Home > UDL and Accessibility > Say, how do I do that? Notes from the October 29 Webinar

Say, how do I do that? Notes from the October 29 Webinar

October 30th, 2009

Thanks to everyone who came to yesterday’s webinars and contributed to the exploration of ways that the MLTI MacBooks are universally designed and culturally responsive to user needs and preferences. These features enable access for all students, lending to flexible, learner-centered environments. Here’s a review of the features we examined.

Say you want to: Make changes to how your desktop items appear
Do this: From the Finder, press the Command-J keys together or select View > Show View Options from the menu. A “Desktop” floating palette will appear.

Say you want to: Make changes to how items appear inside folders
Do this: Open the folder, then press the Command-J keys together or select View > Show View Options from the menu. A floating palette will appear. The palette is contextual, meaning the options listed in the palette depend on how you have selected to view the items in the folder (i.e., icons, list, columns, or Cover Flow). In the Cover Flow view, you can get a “quick view” of the featured file by pressing the spacebar.

Say you want to: Enable Text to Speech
Do this: Open System Preferences > Speech pane. The System Voice field is a drop-down menu. Recall that Alex is a relatively new voice and based on what is known as “concatenative” technology. That is, Apple took a human-recorded voice and synthesized it together to create words that might not have been recorded. If you listen closely, you’ll even hear him breathe. As good as Alex is, individual students may prefer or need a different voice. Among others, Cepstral and Infovox iVox offer additional naturally-sounding voices, including world languages, for download. Once you’ve selected a voice from the System Voice menu, adjust the Speaking Rate slider until you get the right voice-rate combination. Then, select the box next to the statement, “Speak selected text when the key is pressed,” and the Set Key… button. A drop-down box will appear. This is the field in which you press your self-assigned key combination to activate speech. Remember to make it something unique (i.e., if you choose command-S, that keyboard shortcut will no longer be applicable to saving files). In my experience, “option-`” has been a reliable combination, where “`” is the grave/tilde key, just below the esc key in the upper left corner of your keyboard.

Say you want to: Zoom
Do this: Open System Preferences > Universal Access pane > Seeing tab. Remember to choose the Options button to specify the magnification range, as well as to select the box next to “Only when the pointer reaches an edge.” This will keep the screen image from following your cursor, which causes the “sea sickness” sensation. Recall that an alternative route to Zoom is the “2-finger scroll.” For this method, open System Preferences > Trackpad pane.

Say you want to: Use Sticky Keys
Do this: Open System Preferences > Universal Access pane > Keyboard tab. When you turn on Sticky Keys, you can press shortcut keys in sequence rather than simultaneously.

Say you want to: Enlarge your cursor
Do this: Open System Preferences > Universal Access pane > Mouse & Trackpad tab. Adjust the Cursor Size slider.

Say you want to: Show Universal Access Status in your menu bar
Do this: Open System Preferences > Universal Access pane. Select the box at the bottom.

Say you want to: Change or add keyboard shortcuts
Do this: Open System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse pane > Keyboard Shortcuts tab.

Say you want to: Customize laptops for students from diverse geographic backgrounds (or any students who are learning another culture or world language)
Do this: Open System Preferences > International pane. Under the Language tab, you can drag the language you want to see in menus and dialogs to the top of the list. Under the Formats tab, you can change the date, time, and number formats used by your laptop to match conventions of other world geographic regions. Finally, under the Input Menu tab, you can select a keyboard layout for another language. If you check the box next to “Show input menu in menu bar,” the input menu will appear in the upper right corner of your menu bar (near the sound icon). Show Character Palette and Show Keyboard Viewer will be listed under that menu.

Say you want to: Use closed captioning in QuickTime to provide an additional mode to convey content from movies and other motion media
Do this: Enable captions in QuickTime by opening the QuickTime menu > General > Show closed captions when available. You can also self-caption your video, which is a topic for another time…

  1. Lynn Ouellette
    October 30th, 2009 at 12:39 | #1

    How can I access a feedback form for the Oct. 29th webinar?

  2. Cynthia Curry
    November 3rd, 2009 at 13:46 | #2

    Hi Lynn,
    The feedback form for webinars is at http://maine121.org/feedback/

    Thanks for participating!


  3. November 4th, 2009 at 15:54 | #3

    You may want to share – if you have not done so already – the resource that Mike Shebanek shared with us last month. There are some very nice video clips on the accessibility features of Mac OSX



    • Cynthia Curry
      November 7th, 2009 at 12:43 | #4

      Thanks for sharing this resource, John. I just want to let people be aware that this site is for Snow Leopard. Therefore, many of the features presented are not currently available on their laptops. Many features are, however.


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