Taking advantage of the accessible features on your device

There are a number of ways in which you can use the inbuilt features on your device to make using your device more accessible. Many of technologies have features which allow you to magnify or zoom in on the screen, text to speech as well as reading out actions from the device and using voice commands or speech recognition to control it.

For more information on what your device can do take a look at the below links.

There is also a useful guide for educators produced by Microsoft talking over the accessibility features of Windows 10. Accessibility in Windows 10: A guide for educators

How to use simple tools to covert speech to text

There are now a number of simple ways to convert speech to digital text (dictation). This can make it easier to make notes or even create transcripts of presentations or videos. They can also be useful tools for students to aid with note taking or assignment writing where it is easier for the student to verbalise their ideas rather than type them.

The most effective dictation tools require you to train the software to recognise your voice and create a very accurate dictation of what you have said, this includes software such as Dragon Dictate (which comes at a cost). However, there are a number of free tools which have been developed and work pretty accurately to convert your speech into text, these are improving all the time.

Google Docs – Voice Typing tool

Within Google Docs there is a tool called ‘Voice typing’ which allows you to speak into your computer via a microphone and have your speech converted into text. This can be a quick and easy way to create digital text.

Guide on using Google docs voice typing tool

iOS (Apple iPad of iPhone) – Siri microphone keyboard

You can also use tools within your mobile device to create digital text using your voice. On Apple devices you can use Siri via the microphone key on the keyboard to speak into your device. This works with most mobile apps, so whether you are using Google docs, Notes, OneNote or another app to store the text, this feature you should be able to use this tool.

Guide on using Siri to dictate text

Dictating onto windows

There are also tools on Windows computers which enable you to dictate text into the computer. This does require you to spend a bit of time training the computer to understand you but once this is done then it can become a useful tool to make tasks quicker.

Guide to setting up speech recognition on Microsoft Office

Dictating onto a Mac

There are also tools which enable you to dictate text on your Mac. The more you use the tool the more accurate it will become as it learns to recognise the characteristics in your voice. You can also dictate punctuation and use specific phrases to aid formatting.

Guide to dictating text into your Mac

How to use text to speech tools

Text to speech tools (TTS) are useful because they read out text from the screen helping you to process this information in a different way. For those people with a preference for hearing words rather than reading them or visual impairments which make reading from screen difficult these tools are really useful. They can also aid multi-tasking where the screen reads out text whilst you perhaps take notes or type emails etc.

There are many free text to speech tools available as well as some tools which are part of different software such as text to speech in Microsoft Office Word.