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When it comes to accessibility, Apple really understand the importance of designing products that everyone can use – which is especially handy in a school setting when you need to support a class of children with varying needs. Add hybrid learning to the mix and the task of ensuring all learners can access what they need becomes increasingly challenging.
To help alleviate teachers’ workloads and assist support staff (and parents) so they can best support pupils with accessibility needs, we’ve decided to take a look of some of the best accessibility features of the iPad – which is, unquestionably, the most popular Apple product in schools today.
Whether you need to support children with hearing, hand-eye coordination or visual needs, or help unconfident readers, the iPad really has it all. Features to support learners can be turned on by going into Settings > Accessibility. You can even create a shortcut to access the ones you use the most – handy when you’re doing a million jobs at once! (Go to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut, then select the features you use the most). So, let’s take a look at two of the most useful features to support learners with visual needs. You can also find out more about mobility features here.
If there was a vote on the most popular iPad accessibility feature, Spoken Content would take the number one spot! This popular feature does what it says – reads aloud to the iPad user. This eliminates the need for braille, which can be expensive, and ensures all learners are using the same equipment. It is also a great tool for children with a range of needs, including learners who struggle to read, and can also be handy for the whole class when it comes to checking their writing, thanks to its ability to read back written work and recognise punctuation.
To turn it on, go to Settings > Accessibility > Spoken Content.
• Turn on Speak Selection, and Siri will read out content when you highlight it then tap Speak.
• Turn on Speak Screen to have the whole screen read to you. Simply swipe down from the top of the screen using two fingers to begin.
• Turn on Highlight Content to highlight words and sentences as they’re being read.
Technically, these are two separate features but, as they’re so helpful when supporting children with visual needs, we’ve decided to include them both.
Zoom is a fantastic feature that allows you to improve visibility on the iPad by zooming in and out of items on the screen. You can magnify the entire screen (Full Screen Zoom), part of the screen with a resizable lens (Window Zoom), or a portion of the screen that stays in one place (Pinned Zoom).
To turn it on, go to Settings > Accessibility > Zoom. To quickly access it, double tap three fingers on the screen.
You can also use your iPad camera as a magnifying glass by going to Settings > Accessibility > Magnifier, which creates a magnification app on the home screen. Colour filters can also be added to make text easier to read – great for children with dyslexia!
Display and Text Size is another useful feature which enables you to change the text on your screen, so it displays exactly how you want it! If you want it a different size, colour or weight, that’s all possible. If you want to view items on a dark background, you can invert colours too. Colour filters also allow you to add a coloured filter to your screen, helping users with colour vision deficiencies (colour blindness).
To take advantage of these features, go to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size and select the option you want to use.
If you want to know more about the benefits of iPad and accessibility, get in touch with our team on 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com. For the latest news, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
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