Accessibility Features & Strategies for Common Classroom Tech

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We encourage faculty to be aware of the assistive features available on the technology they choose to use in the classroom, as well as the best accessibility practices to ensure that all students are able to learn without barriers.

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Accessibility Features & Strategies

Microsoft Teams

  • Live-Captioning: When using Teams for meetings, you can toggle a live-captioning feature to make your meeting more accessible for folks with hearing or processing impairments.
  • Immersive Reader: Microsoft Teams has an “Immersive Reader” feature that allows posts, chat messages, assignments, etc. to be read out loud. By turning on Immersive Reader, individuals can change the sound of the voice used, the speed that it will read text, and various text options like size, spacing, and font. Immersive Reader also includes “Grammar Options” where words can be highlighted or broken down according to their parts of speech.

More Microsoft Teams accessibility features and suggestions

PowerPoint Presentation

  • Live Captioning:  When presenting on PowerPoint, you can toggle a subtitle feature while you are presenting. Especially when in a f2f classroom, consider using subtitles to help folks with hearing or processing disorders by having PowerPoint live-caption your lectures. 
  • Alt Text: One of the main reasons why PPP is so great is because you can depict and express information in a variety of visual formats including images, charts, graphs, shapes, etc. However, it’s important that screenreaders are considered when designing a PPP. Microsoft has the ability to add “alt text” (alternative text in the HTML which describes images to students who are unable to view them) to all the various types of images and visuals you can use in PPP
  • Reading Order: Students will read elements on a slide in the order they appear on the slide. However, a screen reader will read in the order they were added to the slide. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of the reading order of the items on a slide. You can set the reading order so that students with visual impairments can have the best experience possible.

More PowerPoint Presentation accessibility features and suggestions

Google Slides

More Google Slides accessibility features and suggestions

Zoom

  • Live Captioning: As a general practice, when using Zoom, we recommend that faculty turn on live-captioning for their students. Not only does this help students with hearing or processing impairments, but it also gives other students visual cues during discussions and lectures.
  • Read Important Content Out Loud: We know that, in general, the unspoken rule is not to read off your slides. However, to ensure that students with visual impairments are included, we recommend that all important content on slides or all content that is being referenced to in the chat be shared out loud. It is difficult for participants to follow along when a facilitator references a comment made in chat or answers a question in chat without first starting by reading that content or question out loud. Folks who rely on captions to follow along or screenreaders to help navigate the platform need these cues. This is also just good practice because not everyone follows along in the chat.
  • Provide Slides or Referenced Documents Beforehand: If you are using slides or referencing a document, PDF, etc. in a Zoom lesson, share these with students before the meeting time. For students who need a screenreader to read document, having them ahead of time will help them prepare.
  • Provide Transcripts or Recordings to Students: Zoom meetings go fast and with chat, slides, discussions, and lectures often happening simultaneously, it’s inevitable that things will get lost along the way. Help students out by providing slides, audio transcripts, and recordings of the lesson to refer to later.