The Assistive Technology project I completed was an eye-opener. While I knew that many tools existed to support those with disabilites, I hadn’t expected to find such an overwhelming number of tools and resources. I became more and more interested in the tools that were specific to my computer and operating system that I use at school and at home. Knowing that I have had students in the past with both hearing and vision disabilities, I wondered how many times I could have used the tools that were already available on the computer.
In just a short amount of time, I learned that Windows 8.0 has the following tools that are readily available.
On-screen notification helps hearing-impaired people be aware of the status of their computer. On-screen notification replaces sounds with visual cues or text captions to indicate that activity is happening on the computer. As a result, system alerts are noticeable even when they are not heard. For example, when you select one object with your keyboard, the object is highlighted. When you move the pointer to one object with your mouse, the introductory text of the object is displayed.
Narrator is a screen reader that reads what is displayed on the screen aloud and describes events like error messages.
Speech Recognition enables you to control your computer by voice.
Using only your voice, you can start programs, open menus, click buttons and other objects on the screen, dictate text into documents, and write and send e-mails. Everything you do with the keyboard and mouse can be done using only your voice.
Microsoft Magnifier is available to help visually impaired people use the computer more comfortably. Magnifier is a useful utility that enlarges the entire screen or part of the screen so that you can see the words and images better.
Accessibility Features. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2014, from http://www.lenovo.com/lenovo/us/en/accessibility.html#screen
Accessibility in Windows 8. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2014, from http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/windows8/
Assistive Technology: Resource Roundup. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2014, from http://www.edutopia.org/article/assistive-technology-resources