led us to wonder, as a group, about the impact on students as they transition to college and their development of critical metaliteracy skills. What do you think? Should students be sheltered from the “real world” of the Internet? How does a lack of access to collaborative platforms and to the contested territories of the public sphere affect our students’ ability to do research and to co-construct knowledge at the college level?

The Dilley Room Is Back!

Students in Professor Andrea Baldwin's Gender/Sexuality/Race in Caribbean Culture class participated in a discussion-based presentation with Dr. Tonya Haynes at the Institute for Gender & Development Studies at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill in Barbados.
Students participate in a discussion with Dr. Tonya Haynes at the Institute for Gender & Development Studies at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill in Barbados.

Over the January break we installed a new, state-of-the-art videoconferencing system in the Dilley Room, located on the third floor of Shain Library. The room’s Cisco SX80 videoconferencing system enables connection to other locations with similar or compatible systems. Faculty can share high quality video, audio and course content with students at the other sites, including, but certainly not limited to, Trinity College and Wesleyan University.

For example, an advanced Russian course with a small enrollment taught at Connecticut College can include students at Trinity College, with the Trinity students using their own videoconferencing site to participate in the class from their own campus. To use the system, the faculty member simply connects her laptop and calls up the Trinity classroom using the controls on the wall panel. At Connecticut College, students will see the laptop content on one screen and the Trinity students on the other. At Trinity, students will see the course content on one display and the professor on the other. Built-in high quality microphones and speakers at each site allow for live lectures and discussions between the two rooms. Two sophisticated cameras allow users to see the room from multiple angles, in addition to being able to zoom in on individuals, small groups, or the chalkboard.

The room also supports projection from laptops, a built-in DVD player, or VCR (by request). Contact Media Services for assistance at x2693. The room is also well-suited for web conferencing using software such as Zoom or Skype. We recently announced the availability of web conferencing kits that enhance the video and audio quality of your sessions. Kits are available at the Digital Scholarship and Curriculum Center. Finally, the room also offers built-in phone conferencing. If you are looking to utilize the videoconferencing system or would like to borrow a web conferencing kit, Mike Dreimiller, x 2093, can help.

The technology in this room was funded by a generous grant from the Alden Trust Foundation, and is one of the many technologies available in the library funded through this grant.

The Return of the “Digital Natives” – r u ready? ;)

Children with TechnologyThe relative quiet of summer gives faculty time to think deeply and ambitiously about course structure and assignments. Whether you’re developing a new course or tweaking a familiar one, the syllabus likely includes technology-dependent activities – maybe the familiar Moodle discussion board or a novel hashtag project. As you put on the finishing touches and plan your “Welcome to this course” talk, it may be worth pausing to consider what assumptions you’ve made about your students’ experience with and access to technology. What digital tools will they need to be successful in your course?

We often assume that our students  are “digital natives” – that they intuitively navigate websites and apps, readily adopt and easily adapt to new platforms, and possess an enviable, seemingly inborn ability to solve nonchalantly the kinds of technology challenges that inspire fear and loathing in their pre-millennial “digital immigrant” forbears.

For technology-rich courses and assignments, this would be a most convenient state of affairs. Students would dive into Google Drive, iMovie, WordPress, Skritter, and all the other resources we offer at Conn with little need of guidance or the waste of precious class time. Unfortunately, our experience working with students on technology assignments does not support this version of reality. Fortunately, we have some research to support our anecdotal data.

The notion that technology competence is a function of one’s year of birth was the subject of an excellent study in the British Educational Research Journal in 2009. Authors E. Helsper and R. Enyon ask, simply, in their title: “Digital Natives: where is the evidence?” By distinguishing the “being” from the “doing,” as they put it, they are able to conclude that while young people do use the internet more, differences in experience, education, and self-efficacy make for a wide range of digital literacy among them. Their call for a research-based approach to the matter is echoed and amplified in Deconstructing Digital Natives (2011), the authors of which analyze the products, processes, and perceptions of young people in various digital contexts around the world. They urge us to adopt a more pluralistic view of the term itself and demonstrate how discipline-specific investigations can enhance our understanding of what and how students are learning online.

