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:
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.
Braille_Tech Goal Log, Excel
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.
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!
By Diane Brauner