Friday, September 3, 2010

Arizona State University Forced to Stop Using Kindles Until They're Functional for Blind People

Arizona State University has made a deal with the Justice Department to stop using popular electronic readers like the Kindle until they are made functional for the blind.

ASU is one of three universities participating in a pilot program that gave Kindles to students to see how they would work -- as opposed to actual books -- in the classroom.

The program started in May, 2009, and by June, two different groups representing the blind got all butt-hurt and filed a lawsuit claiming that by using the devices, the universities were violating the Americans With Disabilities Act because they weren't accessible to the blind.

The problem, according to the blind, is that while the devices have a function that will put text into speech, the menu on the Kindles doesn't -- making it tough for someone who can't see to navigate their way through the functions.

"Advancing technology is systematically changing the way universities approach education, but we must be sure that emerging technologies offer individuals with disabilities the same opportunities as other students," Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said in a statement. "These agreements underscore the importance of full and equal educational opportunities for everyone."

The agreement allows the universities to continue experimenting with the Kindles through the spring semester but says that after the spring, they will need to use a device that blind people can use, too.

Ever hear of books on tape?

Ahh, I have a question here, what is the difference between reading the Kindle and reading a book other than it is electronic. The blind can't read a book either, so what is the damn big deal?


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