Nicole's Nook Occupational Therapy Technology as Therapy

Nicole’s Nook: Chromebooks as a Learning Tool

School has started, and I hope you all are enjoying the start of another school year! Beyond the usual piles of notebooks, binders, pencils and markers, many paperless options are also being recommended to help your child complete school assignments. A lot of schools have opted for Chromebooks and access to Google Docs and Google Classroom for their students and staff.
I will be the first to admit that exploring the Chromebook has been uncharted territory for me. However, this technology is becoming prevalent in so many schools that taking a closer look at its features and options are a necessity.
If you have access to a Chromebook, let me walk you through some of the accessibility features:
Go to the lower right corner and click on the hand icon, Select Accessibility. This can enable:

  • ChromeVox (screen reader, spoken feedback of screen)
  • High contrast mode
  • Screen Magnifier
  • Automatic Clicks (click without using your mouse; clicks when the mouse pointer stops)
  • On­screen keyboard (can be used with a mouse or tapped with touch screen)

To add any of these Accessibility Options, simply click on that option. You can also go to Settings and enable the features you’d like as well as the following:

  • Showing Accessibility options in the system menu
  • Having a large mouse cursor
  • Enabling Sticky keys (this includes holding down the ChromeVox keys)
  • Enabling Tap Dragging (to move objects, tap and drag your finger)

When using Google Docs, there are also some Accessibility options available:

  • Go to TOOLS, select VOICE TYPING (or CTRL/SHIFT/S)

Screen Reader:

  •  CTRL/ALT/Z (reads entire screen)
  • CTRL/ALT/X (reads selection)

This has been a quick introduction to what Chromebooks can offer.  More to come on this new-to-me piece of technology. I wish you all a happy and smooth transition into the new school year!
– Nicole Weckherlin, OTR/L, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Occupational Therapist