Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Ian Hamilton posted a very nice short list of presentations that address accessibility on May 19th’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Please see the source article at his blog on

May 19th’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day is an an annual event ‘to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and users with different disabilities’. It runs across all industries, and this year saw a big increase in the game industry’s involvement.more Taking part can mean any level of involvement, all the way from a #gaad tweet to a conversation at work, going mouse-less for a day, all the way through to organising awareness raising events.

I usually chip in with a talk or two. This year I had one on mobile accessibility at Nordic Game and one on the past year’s advances as part of ID24. I’ve also been keeping an eye out for game accessibility related tweets, articles and so on, and have listed the ones I’ve come across below. I’ve also posted separately about some of my favourite quotes from the day.

Seeing the big increase on last year (including companies like Microsoft, Sony, Naughty Dog, Turtle Rock and Harmonix getting involved) has really been quite something, it can only lead to good things.


First up The Paciello Group hosted three live streamed talks as part of their ID24 event –

In gaming – some things should be easy, some should be challenging, everything should be inclusive

Bryce Johnson, XBox

Uncharted 4: A New Adventure in Video Game Accessibility

Emilia Schatz and Alex Neonakis, Naughty Dog, and Kevin Chung, Sony

Changing Tides: 2015’s Games Industry Accessibility Advancements

Ian Hamilton

Sony also put out the Uncharted overview video separately, which has seen a huge amount of interest from players of all level of ability and some decent press coverage too, raising bucketloads of awareness, which is of course what the day is all about. At time of posting there are around 70k views, and quite incredibly for youtube, almost universally positive comments left on it. And Tara Voelker of Turtle Rock put out a twitch stream about accessibility in Evolve, which is archived here:

#GAAD Tara talks about accessibility and Evolve

Articles & blog posts

Inclusive Gaming with XBox One

Barrie Ellis, OneSwitch

Uncharted 4 (PS4) accessibility

Barrie Ellis, OneSwitch

Possum ZX Spectrum

Barrie Ellis, OneSwitch

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Steven Spohn, AbleGamers

On Board Game Accessibility

Meeple Like Us

Making games accessible: thoughts and resources

Cloudy Heaven Games


And last but not least, a non-exhaustive collection of gamedev related tweets that went out under the #gaad hashtag

What does it all mean?

While all of this is great in itself, it’s a symptom of something larger.

No matter which way you look at gaming, whether it is the doors finally being open on accessibility in consoles and engines, the level of implementation in games, the number of talks at CSUN and average attendance at GDC accessibility talks, attitudes amongst the gaming community… they all paint the same picture, which is that accessibility in gaming is on an exponential curve.

But it isn’t a given, we can’t be complacent. We have to keep that momentum going. GAAD is only one day of the year, we need to keep on with this for the 364 too, keep the conversation going, keep letting people know that this matters.

The more people do that, the more lasting change we’ll see, and the more studios and gamers will be able to benefit from all that accessibility in games brings.

Reposted from personal blog

Gamasutra: Ian Hamilton’s Blog – Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

Source: Gamasutra: Ian Hamilton’s Blog – Global Accessibility Awareness Day

GAMES DUE APRIL 30! — Games for Change Student Challenge

Games must be submitted by April 30, 2016, at 11:59 PM.

You must submit your game using the submission form. Click the button above to access the form.

Games that don’t meet eligibility requirements won’t be considered. Please read below to confirm you’re eligible to participate, and what materials you will need to turn in!


  • Only middle and high school students currently enrolled in NYC public schools are eligible to submit. 
  • Your game must be playable through a web browser (use of a free browser plugin like Flash or Unity is allowed).
  • Early prototypes are acceptable, as long as you provide your full game concept in your submission.
  • Students can create and submit games as individuals, or in teams of up to 4 students.
  • Students under 18 will need permission from a parent/guardian to submit a game, even if you are part of a team.
  • Only NYC public middle and high school students are eligible to submit.

If you have any questions about eligibility, please send us an email, or have your parent/guardian or teacher get in touch!


  • Name your game!
  • You’ll need to submit a URL link to your game prototype. It should be playable online. You can use a free browser plugin like Flash or Unity.
  • What are the rules? Remember to explain them as clearly as possible for the judges!
  • What Theme did you choose? (Animal Welfare, Smart Cities, Civic Journalism, Literacy, Youth Justice)
  • You’ll be asked for a short written description of your game, and an explanation of how players learn about the Theme by playing your game.
  • List the tools and programming language(s) you used.
  • You’ll also have the option of including a 1-2 minute video about your game, as well as up to 25MB of additional documents such as your paper prototype, sketches and your design document (to “show your work”)


A panel of judges will evaluate games based on: creativity (unique concept and design), the gameplay experience (engaging to play, cohesive and fun!), functionality (how it works), and how you incorporated Theme content and research. Remember, your games are about real-world issues, so think about what positive impact you want your game to have!

Winners will be awarded in 12 categories:

  • Best Overall Team Game
  • Best Overall Individual Game
  • Animal Welfare Game – Middle School/High School
  • Smart Cities Game – Middle School/High School
  • Civic Journalism Game – Middle School/High School
  • Literacy Game – Middle School/High School
  • Youth Justice Game – Middle School/High School

Finalists will be announced in May 2016. Prizes will be presented at an Awards Gala at the Museum of the Moving Image on June 11, 2016.

