[games_access] Accessible Games

Lynn Marentette lynnvm at alltel.net
Mon Jan 2 12:39:36 EST 2006

Robert ,
(and others!)

I appreciated your comments on your most recent post.

I'm a school psychologist - some of the students I work with have very 
limited mobility- and some can not speak.   I've been taking computer 
classes part-time for the past two and 1/2 years- last year I took a 
game design class.  Since I wanted to design games that my students 
would like- and could play (since some of them have physical 
limitations),  I became interested in game accessibility.

I'm interested in physical game accessibility as well as using things 
such as icons, visual displays, auditory displays, earcons, and tactons 
etc.  to make the gaming experience more accessible- and enjoyable- for 
people with a wide range of disabilities.

(I've been a school psychologist for over 20 years, so none of this 
technology was available when I was in college.)

Are you familiar with Universal Design for Learning(UDL)?  Information 
about UDL can be found on the CAST website at www.cast.org.   I'd like 
to see the people involved in the Accessibility interest group take 
this concept and call it Universal Design for Gaming(UDG).   Key points 
would be as follows - perhaps on a voluntary basis to start:

	A certification system for game developers and related staff would be 
available to provide training about disabilities, adaptive and assisted 
technology, adaptive programming techniques, accessibility, UDL, and 
UDG principles.

	Games would be packaged with a UDG label, with an icon (earcon, 
tacton?) that represents how the game is accessible.

	Marketing and product management teams would also be provided with UDG 
training and certification.

         Why marketing?:   Games are now being marketed to schools, 
parents, older people, etc,

Here is some information from the CAST website regarding 3D and Virtual 
Reality applications and UDL- food for thought:

(This is from http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_vr.html
from a report prepared by Nicole Strangman and Tracey Hall
National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum)

Principles of the Universal Design for Learning Framework
Principle 1:  To support recognition learning, provide multiple, 
flexible methods of presentation
Principle 2:  To support strategic learning, provide multiple, flexible 
methods of expression and apprenticeship.
Principle 3: To support affective learning, provide multiple, flexible 
options for engagement.

Network-Appropriate Teaching Methods
To support diverse recognition networks:
	▪ 	Provide multiple examples
	▪ 	Highlight critical features
	▪ 	Provide multiple media and formats
	▪ 	Support background context
To support diverse strategic networks:
	▪ 	Provide flexible models of skilled performance
	▪ 	Provide opportunities to practice with supports
	▪ 	Provide ongoing, relevant feedback
	▪ 	Offer flexible opportunities for demonstrating skill
To support diverse affective networks
	▪ 	Offer choices of learning context
	▪ 	Offer choices of content and tools
	▪ 	Offer adjustable levels of challenge
	▪ 	Offer choices of rewards

I am writing a short paper on Universal Design for Learning/Universal 
Design for Gaming that I'll use as a reference during a module that I'm 
including in future workshops.

I will be presenting a 3-hour workshop at a couple of school psychology 
conferences on the topic:  Interactive Multimedia Technology: A Tool 
for Prevention and Intervention.  Although my workshop is geared for 
people who work in school settings, I'll be touching such as using 
off-the-shelf videogames for education, serious games/ simulations, 
etc, within the context of UDL.

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