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Wednesday, 30th June 2010

U.S. Dept. of Education/U.S. Dept. of Justice Sends "Dear Colleague" Letter Re: Kindle Usage in Higher Ed

From the U.S. Department of Education/U.S. Department of Justice:

The new 'Dear Colleague' letter is in response to the use of Kindle electronic book readers by certain colleges and universities. Kindle devices are not accessible to students who are blind or those with low vision. While many of the devices have a text-to-speech function, which "reads" on-screen print out loud, they lack menus and controls that individuals who are blind or have low vision can navigate.

The Department of Justice recently entered into settlement agreements with colleges and universities that used the Kindle as part of a pilot project, and the Department of Education has resolved similar complaints against colleges and universities. As a result, the universities agreed not to purchase, require, or recommend use of Kindle devices, or any other electronic book reader that is not accessible, unless reasonable accommodations are made.

"Institutions of learning have an obligation to equal and accessible opportunities for all. Electronic book readers can and should be made accessible to individuals with disabilities by speaking text and menu options aloud while the user navigates the device, as well as tailoring other features for students who are blind and have low vision," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

See Also: Department of Ed Lays Down Law on Kindle E-Reader Usage (via The Journal)

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