Are you a tech savvy student who is using a Mac with VoiceOver? Are you ready to become a power user? If you are like most VoiceOver users, you probably were taught the basics and then learned a number of shortcut keys on your own. Most people - including those who do not use a screen reader - are just scratching the surface when using a computer. To keep things simple, computers have dropdown menus and other means that enable users to complete tasks while using only a limited number of commands. However, for tech savvy users - or users who want to be more efficient - there are numerous shortcut commands that eliminate multiple steps to increase speed and efficiency. The same mainstream shortcuts are also available to VoiceOver users!
Learning to use a computer initially seems complicated; training typically is limited to teaching a student the basics so that the student can accomplished the desired tasks, such as emailing, writing/editing, searching the Internet, etc. Many teachers of the visually impaired do not personally fully embrace all of the available shortcuts themselves. (Full disclosure: I was clueless that there are so many shortcut commands available and I started on the Apple IIe, decades ago!) Personally, I am working on incorporating more shortcut commands into my daily computer use. As an educator, I'm encouraging my students to go beyond the basics and to go beyond what I know. One way for students to go beyond is to learn from others who are power users. Nicolas, a power user who blogs on AppleVis, shares his extensive knowledge about shortcut keyboard commands - starting with shortcut commands that are used by everyone and moving to details for VoiceOver users. To view this entertaining and informative AppleVis blog, go to, Yo, Human! - Knowing the shortcuts is Key(s): Accessing Life with Adaptive Technology
Teachers: Do you have a student who is at risk for losing more vision? Be sure to teach shortcut commands now - this will significantly reduce what the student will need to learn as he/she becomes a screen reader user. Ask your student to teach you one new shortcut command each week. Be competitive - find and learn a shortcut command that your student does not know!
Students: Do not wait for someone to teach you these shortcut commands! You can teach yourself! Be curious. Do Internet searches. Read articles like the Yo, Human! article. Practice. Become a power user!