While it’s indisputable that students are surrounded by technology, they may be adept at using it in ways that have little to do with the kind of work they need to do for your class. Or they may not be adept, having had limited access to mobile devices, scholarly databases, and other resources. We know from the 2014 MISO survey that not all Conn students own smartphones, for example, so if you were to require an app for your course, you’d want to think about options for those without.

In any case, Information Services offers resources that can help! You can invite an instructional technologist to your class to show students how Moodle or Google Drive works, or propose a DELI course that will provide all students in a course with the particular technology they need. Finally, if you would like to run your technology-infused assignments by a colleague, plan to join us on September 10 at the “Workshop your Technology Assignments” event or contact your Instructional Technology liaison.

Image credit: “digial natives” Juan Cristóbal Cobo on Flickr, used under CC BY 2.0 license

We’re Back!

Actually, we’ve been here all summer long but we’re back posting on the blog. Here’s a preview of exciting things to come this semester. Stay tuned for more detailed blog posts over the coming weeks!

  • Some changes to Moodle 
  • Expanded, updated and instructionally robust online library research subject guides
  • Connecticut College’s first ever online library guide created for first-year students using Whistling Vivaldi to guide students through the research process and connect them to library resources
  • View our upcoming Teaching with Technology workshops scheduled throughout the semester
  • Our first instructional technology reading group – we’ll be reading Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology
  • Efforts to decrease student textbook costs, give you full control over course content, and offer new modes of content delivery through the use of Open Educational Resources
  • Updates from the current group of Technology Fellows
  • … and more!!

We’ll start with Moodle updates next week!

Blogging Vacation!

Eugène Boudin (French, 1824 - 1898 ), On the Beach, 1894, oil on wood, Chester Dale Collection
Eugène Boudin (French, 1824 – 1898 ), On the Beach, 1894, oil on wood, Chester Dale Collection, Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

We are taking the month of July off! While we will still be in the office, our time will be focused on projects and planning for the upcoming academic year.

We had a great year, thank you for keeping up with us. Since we started the blog in July 2013, we’ve published 129 posts in 35 categories which were viewed over 4,400 times. This past year we began to reach a global audience – including multiple visits from India, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Ukraine, Philippines, Spain, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Argentina and more.

We will be back at it in August. Best wishes for a wonderful summer!

Shain Reopening Events for Faculty

IMG_0255If we have been quiet on the blog it can be attributed to the busy, final preparations to reopen Shain Library a full five months early! We are very excited to welcome everyone back into the building (it is lonely in here!) and share all the new and exciting changes. After break we will offer several events for faculty to show off the new spaces, technologies and services available to you and your students. Register for and add these events to your calendar before the break!

What’s New in the Library!
Friday, March 27, 2:30-3:30 pm –Register here
Thursday, April 2, 9:30-10:30 – Register here
Davis Room, Main Floor, Shain Library
Faculty, please join Chris Penniman, Carrie Kent and Information Services staff for refreshments and a tour of Shain Library. The library will have many new exciting spaces, technologies and services available to you and to your students. We will focus how the renovated library can best serve you in your research and teaching endeavors.

Introducing the Visualization Wall
Wednesday, April 8, 11:30am -1:00pm – Register here
Location: The Visualization Wall, Technology Commons, Lower Level Shain Library
Join us at the brand new Diane Y. Williams ‘59 Visualization Wall for a demonstration of some of its exciting capabilities, including a visually dazzling high-resolution display, touch-enabled interactivity, and simultaneous display of up to five computers or devices. Bring your laptop or mobile devices to experiment with connecting to the wall. We will answer questions, demonstrate various uses, and discuss ideas for projects and events, as well as future capabilities we hope to explore. Organized by Lyndsay Bratton and Mike Dreimiller.