This month the nation’s children head back to school—many equipped with powerful new technology unimagined a decade or two ago. Technology plays a huge role in both teaching and learning, and is becoming more and more adaptable to personal needs and preferences. Students now routinely use technology to gather information, complete and submit school work, and enjoy interactive and stimulating lessons.
For students with disabilities, computers are often the most essential tool they can employ for full participation in their classrooms. Specialized assistive technology, teamed with built-in accessibility features in Windows, can give all students the means to personalize their computers to make them easier to see, hear, and use comfortably.
If you are like me, you might find yourself frequently changing system settings in the Windows Phone "Settings" app. For example, I travel quite a bit and find myself turning on and off "Airplane Mode" with enough regularity that digging for the switch in the Settings app is not ideal. Unfortunately I can't directly pin the Airplane mode setting to my start screen but there are some apps that will allow you to pin a shortcut. One of those apps is called Toggle. What I love about Toggle is that not only can I pin shortcuts to my favorite settings but I can also activate these via voice commands.
Danielle Serkin-Poole was just a young girl when she fell in love with cooking. Officially, her parents told her the kitchen was off-limits. But at around age six, she started to follow her dad and watch him make dinner. Over the years, she learned how to cook everything from perfect French toast (the secret is using challah for the bread) to potato latkes. But soon she will transition to a new role, one that reconnects her to her early passion: food prep. In a few weeks, she will be in the kitchen helping keep the salad bar stocked with fresh veggies. "It's my dream job," she said.
I love video games. During my youth, I spent countless hours on Atari, Nintendo and PC gaming. As a senior program manager, I don’t have as much time for games these days, but I still love playing. Today, we know video games have many benefits, ranging from supporting education to relieving extreme pain. The aspect I enjoy most is the sense of community, bonding with friends while shooting virtual aliens or cutting the rug with my daughter on Kinect. It hasn’t always been easy for players with disabilities to enjoy this same connection, but accessible technologies can make it easier.
Are you passionate about Accessibility? Would you like to help Microsoft make our products more accessible and usable for the ever changing needs of our customers? Are you excited about changing the way Microsoft approaches designing its products and services? Do you have experience influencing engineering team product roadmaps? Microsoft is currently looking to hire for several open positions related to accessibility.
When my alarm goes off most mornings I reach across my two cats, grab my Windows Phone and scan my email. Usually, I decide email can wait, get up, feed my cats and prepare for work. Recently, however, I awoke to a message that touched me so deeply I put my morning routine on hold to respond right away.
One of the cool things about Windows 8 is the ability to customize the start screen by moving and arranging the tiles in a way that suits your own preference and style. When using a touch screen device the easiest way to do this is by sliding the tile you want to move either up or down, and then dragging it to the new position. But over the past several months I have been asked by several people how to achieve this using the keyboard, if for some reason using a touch screen is not possible.