Assistive technology is any piece of equipment that allows a person to be more successful in their learning and use of a device. Our district is 1:1 Chromebook in grades 3-12. I choose to review the Accessibility Menu our devices currently have and then locate other possible Chrome Extensions that are available for our students who would need accomodations.
Chromebooks in general have useful accessibility tools students can use to help create a more successful learning experience in the classroom. To access the list of options, students initially go to their settings, scroll down to the Accessibility section and enable the features they need. Here is a list of features already included on a chromebook, the learning difficulties it can assist and the description of what it does.
- Enable the Accessibility Menu in the status bar: Any student can benefit from this change as it eliminates the step of continually going into settings to enable certain features.
- Large mouse cursor: To assist students who have visual difficulties, this feature makes the cursor bigger and easier to see.
- High contrast mode: To assist students who have visual difficulties, this feature makes text easier to read. The screen is black, text is white, and the links are yellow.
- ChromeVox (spoken feedback): Students who have cognitive difficulties or attention difficulties can use this feature to help focus on sections on the screen.
- Screen magnifier: Students will visual difficulties can use this feature to makes items on the screen bigger.
- Tap dragging: Students will physical difficulties can use this feature to move objects on the screen, by tapping and dragging your finger rather than using the normal 2 fingers on the mousepad.
- Sticky keys: Students who have physical difficulties Holds down the ChromeVox keys so you don’t have to press them first every time.
- Automatically click when the mouse pointer stops: Another feature for students with physical difficulties, they can click without using your mouse.
If these tools are not reaching all students, there are extensions that can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store. An essential component of using Chrome or Chromebooks, is once the student logs completely into Chrome, the extensions are synced and students can use the tools on any computer. The following list of extensions are free and can be downloaded to allow these students to be more successful in their learning.
- Chrome Speak and Announcify extensions will read the text that is located on the webpage. Students selects or highlights the items and the computer will read it orally to the student.
- The Readability extension can assist students by changing the look of the webpage. The critical content, the article, will open in another window without the extra ads and such that are normally included on a website.
- Cortexit extension is useful for students who need large sections of text to be broken down into smaller parts for better understanding. Students who are dyslexic, attention difficulties or vision issues would benefit from this extension.
- Scribe extension is great for all students who are researching on the web. It has a complete set of annotation tools that can assist students in highlighting text, saving bookmarks and taking notes.
Bryne, R. (2014, May 21). Good chrome extensions for students will disabilities. [Web logged post]. Retrieved from http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2014/05/good-chrome-extensions-for-students.html#.Vkx4xFWrSgA
Martin, Jamie. (2015, March 12). Google for dyslexia: Chrome extensions (part two). [Web logged post] Retrieved from https://www.noodle.com/articles/7-google-chrome-extensions-that-help-students-with-dyslexia
Roblyer, M.D. (2016). Technology tools for the 21st century teaching: The basic suite. In M. Fossel, M. Feliberty (Eds.), Integrating educational technology into teaching. (pp. 106-137) Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson Education, Inc. (7th ed.)
Tangient, LLC. (n.d) Retrieved November 18, 2015 from AndreasHead Wiki: https://andreashead.wikispaces.com/Google+Chrome++Apps+for+Accessibility