US Dep’t. of Education Clarifies Rules on eReaders in the Classroom

The US Dep’t. of Education has just released a new set of guidelines on how eReader and other new technologies should be made accessible  to the disabled. The new rules were released not as actual regulations but as an open letter to college and university presidents.

You might recall that back in 2009 several universities launched Kindle DX pilot programs. Several of these schools were then used because the KDX was not accessible to the blind. Even to this day, most eReaders are still not accessible to the visually disabled.

Here’s the key paragraph with the new ED directives:

As officials of the agencies charged with enforcement and interpretation of the ADA and Section 504, we ask that you take steps to ensure that your college or university refrains from requiring the use of any electronic book reader, or other similar technology, in a teaching or classroom environment as long as the device remains inaccessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision. It is unacceptable for universities to use emerging technology without insisting that this technology be accessible to all students.