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Listening for accuracy with JAWS

Tips on how to become a tech power user with warp speed listening skills!

We have all seen students and adults who are tech power users – you know, the person who listens to a screen reader at warp speed and flies in and out of applications completing tasks at the speed of light. How in the world do students learn to be lightening fast when using JAWS?

Quintin Williams, Access Technology Specialist at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, is one of these tech power users; his super power is teaching others how to become stellar tech power users too!

Learning JAWS commands and understanding how to navigate applications are standard computer/JAWS goals. However, in order to be a tech power user, students must learn how to listen for accuracy – at high speeds. Do you include listening goals and specifically teach these listening skills with your students? Quintin shares these excellent listening tips:

Listening for accuracy with JAWS

Tip #1: For improving listening speed, practice a method called “skimming”. This is when you only listen for the first 2-3 words of an item before moving on with either tab or the arrows, this will improve your ability to pick important information out from the noise.

Tip #2: If you want to improve how fast you can understand a screen reader, increase the speech rate by 5 percent a week until it’s a little challenging to understand every word and then drop it back by five percent and stay there for several weeks and slowly over time, you will vastly improve your listening speed.

Tip #3: Listen to at least 20 minutes of synthesized speech a day to maximize your comprehension and listening ability.

Tip #4: To adjust the speech rate of JAWS on the fly use “control, alt, windows plus page down or page up” respectively.

Tip #5: Try changing voices to maximize listening speed, I love Eloquence but others might do better with female or other sounding voices.

Tip #6: Open your favorite website, go to the top with “control home” perform a read all command, “JAWS modifier key plus down arrow” and see how much information you can successfully gather while JAWS reads the entire page.

To change the verbosity in JAWS? Press JAWS key V for quick settings or you can get there through the settings center under the utilities tab in JAWS.

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by Diane Brauner, 2/17/23

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