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Make Your Posts More Inclusive: 5 Easy Tips for Accessible Social Media

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab


Saturday, December 5, 11:30 am–12:20 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Mindy Johnson  
As education professionals, social media is part of our lives, for better or worse. But for our followers with disabilities, social media can feel like a party they weren’t invited to. You have the power to make your posts more accessible for your followers, and you can start right now.

Audience: Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty, Library media specialists
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Online tools, apps & resources
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
For Educators:
Citizen
  • Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
For Education Leaders:
Connected Learner
  • Participate regularly in online professional learning networks to collaboratively learn with and mentor other professionals.
Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

For better or worse, social media is part of our everyday lives as education professionals. We post life events on Facebook. We tweet about an article we just read. We post photos of our classrooms on Instagram. We network on LinkedIn without leaving the comfort of our own homes. But what if you can’t see those photos, or hear the voiceover in the video, or understand all the acronyms in the post? In those cases, social media feels like a party you weren’t invited to. But it doesn’t have to be that way; each of us has the power to make our social media posts more inclusive and more accessible for our followers. In this hands-on session, I will not only share five easy strategies you can use today to improve the accessibility of your posts, but I’ll show you how to do it.

By paying attention to the language we use in our posts, making sure we're not creating barriers for screenreaders with poorly-structured hashtags, describing the images we love to share, making sure the videos and audio clips we post are captioned and (ideally) audio described, and using link shorteners at the ends of our posts so those who use screenreaders don't have to listen to the long nonsense URLs we share, we make our posts more inclusive and overall just better for our followers. And by teaching these strategies to our students, we build empathy for those who might be different than ourselves. We start to see our posts as representations of our values rather than just commodities for likes and shares. We start to build a world where social media is first and foremost social. And in a better social world, we value diversity, inclusion, and equity through our expression and communication.

Outline

1. Overview of social media best practices and why accessibility considerations are important.
2. Hands-on experimentation: Plain language.
3. Hands-on experimentation: Hashtags.
4. Hands-on experimentation: Image descriptions.
5. Hands-on experimentation: Closed captions & audio description for video.
6. Hands-on experimentation: Link shorteners.
7. Putting it all together. Questions & follow-up via social media backchannel.

Supporting research

Social Media Accessibility from Queen’s University
http://www.queensu.ca/accessibility/how-info/social-media-accessibility

Social Media and Accessibility: Resources to Know (2015)
https://www.digitalgov.gov/2015/01/02/social-media-and-accessibility-resources-to-know/

Minnesota IT Services: Social Media
https://mn.gov/mnit/programs/accessibility/social-media.jsp

SSB Bart Group: Accessibility in Social Media (2013)
http://www.ssbbartgroup.com/blog/accessible-social-media/

Social Media Accessibility (ISTE Inclusive LN Playground Station, 2016)
https://docs.google.com/document/d/14Dh4_UHNYnvNf7QdJ--Y4OzyJrYuutyLGIrlZRqdo_g/edit#

Social Media Accessibility Guidelines
Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Toolkit: developed to empower people with disabilities to use social media for disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
http://emergency20wiki.org/wiki/index.php/Social_Media_Accessibility_Guidelines

DigitalGov’s Social Media Community of Practice
http://www.digitalgov.gov/communities/social-media/

How to Be More Accessible on Social Media (2016)
http://siteimprove.com/blog/accessible-social-media/

Supporting Accessibility on Social Media: A Bufferchat Recap
https://blog.bufferapp.com/supporting-accessibility-on-social-media-a-bufferchat-recap

15 Things to Know About Twitter’s Alternative Text for Images
https://www.lireo.com/15-things-to-know-twitter-alternative-text-images/

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Presenters

Photo
Mindy Johnson, CAST

Mindy Johnson is the Director of Digital Communication & Outreach at CAST. She is a former high school special education teacher and instructor for the Boston Museum of Science Overnight Program, providing insight into UDL implementation in informal learning environments. She is also one of the co-founders of #UDLchat on Twitter and coordinates the digital outreach activities (web and social media) for CAST. Mindy is the 2019-2020 President of ISTE’s Inclusive Learning Network and was part of the Technical Working Group for the development of the 2018 refresh of the ISTE Standards for Educators.

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