Assistive Technology

For the Classroom

Screen readers

  • Software application
  • Identifies & interprets what is displayed on screen
  • Interpretations re-represented to user with the following:
  • Text-to-screen: typed by user, scanned by printed pages, text from Internet
  • Sound icons
  • Braille output device

Useful for the following disabilities:

  • Blind
  • Visually impaired
  • Illiterate
  • Learning Disabled

How it works

User sends commands by pressing combinations of keys on the computer keyboard to tell the speech synthesizer what to say and to speak automatically when changes occur on the computer screen.

Benefits for students

Commands do the following:


  • Read or spell a word
  • Read a line or full text
  • Announce location of computer cursor or focused item
  • Locate text in a certain color
  • Read pre-designated parts of screen on demand
  • Read high-lighted text
  • Identify active choice in a menu
  • Use spell check
  • Read spreadsheet cells

Screen Magnifiers

  • Software application
  • Improves visibility
  • Ranges of 1 to 16 times magnification is common
  • Variable Magnifier Modes

Useful for the following Disabilities

  • Visually impaired with some functional vision

How it works

User moves the pointer or cursor, and the screen magnifier tracks with it and shows the new enlarged portion. User can also use keyboard shortcuts that open a menu and the magnified portion jumps to that menu.

Benefits for Students

  • Enlarges text
  • Inverts colors from black-on-white to white-on-black to reduce glare
  • Smooths blocky text to make more recognizable when enlarged
  • Customizes cursor, such as circling to help locate it on the screen
  • Provides different magnification modes: full screen, lens mode, and fixed
  • Comes packaged with screen reader sometimes, allowing info. to be read aloud

My Experiences with Assistive Technology

Both of the devices I researched would fit under the communication type as discussed in the article. I have had no experience with these. I have two students in my ninth grade English class who are hearing impaired. I have used amplifiers with them in the past, but this year they have chosen not to use them and rely on their hearing aids and lip reading.

Works Cited


"Magnification Programs for the Computer Screen." - American Foundation for the Blind. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. <http://www.afb.org/info/living-with-vision-loss/using-technology/assistive-technology/magnification-programs-for-the-computer-screen/1235>.

"Screen Magnification Systems." - Browse by Category. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. <http://www.afb.org/prodBrowseCatResults.asp?CatID=39.>.

"Screen Readers." - Browse by Category. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. <https://www.afb.org/ProdBrowseCatResults.asp?CatID=49>.

"What Is a Screen Reader?" Humanising Technology Blog RSS. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. <http://www.nomensa.com/blog/2005/what-is-a-screen-reader/>.