One of the most enduring issues teachers will likely encounter with BVI students regarding more advanced computer use is Windows file management. Microsoft has not made the process of “save as”, i.e. saving a file with a particular name in a specific locations, easy to accomplish with a screenreader, instead deferring to the sighted world. BVI students will often then save files in a haphazard fashion, allowing defaults to create a cluttered mess of files with little logical organization. Therefore, this short tutorial will describe an effective method for BVI students to save files in a location of their choosing with relatively little complication. If anyone reading this has a simpler and more efficient method, I would greatly appreciate a comment to this post, thanks.
This tutorial will use an MS Word document as an example. Once the Word document is opened, I usually have students “save as” immediately using the F12 keyboard shortcut. Once the shortcut key is pressed, the Windows File Explorer window opens with focus on the file name field. In general I have students save with their first name last initial in front of the file name to simplify searching for files as we have several students using the computers. At this point, simply pressing Enter will save the file in a default location that may or not be the desired location. In order to locate specific location, a screenreader user must press SHIFT-TAB 4 times to cycle to the Preview pane where all folders and drives are listed, the screenreader will announce Preview. Once in the preview pane, the UP and DOWN arrows will move to the desired folder, i.e. “Documents”, etc. Pressing the right arrow key will open the folder and subfolders can be accessed by the same process. Once the desired folder is located, pressing “ENTER” will open it and then “ALT-S” will save in that location. If there are a lot of folders in the Preview Pane view and one knows the name of the folder one is looking for, pressing the first letter of the name will move to that folder quickly. In short, to “SAVE AS” using a screenreader, press:
SHIFT TAB 4 times till “Preview Pane” is heard;
ARROW UP and DOWN to desired folder or press first letter of folder name;
RIGHT ARROW for subfolders;
ENTER to open folder;
ALT-S to save.
I insist upon proper file management with my students, and although my purpose is a bit solipsistic, allowing for easy and logical teacher access to student files for grading, collaboration, etc., students find that this technique makes their lives easier as well.