Making documents accessible is incredibly important for students. By ensuring that your learning resources are inclusive, you will be making it easier for all your students to learn – not simply those who may have a learning disability.
This simple checklist can help you check the accessibility of your learning resources:
- Use a simple sans serif font of at least size 11, preferably 12.
- Avoid using capital letters for titles, and add a full stop after titles since this helps to ensure clarity when using text-to-speech tools.
- Keep pages clear, uncluttered and ensure images and text are visually closely connected.
- You may like to box off sections to break up text and make it appear more manageable.
- Are your sentences clear and short? Have you avoided metaphorical language as far as possible?
- Make sure that your documents are easily convertible to other formats and are compatible with the online tools that some students will want to access to customize documents, e.g. changing font, size, background colour, text-to-speech tools.
There are also lots of tools to support accessibility, and many of them are free to use. The list below contains some of the more widely used tools, but if you know of a great tool that should be on this list please add it in the Comments below and we will include it!
- My Study Bar is a free suite of tools that can help overcome barriers associated with dyslexia (Windows / PC only).
Listen to documents and words
- Google Voice Typing in Google Docs (recommended)
- Free voices to download and use with text-to-speech tools
- Text-to-speech in Word 2010
- howjsay – a free talking dictionary of English pronunciation
- Using voice recognition in Windows software
- If you want to dictate something really quickly and simply you can use Dictation.io through a web browser
- ClipSpeak is free text-to-speech tool for Windows computers that speaks any text copied to the clipboard. This short video demonstrates the tool in action.
Read more easily
- Rewordify is a free tool that helps you students read more, understand difficult English faster, and learn words in new ways.
- Spritz is an tool that helps you read more quickly. Try it, it’s amazing!
- Grammarly – Grammarly makes sure everything you type is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free.
Store documents and web pages
- Evernote enables you to create ‘notebooks’ in which you can store text, images and web pages. But what makes it really great is that you can access your Evernote account from your computer, phone or tablet, meaning that you are never without all your notes. You can also ‘tag’ notes to enable easy searching. This short video gives a quick overview of Evernote, while this page contains a more detailed look at Evernote’s features.
- Diigo is a ‘social bookmarking’ tool which enables you to bookmark, highlight and annotate web pages. The ‘social’ aspect of the tool stems from its ability to allow you to create lists of bookmarks and share these publicly or privately so that other people can comment on them. It is an excellent tool for helping students store, annotate and recall information on the web. This short video explains hos Diigo works.
- RefMe is a tool that is provided by UCA to help you manage your references and create bibliographies at the click of a button. It does some very whizzy things, and has a great mobile app too. have a look at these useful short videos to help you get started with RefMe.
- Zotero enables you to store your references and generate bibliographies with a single click. It’s amazing! This video explains how to download and use Zotero, while this second video demonstrates how to use Zotero to generate in-text citations and a bibliography in Word.
- This article lists ten good online tools for creating mindmaps