Learning What you Need

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Magnification with your Technology

I frequently get asked, What type of magnification system do I use with my low vision students? So, let's address this.

I have tried Zoomtext and Magic, and a plethora of other items, which are good, but found one method to work the best for students. I always give them options and this is the one they chose by far because it is so easy and on every computer they sit at.

There are so many methods to enlarge everything, something, a bit or whatever you desire on your computer with just a couple key strokes. These attributes of magnification are already built in, but in general it is NOT the magnification system built into the accessibility feature.

Example. Last week while a low vision student and I were working, she was having a difficult time visualizing a long math problem with just her talking software. With an ALT+V then a Z to zoom (this will work on any PC system), she was able to increase the magnification to 500% to see the problem. Then she matched it with her talking software and could completely understand the math problem. She decided to do the rest of her problems this way and finished within record time. With zoom in effect, the student never has to worry about printing something with 78 font characters. The font is 12 point always.

With another student, she was working in Excel and needed that visual feedback also. With a quick F6 she jumps to her zoom and increases to 400% and continues her work.

I have some students who love the black background with green font and everything enlarged all the time on the screen. This feature is easily accessed in the accessibility feature on a PC. If you only want to increase the ICONS or taskbar or anything, you can pick and choose with a simple applications key (right click with a mouse for mouse users). The options are endless. Because a student can pick and choose, they prefer this method.

The most important skill I teach my low vision students is to use touch typing on their keyboard and their talking software. Mouse use really slows them down. Their hearing is far stronger than their eyes, but when they want to use their eyes, they have the skill to do so. When done with the visual task, they go back to using their ears and their fast fingers.

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