Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Opportunities for Libraries and Further Resources

Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Opportunities for Libraries and Further Resources

Article excerpt

Since librarians care about providing access for everyone of all ages and all abilities, it's important to have an understanding of how the move toward mobile computing with natural user interfaces can help our users. Understanding accessibility as part of a larger system that helps everyone will help keep it from being sidelined as an add-on for when we have extra time or extra money--and how often does that happen?

This report is meant to be a starting point to help you get a sense of where mobile learning is going. With this knowledge, you can begin to offer services that help your users leverage these technologies. Here are a few ideas to get you started with implementing this knowledge.

Create Guides, Online and in Print, That Recommend the Best Mobile Technologies

You could make guides to apps and devices using the Apple's accessibility categories, mentioned in chapter 1:

* vision

* hearing

* physical and motor skills

* learning and literacy

Alternatively, you could offer guides to particular apps and devices grouped by the categories of NUIs used in chapter 1:

* touch

* sound

* sight

An example might be a guide to apps that help you focus and concentrate--good for those with learning disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorder, but also useful for everyone. See "The Best ADHD iPhone and Android Apps of the Year" for some ideas.

Another idea might be creating a guide to the best touchscreen apps for studying human anatomy. There are many useful anatomy apps beyond the ones mentioned in chapter 1. See "The Best iPad Apps for Anatomy." Adapt these ideas to topics relevant to your communities.

The Best ADHD iPhone and Android Apps of the Year

www.healthline.com/health/adhd/top-iphone-android-apps

The Best iPad Apps for Anatomy

www.apppicker.com/applists/23751/the-best-ipad-apps-for-anatomy

Offer Workshops on How to Use These Technologies

Your library could also offer workshops, by your own staff or by invited experts. You could partner with your institution's office of accessibility or other experts in your community.

If you think of accessibility as for everyone, and not just for people with particular disabilities, it helps set the context for a more accessible world for all. Your workshops could be for a wider audience than just people with specific disabilities. Here are some workshop ideas:

* Talk to Your Devices: The Best Apps and Tools for Talking to and with Your Mobile Devices

* Listen to Your Readings: The Best Audio Narration Tools and Apps for Listening on the Go

* Supplement Your Language Learning with Google Translate: Useful Features for Communicating with Everyone

* iPhone and Android Accessibility Features for All: Learn How to Use Accessibility Features of Your Smartphone Whether or Not You Have a Recognized Disability

Provide Devices That People Can Use Together with Their Own Smartphones or Tablets, Such as Large Screens, Smart TV Systems, or Amazon Echo

Since there are so many useful applications for multiple devices, it makes sense for libraries to provide options for using those larger, more expensive devices that people may not have at home. You may outfit a special room with smart TV systems, for example, that can be reserved for use by groups with their smartphones and tablets.

Support Training for Your Staff in These New Technologies

When your staff has a basic familiarity with some of the options available, they can better assist users and point them to accessible solutions for their learning and knowledge creation. See the final section of this chapter for some recommended online courses.

Keeping in Touch

I hope you will implement some of the ideas for how librarians can empower their communities with this knowledge. …

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