COD

  • CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Logo

    The Premier AT Conference

The Use of Browser Extensions as AT: Are We There Yet?

Description
Among changes in information and communication technologies are mainstream technologies that can be used by students with and without disabilities as assistive aids. We review the availability and usability of browser extensions and plug-ins for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari. Recommendations and security tips will be provided. The use of assistive technology is swiftly changing. Formerly the domain of assistive technology, tech such as word prediction, text-to-speech and speech-to-text are now being used by mainstream society to dictate a message while driving, read audiobooks and even make social media content. These tools are readily available on mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, the cost and purchase model of assistive technologies has changed from a one-time fee with updates from time to time, to yearly or even monthly subscriptions. This means that the up-front cost is more attainable. Browser extensions have the possibility to become the newest and most attainable tool that can be used by students, employees and those experiencing an impairment or disability. Browser extensions, have become more accessible to all students, including those with disabilities. Students can use many browser extensions as assistive aids to facilitate the completion of academic tasks such as reading, writing, notetaking and executive functioning. Browser extensions are available for the most popular browsers, including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. Some extensions such as Grammarly are available on all browsers, while some such as Read&Write are browser specific. Though these extensions can be exceedingly helpful, finding the best extension can be overwhelming for students with disabilities. Many do not work well and there is a risk of inadvertently downloading viruses. The presentation will expose the best extensions for post-secondary students with and without disabilities, discuss who can most benefit, and whether the extensions are an alternative to other more expensive and often more comprehensive assistive technologies. We will also provide information on how to protect oneself from viruses and other malware, while benefiting from the wide array of extensions available. Note that though the majority of the presentation will be directed to students, the information provided is equally useful for any person with a special need. For instance, whether you are using text-to-speech to read a textbook, read a work-related report, or read information about medication, the tool remains the same.  
Audience
  • Higher Education
  • K-12 Education
  • Employment & Human Resources
Audience Level
Beginning  
Session Summary (Abstract)
The presentation will expose the best extensions for post-secondary students with and without disabilities, discuss who can most benefit, and whether the extensions are an alternative to other more expensive and often more comprehensive assistive technologies.  
Session Type
General Track  
Topics
  • Education
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Employment & Workplace
  • Independent Living
  • Web

Presenter

  • Catherine Fichten
    Adaptech Research Network

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