Web for All

I had this topic on my queue of things to blog about and must admit that it had kind of faded from memory until I read this tweet from Ira Socol yesterday.

When you visit the links PC, Macintosh, you’re directed to the Collections page of add-ons for the Firefox web browser.  The goal of Mr. Socol’s collections is pretty evident in the descriptor "Make your browser accessible to virtually all students with this collection."

So, what’s the big deal?  A browser is a browser, right?  Well, not quite so.  In fact, if you follow Mr. Socol, you know that he is a champion for digital inclusion using technologies and techniques to help level the playing field for all students. 

Recently, I wrote a post asking if *I* could live in a browser.  As I think about it in the context of the above, a better question might have been "Could *everyone" live in a browser".  For some, the answer is no, if you’re using a bare bones browser.  But, with a little assistance, it becomes feasible.  Through the use of carefully selected Firefox add-ons, the "browser" can be reinvented to include more users.  I recall when I was using Firefox 3.# downloading and installing the MITS collection.  To my surprise, the collection of add-ons was very helpful and I found myself using many of them to enhance my own browsing experience.

In the best spirit of "Necessary for some, good for all", educators really should take a look at this collection.  In addition to the original audience, the package represents a very good collection offering in-browser utility and productivity for all students.

It may cause some chagrin for some that opt for a single browser so that it can be locked down and controlled centrally.  But, let’s not forget that the clientelle in education should have access to the best tools that are available.  There may come a time when these add-ons are available for all browsers but at this point, it’s only Firefox that does the job.  Educators need to evaluate these resources and, if they fit the bill, need to advocate to make them available for all students.

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One thought on “Web for All

  1. Great post, Doug!
    I am far more productive on my own computers that I can ever be at school because the tools(browsers) I use are not accessible. If that makes me less productive, how about the students? How long are they going to put up with using tools that do not maximize their productivity?
    Advocacy needs to continue and be taken up by students too. Right now it’s falling on deaf ears.


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