Episode 8-Stroller Moments
0-0:12 Orthotonics Accessible as Gravity plays and fades out
0:13 Hello and welcome to Accessagogy a podcast about accessibility and pedagogy. I’m your host Ann Gagné and this podcast is recorded on Treaty 13 on the traditional land of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
0:29 Welcome to episode eight! This episode is going to be a bit shorter and a bit more reflective. In this episode we are going to be talking about stroller moments. What is a stroller moment you ask? Well stroller moments are moments when you deeply realize how inaccessible the world, your course, your institution, your workplace is, and you know that you want to do something about it.
0:59 Stroller moments is a term that I coined for when a colleague or friend would go on maternity leave and would start going out into the world with their stroller, or carriage or pram if you’re in the UK, because we are an inclusive terminology podcast here at Accessagogy, and realize that the stroller will not fit in the elevator, the bus, between the bollards at the store, and then I would receive a text message something along the lines of “Ann I really get it now.” And so that is what I like to call a stroller moment.
1:40 Stroller moments are when accessibility becomes personal. It’s when there’s, you know a moment and there is a lot to be said about those stroller moments. These stroller moments have sparked many an activist. And so today I want to talk about a couple of stroller moments that have happened since the pandemic, but also and not necessarily pandemic related, to maybe give you an idea of something to think about in terms of how to continue to help support having the tools and strategies that will help accessibility in our educational spaces.
2:22 So for many a big stroller moment was Zoom. All of sudden people realized that they could be part of classes, conferences, and meetings at home. Many asked themselves why didn’t we have access to this before? And then of course disabled and immunocompromised folk were saying hey, hi, um we’ve asked for this for ever, but thanks for realizing.
2:47 And so now we have a lot of these accessibility supports, but we are seeing them being pulled back almost like you know stroller moments have a time limit. Like when the baby becomes a toddler and you don’t really need to use the stroller as much anymore and then you forget how inaccessible things were in that first year.
3:08 Another stroller moment connected to this is when Zoom decided to start having automatic captions for everyone and not just for their paid accounts, and folk like myself could stop using this sort of open caption thing I was doing with Google slides for my meetings and webinars. It really streamlined things so much. It wasn’t perfect, it still isn’t, because automatic captions will never be the same as having you know, CART transcription, which is Communication Access Realtime Translation, or CART, but it really was a moment of increased accessibility for so many. Now folk with babies realized they could still follow that video or a live event while having it muted, because you know they were trying to put their child to sleep and they could follow with the captions. People who were commuting could also take advantage of the captions and they could now engage with these educational videos and resources even if they maybe happened to forget their earphones or earplugs at home.
4:12 Another stroller moment I like to mention that I see happening more and more actually is when institutions start putting in things like two-factor authentication. As more institutions put in some sort of two-factor authentication, people realize that a lot of people were not consulted in this decision that your college and university made, and they assumed that everyone from the instructors, to the staff, to the students, would have the same kinds of phones, or the same kind of space to download apps to help folk log into their accounts.
4:48 For some part of the accessibility of that stroller moment is, wait, I have 15 seconds to remember this six digit number and then I need to type it in where? And oh no now the number has changed and I now have to remember another number? Why can’t I copy paste these things? I’m sure this sounds very familiar to some of you.
5:08 Or extended to even more complex issues around why do I have to use my personal device for something that’s work related? And just how much information is my workplace now going to have about my personal life? People often do not realize how much these things can be barriers if the user design is poor, if people have not thought out how this is going to be implemented. And then folk can’t log into their learning management systems, can’t access their emails , or hand in assignments if they’re students. Like most things accessibility related the a ha moment of the stroller moment around this issue, is hmm, so who was in the meeting that decided this and why did they assume that we are all alike.
5:55 And so what I would really like to reinforce in this episode is to highlight some of these stroller moments that people are having in higher education, really brings up an opportunity to start bringing up these moments to the people around you, especially the ones you know make the decisions and to remind them, hey not all instructors are the same, not all staff members are the same, not all students all the same. We would not teach a course assuming that every learner in that space is coming into that educational space with the same background, the same lived experience, the same goals or even the same values. Then why are making these assumptions around when we implement new tools or new technology and then you know equally when we quickly take them away by saying, well no, no one needs these any more. This is so untrue, and one of the ways of supporting accessible pedagogy is, you know, being willing to have those hard conversations with people.
6:58 The other part of this conversation is that it shouldn’t take a stroller moment, right, it shouldn’t take one of those a ha moments that impact you directly as someone within higher education to see how important accessibility supports and changes to technology are to folk who are disabled, neurodivergent, immunocompromised, or even to folk who have different life experiences, like having to care for a child, or an elderly relative, or any kind of family member for example.
7:27 One of the things that I wanted to emphasize in our reflection in this episode is the importance of seeing outside of the smaller spaces that we function in our colleges and universities. Think about the impact that these choices make on the many people around us.
7:45 So that’s it, that’s episode 8 of Accessagogy with a bit of a reflective piece about stroller moments and that you know increased accessibility to many are now disappearing quickly and we really need to advocate for them.
8:00 Remember as well that I also want this to be a space where you can ask questions and share concepts that you would like me to discuss. So if there’s anything that I mentioned here about you know the stroller moments, or if you have a stroller moment that you want to share, please make sure that you reach out and share that with me.
8:18 If you have aspects of your pedagogy that you would like me to address in this podcast, please feel free to send them to me in my email at Accessagogy so that’s acc e ss a gogy at gmail dot com. I will try to include as many suggestions as possible in the podcast because ultimately this podcast is for you. So that’s it, that’s episode 8 of Accessagogy, thanks so much for following along and asking how can I make my space more accessible today? Have a great week!