8 Things You Didn’t Know that You Didn’t Know about Accessibility

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Editor’s Note: This article was presented at the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children conference and is reprinted by permission.

By Gayle Evans

Gayle Evans

Wow, the world of accessibility is exploding…in a good way! It’s easier than ever for students to have access to technology that can help them in school.

#1. Wakelet. You can store EVERYTHING in a Wakelet (pictures, links to sites, text, PDF, tweets, etc.) and then share it with others. And it’s free! Think of it as if Pinterest and PowerPoint/Google Slides had a baby. Collect things like Pinterest. When you share it, it looks like a slideshow. PLUS it has accessibility built in!

#2. Immersive Reader -A free tool from Microsoft that has the following reading supports:

  • Highlighting parts of speech
  • Indicating syllables
  • Translates text
  • Custom reading experience (change colors and size of text)
  • Read the text out loud in a pleasant voice.

This tool is built into many platforms including Word, OneNote (free) Wakelet, PSSE, and Chrome browser. See “3 ways to support your students with Immersive Reader” on DitchThatTextbook.com.

#3. OneNote provides inclusive math tools. Watch this video for an interactive tutorial. (https://content.cloudguides.com/en-us/guides/Provide%20inclusive%20math%20tools)

In this interactive guide, you’ll see how inclusive math features from Microsoft provide a toolbox of free capabilities to empower students of all abilities and learning styles, improve comprehension of written problems and their solutions, and enable students to work independently at their own pace.

#4. Dictation on PC shortcut “Windows key + h” to start speech recognition.

The article “How to set up and use Windows 10 Speech Recognition” (https://www.windowscentral.com/how-set-speech-recognition-windows-10) has directions on how to install Speech recognition on Windows 10 if you don’t have it. (Bonus: use shortcut “Windows key +;” on a PC to see what happens!)

#5. How to scan and mark up a Handout or Workbook with Notes app.

This article (“How to scan and mark up paper with Notes app in iOS 11”) has good information, but also lots of distractions and links! A tool in #8 will help you access the info on this page in a more peaceful way!

#6 Assistive Touch: With Assistive Touch, you can customize how you navigate your iPhone by creating your own menu and gestures, which can be helpful if you have limited dexterity or hand strength. I like to use Assistive Touch to easily use the Speak Screen tool. I always have a hard time swiping 2 fingers accurately. You can use it for volume control and many other tools. See this video for instructions on turning it on. https://wakelet.com/wake/cfab6c0a-53cf-4b1d-b87a-ee7d004bb5e0?utm_medium=Referral&utm_source=qrcode.

#7. Voice Control: Students can use AAC to tell the iPad to take a selfie! See this link for instructions. (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210417).

#8. Chrome Extensions: Check out Announcify (declutters web page plus reads the text), Web Paint (write on a web page to provide directions to students, take a picture of your markup and share) and Talkie (reads highlighted text out loud)

Gayle Evans is an assistive technology consultant in SW lower Michigan. You can follow her on Twitter at @GayleEvans22 and email her at gevans@vbisd.org.

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