There isn’t a teacher I know that wouldn’t love to update their classroom with the newest, best, and most supportive and accessible materials to ensure the success of all their students. When creating an environment that fosters the use of technology, such as putting together a computer lab or computer station, there are specific factors that one must keep in mind to create an environment that enables all students to learn to the best of their ability. For this post we will look specifically at creating computer workstations vs an entire computer lab as work stations are more economically feasible in situations where budgets may be tight.
One of the minimum requirements in outfitting computer stations is the ratio of general purpose stations to a minimum number of accessible stations. According to a report by Temple University this ratio should include at least one accessible work space for 1-25 general purpose stations and two accessible spaces for 26-50 work stations. This number continues to grow as the number of general purpose stations increase, however for the sake of a general K-12 public school setting, most schools in my district would not have more than 50 individual work stations thus I’m basing my facts on the environment in which I would directly work with.
In addition to having these stations present the stations must be equipped with signage designating their purpose and acknowledging that a person with need for the accessible space may be asked to move if necessary for another student with such need. The work space that features the technology must also have 27 inches of clearance from the ground to the surface the technology rests on, with a minimum side to side width of 30 inches. The depth of the work space will need to need to be within 17 -25 inches and the total top of the work surface between 28 and 34 inches. These measurements will allow for maximum use of the area by users that have a variety of accessibility difficulties.
When it comes to specific technology the following items are basics required with average costs that are necessary to provide an accessible environment to users needing assistance: a 21 inch adjustable monitor ($100), a Trackball or Trackball equivalent mouse ($20), touch pad ($25), Book edge scanner ($150), sound card ($20), large print keyboard ($25), and wrist/forearm rests($25). These items added to the average low end cost of an accessible desk ($350) equal a low ball park figure of $705 to put together one accessible work station sans the hard drive that will run the entire set up. This cost is only a low figure as each of the above items could be significantly more depending upon the quality that one wishes to outfit the station with. Additionally, the inclusion of a document enlarger, document camera, tray loading CD/DVD drive, and adjustable table will help to provide an optimal experience for the user but also increase the base level cost of the set up.
Accessible Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2017, from https://accessibility.temple.edu/policies-guidelines/standards-and-guidelines/computer-lab-accessibility-guidelines