In recent discussions with college transition programs for students who are visually impaired, across the board, the main issue is the need for stronger and more efficient tech skills. Many BLV high school students believe that they are tech savvy in high school but struggle to keep up with the fast-moving, high-tech expectations in college and careers. How can we better prepare students? We know that students need to be efficient JAWS users to be successful in the 21st century. So what is "tech savvy" and exactly what JAWS commands should students know?
With so many commands, it is easy to feel overwhelmed! Dr. Denise Robinson and her team have created a terrific spreadsheet with a list of JAWS actions and commands, organized by topics. The Braille Tech Goal Log spreadsheet will help TVIs when writing JAWS tech goals, can be used to guide JAWS instruction and is a tool to keep track of student progress. How many of these commands has your student know? Remember, "mastery" of the command means that the student uses the commands to quickly and efficiently complete the task!
Is your student learning to navigate tables? Editing documents? Navigating forms? Use the spreadsheet to quickly find the commands to complete the desired activity. Concerned that you might not know all the commands, or that you have forgotten a command? Easily look them up here. The topics currently available in the Braille Tech Goal Log are:
- Navigation Quick keys for HTML
- General Commands for HTML
- Tabbed Browsing Commands for Internet Explorer
- Tabbed Browsing Commands for Mozilla Firefox
- Links to HTML
- Headings in HTML
- Forms in HTML
- Tables in HTML
- Other HTML
- Standard Reading Commands for Desktop Layout
- Navigational and Informational Keystrokes for Desktop Layout
- Cursor and Mouse Comments for Desktop Layout
- Miscellaneous Commands for Desktop Layout
- Standard Reading Commands for Laptop Layout
- Table Reading Keystrokes for Laptop Layout
- Navigational and Informational Keystrokes for Laptop Layout
- Cursor and Mouse Commands for Laptop Layout
- Dialog Box Commands for Laptop Layout
- Help Keystrokes for Laptop Layout
- Miscellaneous Commands for Laptop Layout
- General Windows Keystrokes
- Windows Keystrokes for Windows and Menus
- Windows Keystrokes for Dialog Boxes
- Windows Keystrokes for Reading Text
- Windows Keystrokes for Editing Text
- Keystrokes for Windows Explorer
Note: Dr. Robinson said this is a working document and maybe updated if additional topics are needed.
If using the Google link to access the Braille Tech Goal Log, Go to File > Make Copy. DO NOT WRITE ON THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT!
MAKE A COPY!!!! Braille_Tech Goal Log, Google (Do not resquest access to this file. Make a copy. Do not edit the original version - make a copy!)
Click on the link above to access the Braille Tech Goal Log, THEN GO TO FILE > MAKE A COPY.
Still overwhelmed? Let's narrow it down! Start with a tech activity that your student needs to do in his/her general education classroom. Look up the JAWS commands under that topic in the Braille Tech Goal Log and check out the related commands. Browse through Paths to Technology's posts below, do a Technology Search on Paths to Technology, and do an Internet search. Find an appropriate activity and learn how the steps and commands. Introduce your student to the activity - if possible, substitute the content (use your student's class content).
Don't forget to record your student's tech progress!
Teach JAWS instruction in "real time", meaning that students should be learning the required JAWS commands to complete real classroom assignments in real time. Example: Do not teach how to navigate tables in isolation in a tech lesson, when the student will not be accessing tables in the gen ed classroom for another two months. Instead, as the class is doing an activity (or preparing to do an activity) with tables, use that opportunity to teach the related JAWS commands. Whenever possible, use the same classroom content. Students will "buy into" the need for learning the table commands and will immediately have a reason to use and opportunities to practice the commands.
Paths to Technology has numerous posts about JAWS (including video tutorials) and lesson plans. Note: Some of the lesson plans may be written for other devices/screen readers, but the activities/content can be used to teach JAWS commands.
Teaching JAWS Series
- Google Classroom Series Using NVDA/JAWS Part 1 (6 part video tutorial series)
- JAWS Training Modules: Lesson One (Available through JAWS; 10 part series)
TSBVI's Google Classroom Video Tutorials
- JAWS Resources (Getting Started by TSBVI Short-Term)
- Google Drive Guides for JAWS and VoiceOver (by TSBVI Short-Term)
- Let's Go Digital: Using Braille Displays with Screen Readers (by TSBVI Short-Term)
- Freedom Scientific Tutorial Series
- Lesson Plans for JAWS and for iOS
Specific JAWS Skills
- Browsing the Web: Video Tutorial (simple overview of how a screen reader navigates the web)
- Simplifying Browser Use
- Web Browsing Basics with a Screen Reader
- JAWS Topics: Basic Navigation
- JAWS Topics: Navigating Menu Bars
- JAWS Topics: Finding Your Way around a Word Document
- Using and Editing a Microsoft Word Document (student JAWS video tutorial)
- Using Celebrations to Teach JAWS (navigating, editing, and more)
- Creating Headings for a Screen Reader: Lesson Plan
- Google Drive and JAWS: Uploading and Downloading Files
- Graphing with Microsoft Excel and JAWS (student video tutorial)
- Navigating Google Sheets with JAWS Lesson: Artic Animals
- Tech Standards: Navigating a Table using JAWS (includes video tutorial)
- Excel Accessibility: Screenreader Speaking of Row and Column Headers in Excel
- Excel and label everything in your graph with talking software (video tutorial)
- All About Excel Spreadsheets (includes student video tutorial creating a bar chart in Excel)
- Technology Lesson Plans: Excel and PowerPoint
- Creating a Basic PowerPoint Presentation Step by Step (using JAWS)
- PowerPoint and Screen Readers (includes links to fun lessons to introduce young students to PPT)
- Bookshare books read using Microsoft Word with JAWS
- Navigating Facebook with a Screen Reader
- Understanding the Text Cursor and JAWS
- Where in the World is my cursor?
- Tactile Windows Desktop Map
- Understanding the "Ribbon" in Microsoft Word: Screen Reader Activities
- Windows Right-Click Context Menu
- Using the Applications Key. . . with or without the key! (Context menus)
- Drag and Drop with JAWS talking software and Keyboard Commands
- The JAWS Song by Spinrockers (Teaches JAWS commands through a song)
- JAWS and Grammatical Errors: Turn On/Off Announcements
- JAWS Update: Sound Splitter (split JAWS and Zoom Audio in Zoom meetings)
- Using JAWS in Tandem with a Student
General Tech Lessons
Keep in mind that your student's classroom content can replace the content used in these activities.
There are numerous tech lessons/activities on Paths to Technology. While some lessons were created for other devices such as an iPad with VoiceOver, the lesson can be done with any device. Be sure to check out the Paths to Technology Lesson Library for fun ideas! You can also search for specific topics (such as "PowerPoint" or "Presentations" or skills such as "keyboarding" or "cut and paste". Below are three recent tech activity posts to get you started!