[Accessibility] Linux in the classroom

Peter Korn Peter.Korn at Sun.COM
Mon Mar 28 16:58:23 PST 2005

Hi Sandy,

> I'm working on some proposals that might end up
> utilizing Linux Accessibility tools in regular
> classrooms.  
> Here is the part that has me a litle concerned.  What
> about the teachers?  You notice I'm not too concerned
> about the kids.  Most teachers have some understanding
> of the systems that they have been using from the
> standpoint of whatever software and OS they have been
> given.  They often aren't technical so they rely on IT
> support folks at their school, possibly AT support
> people, friends and relatives or even students and
> parents, for technical support.  They have to rely on
> training and documentation provided by the AT
> companies that they purchase special needs equipment
> for help.
> In your opinion, what is the current state of the
> documentation/training/support for linux accessibility
> solutions?   I'm not sure.  I know that there is an
> advantage to using Linux over the net to say
> Windows(argh) because much of the maintinace and
> installations can be done remotely.  

We don't yet have for Linux the wealth of information available in the Windows 
  world for using AT in the classroom.

The two best sources are the GNOME 2.10 Desktop Accessibility Guide at 
http://www.gnome.org/learn/access-guide/2.10/ (dated March 2005) and the Sun 
Java Desktop System Release 3 Accessibility Guide for Solaris & Accessibility 
Release Notes (currently describing the released Solaris 10, with updates 
coming for the forthcoming Solaris 10 Update 1 and Java Desktop System Release 
3 for Linux) on docs.sun.com: http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/817-7307 and 
http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/819-1781 respectively.

> Is anyone actively setting up ways to train teachers
> or end users in a way that makes it very very easy to
> adopt linux?

Not that I'm aware of.  GNOME Accessibility is there for early adopters, for 
folks who need access to graphical UNIX systems now and can't wait any longer. 
  It does NOT provide comparable access to the commercial Windows products for 
vision impairment - though it far exceeds the built-in magnifier in Windows; 
and for people with severe physical impairments GNOME is in my opinion a far 
better choice for many users over Windows.

I don't know of anyone working on teacher training materials.


Peter Korn
Sun Accessibility team

> Sandy Gabrielli
> Senior Software Engineer, Archimedes Hawaii Project
> University of Hawaii
> 879 N King Street
> Honolulu, HI 96817-4514
> Ph: (808) 832-3729
> FAX: (808) 832-3724
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> Accessibility at mail.freestandards.org
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