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The Next Generation of Accessible Materials: Born Accessible

| Proposal No: 910

Bios & Handouts


  • Lisa Wadors Verne, Director of Educational Research and Development, Benetech

Disability Area:          

Topic Area:                

Length of Session (in hours): 1-hrFormat: Lecture Expertise Level: Intermediate Type of session: Not provided

Summary of Session

The educational landscape is evolving with the growth of etextbooks and increasing use of visualized data. Benetech strives to help students with print disabilities meaningfully access the same materials as their peers.This session will discuss the tools that are available for creating this content.


There has been a fundamental shift in the way people with a without disabilities access information: eBooks, online courses, user-created materials, open educational resources, and the widespread use of graphics to convey information have created a “new normal” for how we teach and learn. While these resources are readily available, too many of them are not accessible. For people with visual and/or physical impairments and severe learning disabilities, often times they face barriers to printed text and images. To address the gaps in assessable educational content, however more and more educators are becoming content creators themselves. With technology driving the way students access educational materials, now is the time to change the way this content is created. We will discuss Bookshare and the DIAGRAM Center and how they are exploring ways to use touch-screen technology, tactile graphics, and smart images to make images more interactive and dynamic.


  1. Understanding the future of educational materials
  2. 1) Why is it important for educators to understand how content is created?
  3. 2) What are the tools available to educators to support the development of accessible content?

Speaker Bio(s)

Lisa Wadors Verne

Lisa Wadors Verne, Ph.D. is Director, Education Research and Development at Benetech, a nonprofit that empowers communities with software for social good. She serves as the Project Director for the DIAGRAM Center and is co-producer of the DIAGRAM Report, an annual brief about emerging technologies and their promise for kids with disabilities. Lisa has spoken about accessible educational materials and inclusive practices at many notable conferences around the globe. She has a doctorate in Special Education and Policy from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University, Joint Doctoral program with a focus on teachers’ beliefs about including children with special needs in typically developing classrooms. With nearly two decades in Educational research and application, Dr. Wadors Verne has particular expertise in special education policy and law, inclusion, and family and school collaboration. Dr. Wadors Verne holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing from Villanova University and an M. A. in Early Childhood Special Education from Santa Clara University.