All students are introduced to simple tables in general education kindergarten classrooms in paper/pencil (or tactile) formats which quickly transition to digital formats. Students first learn the foundational concepts such as top, bottom, left and right, then students apply these directional concepts to rows, columns and grids. Next, students should learn to create and use simple tables before learning before applying this table knowledge to spreadsheets, which are more complex. As always, braille students should be introduced to tactile representations at each stage before pairing the tactile with a similar digital activity.
This post is specifically about how to navigate a table using JAWS. Tech Standards typically mention specific spreadsheet skills and do not list the pre-requisite skills of understanding row, columns, grids and tables. (See Tech Standards below.) It is simply understood that students have these concepts and apply this knowledge to spreadsheets. Let's start by defining what is a table along with the difference between a table and a spreadsheet.
Difference between a Table and a Spreadsheet
At table is a set of facts or figures arranged in columns and rows. It is a useful way of organizing information.
A spreadsheet is a computer program that imitates a paper worksheet. A spreadsheet can have many cells in a grid of rows and columns, just like a table. However, a spreadsheet is also a calculation and presentation tool, where cells can interact. An interactive file that exists of cells in rows and columns that can help arrange, calculate and sort data.
Third grade Common Core Tech Standards include introducing spreadsheets in second or third grade with complete mastery of spreadsheet features by fifth grade. These spreadsheet goals include:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the spreadsheet as a tool to record, organize and graph information.
- Identify and explain terms and concepts related to spreadsheets (e.g., cell, column, row, values, labels, chart graph)
- Enter/edit data in spreadsheets and perform calculations using formulas
- Using mathematical symbols (e.g., + add, - minus, *multiply, , / divide, ^ exponents)
- Use spreadsheets and other applications to make predictions, solve problems and draw conclusions
- Listen to title and number of columns and rows
Commands for Navigating a Table Using JAWS
When the focus is on a cell in the table:
- Right Arrow Key: Move to the next character
- Left Arrow Key: Move to the previous character
- Control + Right Arrow: Move to the next word
- Control + Left Arrow: Move to the previous word
- Control + Alt + Down Arrow: Move down the column in the table
- Control + Alt + Up Arrow: Move up the column in the table
- Control + Alt + Right Arrow: Moves to the next cell in the row
- Control + Alt + Left Arrow: Moves to the previous cell in the row
- Windows Key + Alt Right Arrow: Moves to the top of the next column, then reads the entire column
- Windows Key + Alt Left Arrow: Moves to the top of the previous column, then reads the entire column
- Windows Key + Alt + Down Arrow: Moves to the beginning of the next row, then reads the entire row
- Windows Key + Alt + Up Arrow: Moves to the beginning of the previous row, then reads the entire row
- Control: Stops Jaws from announcing
In the video below, Phillip White demonstrates how to navigate a table with JAWS.