Thursday, November 12, 2009

Education Week: Schools Shun Kindle, Saying Blind Can't Use It

Education Week: Schools Shun Kindle, Saying Blind Can't Use It.

I thought this was hilarious. The first sentence reads, "Amazon's Kindle can read books aloud, but if you're blind it can be difficult to turn that function on without help." Because of that difficulty, two universities have stated they will not adopt the technology. They universities further stated that they cannot adopt the kindle because it is against their policy to discriminate when they know the Kindle discriminates against the blind.

I was curious. I consider myself ridiculously liberal in most areas, and probably overly politically correct, but am I missing something here? Do these universities also shun textbooks, because, clearly, they are discriminatory towards the blind, and they do not have an audio on feature at all. Now, some of you might argue, that textbooks can be recorded and be given to blind students. But doesn't that involve needing many sighted people to help read, record, and deliver the material to the student? And if that is okay, can we ask someone help with that feature. I know they exist, but I have not seen too many computers in university labs with braille built into them. Many operating systems (Windows and Mac) have tools for visually impaired users such as enlarging text on the screen and commands that are read to the user as the cursor passes over them, but if one cannot see to turn those features on, they are in the same boat as the Kindle.

History notes that the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason started in the early 1600's and ended right around 1800. The reading of this article seems to suggest that this might be true.

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