A 2010 survey of education-technology preferences showed that nearly 60 percent of respondents from public universities who use outsourced eMail hosting services said their campus uses Gmail accounts, with 35 percent using Microsoft Outlook and 5 percent using Zimbra.

The disparity is even greater at private universities, where more than seven in 10 respondents said their school uses Gmail accounts, according to the research. Twenty-five percent said they use Microsoft.

Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research at Google, said the company met with Maurer last week and “he shared a powerful message on the importance of accessibility. We left the meeting with a strong commitment to improving our products.”

The NFB’s complaint also asks Justice officials to investigate the use of Google Apps in four Oregon school districts after public school systems signed on with Google last year.

Prominent schools that have transferred campus eMail services to Google’s servers include Northwestern University, Villanova University, Case Western University, and Notre Dame.

In an announcement posted to its website, NFB pointed out that the the Departments of Education (ED) and Justice stressed the responsibility of colleges and universities to use accessible eReaders in 2010.

Russlyn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights at ED, said in a June 2010 announcement that ED officials would watch for eReader programs cropping up in K-12 schools and higher-education institutions.

Technical assistance will be provided on a “case-by-case basis,” she said, and the government will be “responsive” to any IT decision makers bringing eReaders to their school or campus.

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