Accessibility for all Learners Using Digital Technologies

Essential Questions: How can we use digital technologies to promote inclusive environments that foster independent learning?

Major Understandings:

  1. Through digital technologies, learners are able to access content and participate more fully in learning activities.
  2. Digital technology, including screenreaders, can help learners gain access to instruction.
  3. Learners can access instructional materials through multiple modalities.
  4. Electronic text introduces new challenges affecting an individual's ability to comprehend what he or she reads; digital technologies make it possible to mitigate these challenges.

In this interactive hands-on session, participants will learn technologies that support students with access to print materials in all content areas. Participants will explore the accessibility options built in to the Macintosh computer including options for text to speech, low-vision and other built in system level accessibility features. Educators will learn how students can have electronic text read to them and options for saving these computer generated audio files to portable student devices to extend learning beyond school. Furthermore, we will discuss and demonstrate other applications to increase awareness, including new voice recognition program for the Macintosh (MacSpeech Dictate) and Kurzweil 3000. Ms Jennifer Goodmark is the Technology Integration Staff Developer Pre-K – 5 and Mr. Roger Sevilla is the Technology Integration Staff Developer 6-12. We focus on staff development designed to support children and teachers using technology to develop “traditional” and “contemporary” literacies, co-planning and modeling technology-embedded lessons. We believe technology-enhanced instructional strategies increase engagement, accessibility and achievement for learners. We are committed to increasing student achievement through diversified instruction utilizing technology and to support your efforts to do the same.


  • Get materials, sign in, informal conversation (3 minutes)
  • Brief Introductions: Who we are and what we do (Jenn & Roger, 5 minutes)
  • Magnification and Scaling the Cursor (Roger, 5-7 minutes)
  • Accessible Dictionary and Thesaurus (Jenn, 10 minutes)
  • Text-to Speech Synthesis & Spoken Text in iTunes (Jenn, 20 minutes)
  • Using GarageBand to Communicate with Sound (Roger, 20 minutes)
  • Audio Files and iTunes (Jenn & Roger, 15 minutes)
  • Brief overview of MacSpeech & Kurzweil (Roger, 10 minutes)
  • Review, recap, report (Jenn and Roger, 10 minutes)

The Need for Change

"Diverse Learners Learn Differently"
About Challenge Based Learning from the Apple Learning Interchange

Text To Speech

Text-to-Speech Synthesis Directions.pdf for Text-to-Speech Synthesis Directions

Please recognize PCs can read text on the screen as well. One way is to use ReadPlease.

Resources for Exploring Text-to-Speech and Built in Dictionaries

"ICSD Participates in the MLK Community Build"
"On War, Genders and the Academy Awards"
Lit2Go: MP3 Stories and Poems

Resources for Audio files

iTunes U
Project Gutenberg

Resources for GarageBand

An Example - We Are Empowered Project from IHS
Creating an Enhanced Podcast - video overview in GarageBand 08 (podcast with pictures and links)
Garageband_EnhancedPodcasts.pdf - pdf including step by step instructions
GarageBand Lesson Plans
Reading Fluency with iPods and GarageBand

Other Tools for Communication, Collaboration and Content Creation

Check out these tools......