Accessible materials for all students

The RÉCIT Inclusion and Special Education team helps you answer the question, "Are my materials accessible for all my students?" The goal is to make school personnel aware of the accessibility needs of students. 

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ATTENTION! The English translation is automated - Errors (sometimes hilarious!) can creep in! ;)

As part of the Digital Education Day, RÉCIT organized a conference entitled: "Are your documents accessible for all your students?" The main objective of this meeting was to raise awareness of the accessibility needs of students. 

This conference was moderated by Marie-José Harnois and Martin Gagnon, educational advisor at the RÉCIT National Service for Inclusion and Special Education.

What are we talking about when we talk about accessibility?

The Inter-ministerial Delegation for the Disabled (France) defines accessibility as follows: 

"Accessibility enables the autonomy and participation of people with disabilities by reducing or eliminating discrepancies between their abilities, needs and desires on the one hand, and the various physical, organizational and cultural components of their environment on the other. 

Accessibility requires the implementation of complementary elements, necessary for any person with a permanent or temporary disability to move around and access freely and safely the living environment and all places, services, products and activities. By adopting this accessibility approach, society also improves the quality of life of all its members.

Indeed, there is a continuum towards inclusive education for all. To get there, the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation talks about going beyond integration and inclusion in school to the so-called and desired inclusive education. In inclusive education situations, the school seeks to adapt a priori to the diversity of the students as a whole. The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation also speaks of inclusive pedagogy or universal pedagogy. By acting on the barriers to learning, the school seeks to develop the full potential of each individual according to his or her aptitudes and interests, in a perspective of lifelong and broad-based learning.

In addition, Nadia Rousseau defines inclusive education in her book The Pedagogy of Inclusive Education, using the following terms:

"Inclusive schooling is simply based on the fact that the school project cannot be reduced to the development of disciplinary knowledge and skills; a society that chooses to have a school system plays a major role in the identity development of its young members. The inclusive school is one that goes beyond normalization. Rather, it is part of a logic of denormalization in the sense that it considers individual differences as part of the norm.

What are the reasons why I should be concerned about the accessibility of my documents?

  • Working around students' learning difficulties
  • Save the teacher time a priori
  • Enabling all students to succeed
  • Offer age level content to students (special education policy)
  • Have high expectations of students (SSC report, October 2017).
  • Enable learners to be autonomous
  • Promote the social integration of all
  • Etc.

What software and applications can help me design accessible documents?

Accessibility Check option in : 

There are digital tools that allow school personnel to make their educational content accessible to all students. Tools such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint make this possible. In addition, we have examples of sites and software such as Screencast-o-matic, Obs studio, Camstudio, Camtasia, Powtoon, cMap, Canva, Wooclap, etc.

For example, how do you make a video conference accessible?

  • Integrated speech synthesis in the chat area (Teams)
  • The ability to see the presenter in screen share (adjust the format) (Monosnap, Camera, Stream)
  • Real-time meeting transcription 
  • Document sharing and notes directly in the videoconferencing application 

To view the presentation given at Digital Education Day 2020.

Watch for the Spring 2023 issue of École branchée magazine The theme of this year's conference will be Inclusive Education: Bringing Diversity Together.

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About the Author

Fatimazzahra Benchekri
Fatimazzahra Benchekri
Fatimazzahra is a master's student in educational technology at Laval University. Passionate about reading and writing, she has decided to devote her time to writing in a field in which she feels she is growing, education. With a background in journalism and political science, Fatimazzahra sees education as an ever-changing field where anyone is welcome to share their ideas and motivations.

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