Using Windows 7 Accessibility Features

03 Dec

For many of us the Property Settings was the method used to change the desktop appearance to enlarge text and font sizes and CTRL+Scroll to magnify the current window for students needing large print. As computers become more of a fixture in the classroom, the more accessibility  options are becoming standard features. Each new generation of Windows builds on the last adding new accessibility functions.  Windows 7 Ease of Access Center has many built in settings that provide users with “out of the box” tools that allow them to use the computer without having to purchase any additional programs or devices.

Windows Accessibility Option



Screen magnification Visually impaired For low vision students this function increases readability without using any external devices or software.
On-Screen keyboard Physically impaired Allows students to select keys using the mouse or another pointing device. The On-Screen keyboard can be customized to make it easier to see and use. This feature also allows text prediction to ease the input required by users.
Narrator Visually impaired

Cognitively impaired

Reads on screen text (text-to speech), primarily for low vision to functionally blind students. Assist students with reading disabilities to be able to hear texts that is on screen, so they do not have to rely solely on reading skills.
Speech recognition Visually impaired

Physically impaired

Allows students to dictate documents. Can be used in combination with Narrator to navigate email, word processor, and other applications. This function can be used for all visually impaired students and students with motor function difficulties.
Visual notification Hearing impaired Announcing notifications with a visual message or flashes on screen instead of audible alerts.
Change text size Visually impaired Change text and icon size without altering screen resolution for ease of use.
Captions Hearing impaired When available, this function will use captioning for videos and animations. This is helpful for students who would otherwise miss out of audible materials.
Sticky keys Cognitively impaired

Physically impaired

Students need only to press one key at a time when Sticky Keys is turned on, instead of multiple keys. This function limits the amount of dexterity required for students with physical barriers and memory recall of keystroke combinations for commands for those with cognitive impairments.


Cox, P. R., & Dykes, M. K. (2001). Effective classroom adaptations for students with visual impairments. Teaching

Exceptional Children, 33(6), 68–74. Retrieved from


Microsoft Corp. (2009). Accessibility in Windows 7. Retrieved from


Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (6 ed., pp. 396-417). Upper

Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Project ideal informing and designing education for all learners. (2008). Retrieved from


Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Ed Tech 541


3 responses to “Using Windows 7 Accessibility Features

  1. nicolehirai

    December 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing your ideas on each of the accessibility options available in Windows 7. I also completed this assignment using Windows 7 so it is nice to see other thoughts on the advantages to each tool. One of my favorite tools is Sticky Keys. Since I have worked with elementary students, they often have difficulty quickly recalling keyboard shortcuts or can't press multiple keys simultaneously, so I think this is even a great tool for students without disabilities.

  2. Angela Moore

    December 7, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I really learned a lot with this weeks assignment. I chose to blog about the tools on my computer. Thank you for discussing some of the tools on Windows 7, that is what I have. There are so many things that I now know are there, and I can use with students that have different learning needs. This has truly been a learning experience for me. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Cheronne Edwards

    December 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I have always taught teenagers or adults. I hadn't thought of little ones using sticky keys! I come from the old school – Word Perfect, where keyboard commands were all you had. I still use key commands more than the mouse. Sadly, it seems with each new generation of Word, a few more commands become obsolete. Sticky keys would have been a great help back then 🙂


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