Unleashing the Power of Accessibility: Training session 1

As we begin another exciting school year, our new students are gradually settling into the rhythm of school life, making use of cutting-edge Apple technology to help them along their educational journey. This year, we were eager to connect with Lacey-Mae, one of our newest students who happens to be visually impaired. Armed with her cane and constant one-on-one support, Lacey-Mae has an infectious enthusiasm for learning and conquering new challenges. It quickly became evident that she was no stranger to the world of voice assistants, having effortlessly mastered Siri and even using Alexa at home. We were made aware of how quickly Lacey-Mae can become overwhelmed and exhausted when completing new tasks, so myself and @Hilltout set out to make her initial training session as accessible and comfortable as possible.

Navigating with Siri

Our first task was to introduce Lacey-Mae to the world of Siri. We began by teaching her how to set alarms, a task she adeptly mastered. With customised worksheets in hand, we then guided her through the process of instructing Siri to read back her daily alarms and delete unnecessary ones. This not only served as a fantastic icebreaker but also allowed us to gauge the pace and complexity that future training sessions should entail.


Discovering VoiceOver

Drawing from the experiences of fellow ADE Daniela Rubio, who is also visually impaired and an iPad user, we introduced Lacey-Mae to VoiceOver. We showed her how to enable this feature and how to navigate through various apps on her iPad using VoiceOver's auditory feedback. This area of training holds great promise, and we plan to further tailor her iPad experience to align with her Braille keyboard setup in the coming months.


Mastering Swipe Gestures

For the final challenge of the day, we tasked Lacey-Mae with mastering the art of Two and Three Finger Swipe gestures. While this proved to be a bit more challenging, her determination and progress were truly commendable, with Lilly-Mae making good progress.

As we look ahead, our goal for Lacey-Mae in the upcoming week is to establish a morning routine. Unlike her peers, she needs to leave a bit earlier to navigate her way through the school to reach different classrooms and break areas. By setting her own alarms each morning, we hope to foster a natural and intuitive use of Siri in her iPad journey.

We will continue to document the journey of Lacey-Mae and other students at our school who deal with a range disabilities, as we continue to explore the transformative power of accessibility with Apple technology, in the world of education.

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