Artifact Introduction: During our eleventh week in Integrating Technology into the Classroom Curriculum, we were to review a serious of resources including the textbook Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching & identify the accessibility features on our computer. We were then to identify the types of disabilities that might be accommodated with these features & how specific disabilities would benefit from using the device.
“…The rapid development and application of computer-based technology, however, has created a sea change in available options for disabled students, ending the isolation and limited opportunities disabled students have long faced. Computer programs have been designed to make it easier for disabled students to access material, communicate their ideas and work, and participate in educational experiences.” (The Role of Assistive Technologies in Supporting Disabled Learners, 2012) This is assistive technology.
In this post, I’m going to be reflecting upon the assistive features for various disabilities found on the Windows 10 Home Edition, of my HP ENVY TouchSmart Sleekbook 4 laptop.
For hearing disabilities, the features already included on the computer were scarce, but the following were available. The “Narrator” feature reads more than just the text on the screen but all the elements including text and buttons and by adjusting the volume, this may be a helpful tool. “Sound Sentry”is another feature that provide(s) visual notifications for sounds. So for instance, when an error sound plays, there will also be a visual alert displayed if you have this setting enabled. (Ability Net, 2013). There are also text captions for spoken dialogue that is provided “as available”.
There is a “Narrator” feature which reads more than just the text on the screen but all the elements including text and buttons. You can also change the volume, speed, tone of voice, and even the voice in the Narrator settings. You can also choose what kinds of things you’ll hear like audio cues and characters that you’re typing. This feature would be extremely helpful to someone with a vision disability as it narrates what you’re toggling on, what screen you’re currently on, and what you opened/closed. The “Magnifier” feature magnifies the screen and also has the option to invert the coloring of the screen. There are various options such as changing what is being magnified and following the keyboard or mouse. This would help someone with a vision disability as it would provide a much larger magnification of the material on the screen. Additionally, you can control the thickness of the blinking cursor and change the color and size of the mouse cursor.
“Sticky Keys” is a feature that could help someone with a physical disability by allowing them to press keyboard shortcuts, such as CTRL+C for copy one-at-a-time. “Filter keys” allows users to ignore or slow down brief or repeated keystrokes and adjust keyboard repeat rates. The “toggle keys” feature plays a tone when CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, or SCROLL LOCK are enabled, as these keys are often pressed unintentionally and I imagine even more so if you have a physical disability in your fingers/hands.
Some of the same features listed above, “narrator”, “sticky keys” “toggle keys” and “filter keys” are available for those with a learning disability. There is also the “mouse keys” features that allows the user to move the mouse with the keyboard keys. Additionally, you can control the thickness of the blinking cursor, change the color and size of the mouse cursor, turn off all unnecessary animations, and remove background images.
What impressed me the most, was that in the “ease of access” center you can complete a short questionnaire that recommends settings based on the answers to your questions. The questions range from “I have difficulty hearing” to “I have a hard time focusing”. I used the questionnaire to discover the features and explore their application and applicability. The Ease of Access Center also provides a direct link to the Assistive Technology Products for Windows online page to learn about additional features with demos and tutorials on how to use them.
Microsoft. (2015). Microsoft Accessibility Assistive Technology Products for Windows. Retrieved from: http://www.microsoft.com/enable/at/vista/default.aspx
MyComputerMyWay. Ability Net. Sound Alerts in Windows 7. Retrieved from: https://mcmw.abilitynet.org.uk/sound-alerts-in-windows-7-sound-sentry/
Roblyer, M.D., (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Teachthought. (2012). The Role of Assistive Technology in Supporting Disabled Learners. retrieved from: http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/the-role-of-assitive-technology-in-supporting-disabled-learners/
Reflection of Learning/Standard Connection: This assignment required me to take an in-depth look, to analyze the assistive technologies available on my laptop to help those with disabilities. I got the experience to get a look at technology from diverse perspectives and that, in turn, helped me reflect on my teaching practices.
- AECT Standard 2.3 Assessing/Evaluating: I demonstrated an inquiry process that assessed the adequacy of assistive technologies in my laptop, grounded in reflective practice while reflecting upon assistive technologies and the applications in the fourth-grade classroom setting.