Navigating Google Slides with ChromeVox

Students of all ages are accessing presentations (PowerPoint, Google Slides, Keynote) for educational purposes. Even before school closures, young students with visual impairments were accessing simple teacher-created "books" in presentation format. (See examples of these preschool/kindergarten experience books in the Paths to Technology Book Library.) These young students are using the basic (and age-appropriate) navigation commands to read or listen to early experience books while working on basic tech skills. Students in elementary school and beyond use more complex presentations, requiring the students to be able to open links, watch embedded videos, and access content in table format. During school closures when technology skills soared, educators were creating presentations for virtual classrooms and students of all ages were expected to access presentations on a daily basis.

According to mainstream technology scope and sequence standards, by first grade, students are being introduced to creating their own simple presentations. Previous Paths to Technology posts have included accessible presentations lessons for accessing and creating presentations on a variety of devices and screen readers. Note: The lesson content in these previous posts can be done on any device with any screen reader, so be sure to check out all of these posts, not just posts with your specific device/screen reader! (See the Resources as the bottom of this post for specific lesson ideas.)

Note: This post's video tutorial, Google Slides with ChromeVox, takes a deep dive in the layout of the screen, terms of the different areas, presentation mode and includes advanced topics on how to open links, embedded videos, alt text descriptions, tables, etc.

This post focuses on the commands that are used for navigating Google Slides on a Chromebook using ChromeVox. This is a great post to learn about more advanced ways to navigate a presentation with any screen reader. I specifically like the attention to teaching details, such as teaching about the areas on the screen when in Normal View (Menu, Film Strip/Thumbnails and Canvas), and the screen reader commands used to switch between these views. Did you know that you can speed up an embedded video? Students who are using screen readers should be listening at fast speeds (or working on increasing their listening skills!). Listening to videos at "normal" recorded speed may feel incredibly slow to most screen reader users. All students (and adults) can benefit from the ability to listen faster. After all, wouldn't it be great to complete your assignments in less time? This is one way to do it!

Screenshot of embedded video in Google Slides with annotated text, " Increase Playback speed: "Control + shift + . (Period)"

Google Slides with ChromeVox has a unique feature, the Slide Picker. This feature enables the user to know which slide he/she is currently on and to quickly navigate to a desired slide.

Screenshot from Google Slides with ChromeVox video tutorial with the Slide Picker located in the bottom left corner highlighted.

Amy Snow, a CATIS Specialist and Wisconsin Statewide AT Consultant for Students with Visual Impairments, created the free ChromeVox: From Basics to Mastery in 6 weeks! series also created this Navigating Google Slides with ChromeVox video tutorial per request from Paths to Technology to add ChromeVox to the presentation series. Thank you, Amy, for another terrific video tutorial! This video tutorial is originally available on the WCBVI YouTube Channel.

Navigating Google Slides with ChromeVox video tutorial:


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