Supporting all students with accessibility tools:Teaching with Technology

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  • 1. Page 1 Supporting all Students with Accessibility Tools As highlighted in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, there should be no barriers to taking part in education. Going to school is a human right and difficulties of any kind should be overcome to include all young people. Physically impaired students sometimes face challenges accessing learning. Microsoft technology offers solutions to help make learning more accessible. In this tutorial you will: 1) Learn how to customize a computer to make it more usable for physically impaired students. 2) Learn how to customize teaching materials to make them more accessible for all students. Tools: Microsoft Office Accessibility Tools ICT Skill Level Required: Educator Scenario Laura is a head teacher and in her view physically impaired students should be included in mainstream education whenever possible. She has learned that Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office have many built-in features to support students. And she wants her staff to use them as they plan their learning activities.
  • 2. Page 2 1. Windows Accessibility features can be found in Start – All Programs > Control Panel > Ease of Access Center. There is a wide range of user settings that can be customized for individual students. Some examples are: a. Display and Readability The screen can be made easier to see by:  activating the magnifier  by creating high contrast in the colors of e.g. webpages  the automatic narrator  by adapting screen resolution or desktop icons. An example of the Magnifier tool in Windows 7 b. Sounds and speech Physically impaired students can use their voice to control the computer. The computer can be trained to understand their spoken commands. It is also possible to dictate text to create a document. (This is called speech to text) Visit the Microsoft Enable website to find out more including a readymade PowerPoint for teacher training. 2. Learning materials can be made more accessible by using accessibility features and guidelines when building learning activities in Office programs. Have a look at these guides o Create accessible Word documents o Create accessible Excel files o Create accessible PowerPoint files o Create accessible PDFs
  • 3. Page 3 3. Office 2010 programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint have a built in Accessibility Checker. Files can be screened automatically and areas that might be challenging for users with disabilities are identified. By clicking File > Info > Check for Issues you can put the Accessibility Checker to work on your current document. In the sidebar you will see suggestions to improve the readability of the document. Further Resources and Ideas  Microsoft Accessibility Tutorials  Windows Accessibility Framework Alignment  UNESCO CfT – Technology Literacy (ICT, Basic Tools), (Curriculum and Assessment, Basic Knowledge) and (Pedagogy, Integrate Technology)  ISTE – Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity(3d) and Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments (2a, 2c)