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A11y to the Rescue: A Villainous Escape Room

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 119AB

Participate and share: Interactive session
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Lead Instructional Technologist
Old Dominion University
Chrystal Trapani is the Lead Instructional Technologist: Accessibility Architect with Digital Innovation, an adjunct instructor, and a doctoral student at Old Dominion University. She is a Google Certified Trainer and Instructure's Educator of the Year (2022). Chrystal blends her experience working with first-generation and non-traditional students, curriculum development, creating interactive and accessible online course content, digital accessibility, and training faculty in order to help them achieve positive student outcomes and success. In working with faculty, she helps her colleagues gain strong, working knowledge of how to make course content successful for students of all learning abilities.
Instructional Technology Manager
Old Dominion University
Kristin White is the Instructional Technologist Manager with Digital Innovation at Old Dominion University. She has been an integral part of ODU’s transition to remote teaching and continues to develop and facilitate faculty support on topics including Zoom, Canvas, VoiceThread, Kaltura, and other instructional technologies via workshops, consultations, videos, and support documentation. While building online interactive activities and working with faculty, she has noticed the absence of basic accessibility knowledge and does her best to inform and educate others on how to make content accessible to all learners.

Session description

Can you escape a fairy tale nightmare? Help A11y escape fairy tale villains while experiencing the same obstacles that disabled students encounter in digital spaces. Will you and your teammates successfully solve the escape room puzzles and return to reality, or will you end up as the old hag’s breakfast?

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this presentation is to bring better awareness and understanding to individuals involved in student success of the importance of digital accessibility. In participating in this session, individuals will gain empathy and tangibly experience what happens when digital accessibility is not considered.

By participating in this interactive session, participants will:
1. Review who is impacted by digital accessibility
2. Appraise why all digital course content must meet accessibility standards
3. Acquire accessibility resources
4. Solve a digital accessibility escape room

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I. Introduction and Objectives (5 minutes or less)
II. Explanation of activity (5-10 minutes)
A. What’s an escape room
B. What are the rules
C. How we’re going to complete this as a large-group activity
III. Escape room play through (30-35 minutes)
IV. Debrief of play through (10 minutes)
V. Share major resources and tools directly related to accessibility topics from activity covered in the game (5-10 minutes)

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Supporting research

Beninghof, A., & Singer, A. (1998). Ideas for inclusion: The school administrator’s guide. Sopris West.

Bradbury, N.A. (2016). Attention span during lectures: 8 seconds, 10 minutes, or more? Advances in Physiology Education, 40, 509-513.

Collins, D. (1999) Achieving your vision of professional development: How to assess your needs and get what you want (C. Ahearn, D. Nalley, & S. Chapman, Ed.). SERVE Publishing.

Cutting, J.E., Delong, J.E., & Nothelfer, C. (2010). Attention and the evolution of hollywood film. Psychological Science, 21(3), 432-9.

Defining Your Target Audience: What It Is and Why It’s Important. (2021). Indeed Career Guide. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from

Designing effective professional development considerations packet (2003). The College of William and Mary Training & Technical Assistance Center. Retrieved September 27, 2022.

Doran, G. T. (1981). There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives. Management Review, 70(11), 35–36.

Dukette, D., & Cornish, D (2009). The essential 20: Twenty components of an excellent health care team. RoseDog Books.

Elmalech, A., Sarne, D., David, E., & Hajaj, C. (2016 November). Extending workers’ attention span through dummy events [Paper presentation]. AAAI Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing.'_Attention_Span_Through_Dummy_Events

Guskey, T.R. (2000). Evaluating professional development. Corwin Press

Guskey, T.R. (2010). Professional development and teacher change, Teachers and Teaching, 8(3), 381-391.

Hall, G., Wallace, R., & Dossett, W. (1973). A developmental conceptualization of the adoption process within educational institutions. University of Texas: Research and Development Center for Teacher Education.

Hirsh, S. (2007, April). NSDC standards and tools help strengthen professional development. Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from

Metzger, E., Lubin, L., Patten, R.T., & Whyte, J. (2016). Applied gamification: Creating reward systems for organizational professional development. In: Ifenthaler, D., Bellin-

Mularski, N., Mah, D.K. (Eds.) Foundation of Digital Badges and Micro-Credentials (pp. 457-466). Springer.

Newcomb, E.T., Camblin, J.G., Jones, F.D., & Wine, B. (2019). On the implementation of gamified professional development system for direct care staff, Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 3(4), 293-307.

Pozzi, F., Donatella Persico, C.C., Dagnino, F.M., & Jurado Munoz, J.L. (2016). Gamifying teacher professional development: An experience with collaborative learning design, Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal, 29, 76-92.

Sera, L. (2017). Game on: The gamification of the pharmacy classroom, Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 9(1), 155-159.

Sparks, D., & Loucks-Horsley, S. (1989). Five models of staff development for teachers, Journal of Staff Development, 10(4), 40-57.

Woolwine, S., Romp, C.R., Jackson, B. (2019). Game on: Evaluating the impact of gamification in nursing orientation on motivation and knowledge retention, Journal of Nurses Professional Development, 35(5), 255-260.

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Session specifications

Equity and inclusion
Skill level:
Coaches, Professional developers, Teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices useful
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Subject area:
Career and technical education, Special education
ISTE Standards:
For Coaches:
Learning Designer
  • Collaborate with educators to design accessible and active digital learning environments that accommodate learner variability.
For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.
For Educators:
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
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