DIAGRAM Center Report

If you are an educator or parent of a student with disabilities, or a student with disabilities yourself, we hope this inaugural edition of the DIAGRAM Report will serve as a useful guide to some of the most important ways technology is changing the educational landscape for you. The DIAGRAM Report identifies six key technologies or technological trends having the biggest impact or potential for impact on the education of students with disabilities in the United States. Much a like a “horizon report,” the DIAGRAM Report offers a high-level overview of each technology or trend in order to offer information about relevant opportunities and challenges as well as resources and suggested next steps for those interested in pursuing more information.

The DIAGRAM Report is issued by the DIAGRAM Center, an initiative of Benetech funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs. The DIAGRAM Center is dedicated to research and development that will increase the availability and use of digital accessible educational materials so that students with disabilities have equal access to the general curriculum, including STEM educational content. In order to develop technical standards, digital tools, and best practice guidelines for accessible education, the DIAGRAM Center brings together an active and expert community of the leading education, technology, and accessibility experts from around the nation who are working on standards, tools and software, research, and training and outreach. To create this report, the DIAGRAM Center team used surveys and interviews of these experts to augment its research in order to arrive at the list of key six technologies, narrowing from a list of over 20 technologies that were under consideration. Enormous thanks go to the DIAGRAM Center Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Sub-Committee, and Working Groups for providing important insights and resources that have been included in the report. Special thanks go to the following individuals for their additional expert review: Sina Bahram, Jesse Greenberg, George Kerscher, Mario Konecki, Raja Kushalnagar, Richard Ladner, Clayton Lewis, Derek Riemer, and Neil Soiffer.

This 2017 DIAGRAM Report is the first in an annual series. Each year, we will refresh the report to include the latest information about the top technologies you should continue monitoring and add new technologies that should be on your radar. We therefore welcome your feedback so that the report can be improved and made more useful for you. One of the DIAGRAM Center’s goals is to increase knowledge sharing in this space, so we encourage you to share the DIAGRAM Report as well as additional resources you think others should know about. We hope this DIAGRAM Report can start a conversation in your classroom, school district, home, or workplace that will open new opportunities for technology to better serve students with disabilities.

Ideas that work.The DIAGRAM Center is a Benetech initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (Cooperative Agreement #H327B100001). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.

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