GAMES DUE APRIL 30! — Games for Change Student Challenge.

Source: GAMES DUE APRIL 30! — Games for Change Student Challenge

Let’s Stop Requiring Advanced Math, A New Book Argues

Hear that change jingling in my pocket? Good. I have two little questions for you.
  1. I have a quarter, a dime and a nickel. How much money DO I have?
  2. I have three coins. How much money COULD I have?

The first question is a basic arithmetic problem with one and only one right answer. You might find it on a multiple-choice test.

The second is an open-ended question with a number of different possible correct answers. It would lend itself to a wide-ranging debate over the details: Are these all American coins? Are any of them counterfeit? Do you have any bills?

Frankly, it’s a lot more interesting than the first.

Andrew Hacker is professor emeritus of political science at Queens College, City University of New York, and the author of several more-or-less contrarian books about education, some of them bestsellers.


His latest is called The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions. It poses many nagging, open-ended questions like the second example above, without a lot of neat, tied-up-with-a-bow answers like No. 1.

Hacker’s central argument is that advanced mathematics requirements, like algebra, trigonometry and calculus, are “a harsh and senseless hurdle” keeping far too many Americans from completing their educations and leading productive lives.

He also maintains that there is no proof for a STEM shortage or a skills gap; and that we should pursue “numeracy” in education rather than mathematics knowledge. And, furthermore, that we should teach numeracy in an active, engaged, social way, with more questions like No. 2.

How do you define numeracy?

Being agile with numbers. Regarding numbers as a second language. Reading a corporate report or a federal budget. This is not rocket science—it’s easy to do. Kids become numerate up through 5th or 6th grade.

And what is the difference between numeracy and mathematics?

There’s a firm line between arithmetic and mathematics. When we talk of quantitative skills, 97 percent of that is arithmetic. Mathematics is what starts in middle school or high school, with geometry, algebra, trigonometry, precalculus and calculus.

Why are Americans apparently so bad at teaching and learning math?

When I say most of it is badly taught, what I really mean is that most teachers just can’t really rouse enthusiasm for math among 90 percent of the students. Surely you’ve had such teachers.

No comment. But lots of people have raised the alarm about this. Why isn’t the solution just to have math teachers, and students, work harder and do a better job?

I’m saying: No, we don’t need that many people studying mathematics. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot. One in five people don’t graduate high school — this is one of the worst records of developed countries. And the chief academic reason is that they fail algebra — of course there are other nonacademic reasons, like prison and pregnancies. In our community colleges, 80 percent don’t get a college degree. The chief reason is that 70 percent fail remedial math. And even in our four-year colleges, 40 percent don’t get B.A.s [after 6 years]. And the biggest reason is they fail freshman math. We’re killing our kids. We’re destroying their futures because of this requirement. I think it’s outrageous and we’re doing a lot of harm.

But what’s the alternative? Simply dumbing down the curriculum so everyone can pass?

When I first wrote the article “Is Algebra Necessary?” in the New York Times, most of the letters I got were from people who love math, are good at math and believe everybody should have to do it whether they like it or not. And again and again they talk about how mathematics teaches rigor, it’s tough. There’s this whole discipline thing. It’s like as if math is an enforced number of pushups.

I’m not anti-math. It’s a grand human achievement up there with chess and crossword puzzles.

But you don’t want everyone to have to master chess to get a high school diploma.

I’m going to be very careful about what Andrew Hacker wants to be compulsory. What I would like is for math teachers, starting in high school, to make the subject so fascinating that kids will want to take it. In writing the book, I went out and sat in on two dozen math classes from Virginia to Michigan to Mississippi. In some of them — not too many — the teachers were so infectiously enthusiastic that the kids joined in. And I wish we could bottle what they do and spread it around.

What about the need for more people with STEM skills?

Well, we certainly need people who know how to do coding. When it comes to engineers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we’re producing all the engineers we need. The skills shortage is a myth. The chief shortage is getting people who will work for low wages. That’s why companies in California want to bring people in on H-1B visas who will live eight in a room and do coding for a small amount above minimum wage.

What impact do you think the Common Core State Standards are having on math learning and teaching?

They’re expecting everybody to get almost up to the SAT level in high school. Either there’s going to be massive failures, or the states will ratchet down the requirements.

You taught your own alternative numeracy course at Queens College designed to make students more agile with numbers. How did you make the topic more appealing?

I had 19 students. I broke them up in groups of three or four. Math is always highly individualized, but in the world of work we want people to work in teams. I’d give them exercises, like, ‘How would you decimalize time?’ It’s really cumbersome the way we do it — we have a 60-minute hour, a 24-hour day, a seven-day week. How would you make a 10-day week or a 10-month year? Six different teams can come up with six different answers to that question.

Let’s Stop Requiring Advanced Math, A New Book Argues : NPR Ed : NPR.

Source: Let’s Stop Requiring Advanced Math, A New Book Argues

Learning by design

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message
Skip to toolbar