EASI Webinar: Accessibility in Social Media: Second Life

I meant to liveblog this when I took these notes, but it has been a crazy week and I am only now getting them put up. These are from the EASI Webinar series going on now about accessibility in social media. I will try to do something like this for the other portions of the excellent series.

Second Life and Opportunities of a 3D Platform
Denise Wood, Janyth Ussery, Charles Morris

3:30AM in Australia!!!

Denise in SL for teaching at U South Australia
funding for researching accessibility issues and solutions
ethnographic, interviews, participant observations

Virtual Helping Hands >> Charles & Janyth

– Access to education
– opportunities for employment
– increased socialization
– social networking
– entertainment
– equal access for everyone

Janyth from Texas State Technical College

Advantages of SL
training we cannot afford to do
social presence for distance learning
normal chatroms and IM offers some presence, but this extends this

collaborate in real time
learn from others
teaching classes
meetings and conferences
saves travel costs
at least one meeting or conference each week
VHH meetings in SL (one via Skype)

3D worlds:
– engaging environment
– flexibility in attendance
– sense of community
– problem solving skills
– simulations of things no possible in real life
– increased creativity
– team work & communication skills

students design their own learning space “classroom”
– frat house
– roman ruins
– egyptian pyramids

Dance interaction

Why teach in virtual worlds
– changing demographic
– students working more, full time jobs
– less time on campus
– feeling more isolated
– need for community connection with U
– stdts growing up with digital technology
– need for life long learning skills
– multimodal presentations more normative

students creating jungle game in collaborative team, but never met in RL

– simulations
– game design
– theatre & opera
– machinima
– quests
– historical re-enactments
– politics, governance, civics
– business, financial modeling

Business Etiquette class / simulation
fancy dinner
digital media teaching via SL
job skills
critical thinking
corporate communication
the interview dinner >> dining experience

equal success in simulation environment as in real life
roleplay from cocktails through courses to

– steep learning curve for students
– some stdts found communication difficult
– interface challenging
– bandwidth restrictions
– students must have access to SL
– accessibility concerns
– cognitive load can complicate learning for some
– areas of Australia have no network, or only wireless (hundreds of dollars a month)

must ensure no student is isolated from the desired learning experiences

– Virtual word viewers not accessible to screen readers
– graphical texture based interfaces need alt text like descriptions & controls
– user interfaces not accessible to screen readers, don’t support alternative accessive devices
– user generated content not accessible
– tab-indexes need to be provided and organized into a logical order between links and options

solution efforts
– provision of audio message
– text list of avatars in vicinity
– all users to add descriptive text, and long desc for posters and slides
– closed captioning for videos, synchronized streaming captions
– text transcriptions for streaming audio and voice chat

existing solutions
– alternate viewers
– Max Voice Plus application
– Virtual Guidedog project
– SecondAbility mentors
– user contributed tools and solutions
– other organizations and projects
– community at large

how do we make VW accesible to those who are differently abled?
Disabilities Unlimited
Virtual Ability Inc.

– investigate accessibility issues for students with disabilities
– ID available accessibility solutions
– extend existing solutions to develop OPEN SOURCE accessible 3d virtual learning platform
– create accessible teaching tools
– develop guidelines for teaching in 3d virtual worlds and designing accessibile learning technologies

* develop accessible open source viewer (AccessGlobe):
– enhanced accessibility of menus
– alternatives to mouse driven interface elements
– audio notification of on-screen events
– text-to-speech
– visual notification of sound events

AccessGlobe is modification of SnowGlobe viewer
GPL license
available for OpenSIm

web-based system enables 3D presentations
– access to chat & message
– screen readable display of slide text
– mobile support (iPhone)
– audio stream information

such a lightweight application runs really well in mobile and poorly networked environments

challenge: have to refresh chat
frame view no good for screen readers
trying Ajax – ARIA solution, some bumps in it

MediaAccess Australia collaboration

ARIA allows ordering of events?
instead of refreshing can append text to end
add button to hear all text chat history if they come in late


2 responses to “EASI Webinar: Accessibility in Social Media: Second Life

  1. Pingback: The Blind Buzz on Accessibility « The Blind Buzz

  2. Pingback: EASI Webinar Series on Social Media and Accessibility « Virtual Imaginings

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