How can the use of accessible IT be promoted to K-12 educational entities?

DO-IT Factsheet #1162
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Whether you're a person with a disability, a parent, a developer, a vendor, an educator, or another advocate, promoting the use of accessible information technology to K-12 educational entities is a worthy cause. However, this mission can be difficult. Part of the difficulty stems from the fact that there are so many stakeholders involved in the process of selecting and procuring accessible information technology. Administrators, technology specialists, teachers, parents, students, therapists, and counselors are all appropriate audiences for promotion.

Once you have determined which of these audiences you wish to target, you must next identify the best way to reach them. A good place to begin locating key contacts is at each state's Department of Education; links are available from Educational Resources by Area [1] page. Also consider connecting with professional organizations to which K-12 administrators, educators, parents, and other educational staff members belong. You can often find links to these organizations through each state's Department of Education. After you have identified individuals and organizations, you can then begin to develop a plan to meet with key staff, attend events, deliver presentations, host exhibits, and/or send targeted mailings.

Another great way to reach K-12 education stakeholders is through conferences, events, and publications sponsored by national organizations and their local and regional affiliates. Delivering presentations, sponsoring poster sessions and exhibits, and publishing articles in sponsored publications are three ways to promote accessible information technology. Below are a few examples of national organizations and conferences worth checking out.

Special Education: Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) [2] hosts the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted.

Computers in Education: The National Educational Computing Conference [3] (NECC) is an annual forum for educational computing professionals to learn and share the newest applications of technology in education.

Technology for People with Disabilities: Closing The Gap [4] sponsors an annual international conference for exploring how technology can enhance the lives of people with disabilities.

Teachers: The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) [5] hosts an annual international conference to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning. Members include science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, and business and industry representatives.

Teachers and Technology: The Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) [6] includes among its societies and chapters the Society of information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) [7], which sponsors an annual conference that focuses on teacher training in the area of technology use.

Parents: Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers [8] links to regional parent training and information centers and community parent resource centers.

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