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.
Microsoft Office Accessibility Tools
ICT Skill Level Required:
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.
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. 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
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)