ICYMI Assistive Technologies and Accessibility Tools in OSX

Are assistive technologies just for students with IEPs and 504s? In this session, we will explore the tools that students can use to make learning and classroom resources better fit their needs (and also some that we may eventually need later in our lives). Learn about technologies that support, physical, visual or auditory needs of any user.

This session was inspired by my previous involvement in providing support for our students from the SC School for the Deaf and Blind; an assistive technology session for Chromebooks put on by the SC Department of Education; as well as a great session let by an Apple Distinguished Educator at Greenville’s UTC.  Apple’s design for inclusiveness is really impressive.  Whereas the entire Chromebook presentation was about add-ons to Chrome (and mostly freemium features at that), the Apple operating system blows some of those out of the water.  Nick LeFave’s presentation (linked above) made the point that these are features we can show our parents or grandparents to help them better access their own devices.

Some of these features I have turned on by default.  For example, I use the Zoom feature all the time during training.  It helps me make precise clicks or buttons more apparent on small LCD projectors in my training/collaboration room.

Teachers yesterday were most impressed by Text-to-Speech features (which need to be distinguished from screen-readers like VoiceOver).  Because any highlighted text can be read by Apple’s text recognition software with a keyboard stroke, there’s no reason for students to receive oral testing accommodations out-of-class, for example.  Additionally, the text-to-speech feature is useful to help students with vocal-dense readings (such as in sciences) where students may not know how to pronounce words and quit reading.

I had specifically developed a set of PDFs for teachers who need quick-references to tools built into OSX.  They’re attached below.


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