This summer the SSCSD I.T. Department will be updating district computers to Windows 11. The update brings numerous usability and accessibility improvements that allow teachers and students to better access and use educational technology tools.
Windows 11 features a modern, clean design that helps you to be more efficient across devices. The first difference most users will notice is a centered Start menu on the taskbar. The new Start menu lets users access programs, applications, and recent documents stored both locally and in the cloud.
- Centered taskbar icons, Start Menu and Search
- New Quick Settings menu
- New Windows organization tools
- New File Explorer
- Accessibility Improvements
Snap Layouts provides a powerful way to multitask and stay on top of what you need to get done. It helps you organize your windows and optimize your screen real estate so you can see what you need in the way that you want.
Windows 11 has a new Quick Settings menu that allows you to access various features that you frequently use right from the taskbar. This includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Volume, Brightness, Accessibility and more.
Joining a Wi-Fi Network
- Click the status icons on the taskbar
- Click the arrow next to to Wi-Fi icon
- Click on the Wi-Fi Network you wish to join
- Click the Connect button
- The computer will attempt to connect to the Wi-Fi network you have selected. If you have never connected to the network before, you will be asked for the password to the network.
- Once the correct password is entered, you will see that it is “Connected, secured”, as shown below
Choosing Audio Output
If you want sound to play through a different output than what is currently selected:
- Click the status icons on the taskbar
- Click the arrow next to the volume control
- Select the output device you would like to use
Power Options and Sign Off
Various power options (Sleep, Shut Down and Restart) are located within the new Start Menu. To access them, click the Start button on the taskbar, then the power button within the Start menu.
You can sign out of the computer when you no longer want to use the computer using a similar method. Click the Start button on the taskbar, then click your account icon to see the option to Sign out.
Instead of using a mouse and keyboard, Voice Access allows you to interact with Windows with words and phrases. When enabled, the user can tell Windows to do things like “Open Start,” or “Switch to Edge” and then further interact with the app with common commands like “Scroll Down,” or if the user is unsure what commands they can use, they can ask “what can I say?” and Windows will present all the available commands to them. To enable, go to system Settings -> Accessibility -> Speech and turn on Windows Speech Recognition. Alternatively, you can press the Windows logo key + Ctrl + S to toggle it on or off.
Microsoft has overhauled their voice typing service built into Windows. With voice typing, you can enter text on your PC by speaking. To use voice typing, you’ll need to be connected to the internet, have a working microphone, and have your cursor in a text box. Once you turn on voice typing, it will start listening automatically. Wait for the “Listening…” alert before you start speaking. Press Windows logo key + H on a hardware keyboard to start voice typing.
Live Captions (Coming soon)
Live captions is a way for a system to convert any audio being played to text on the screen, without the need for the content to have pre-made existing close captioning information. Future releases of Windows 11 will have this option built right into the operating system, enabling users to turn on captions for any audio content. To enable, go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Captions and turn on Live captions.
Adjust size and color
To adjust the size of text, apps, and other items, select the Start button, then select Settings > Accessibility > Text size. Use the slider next to Text size to make just the text on your screen larger. To scale up everything on your screen, select the Start button, then select Settings > System > Display, and change the Scale drop-down menu under Scale & Layout to a larger percentage.
If there’s not enough contrast between the elements on your screen, try using a high contrast theme. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Accessibility > Contrast themes, select one of the options in the drop-down menu next to Contrast themes, and select Apply. You can select between Aquatic, Desert, Dusk, and Night sky.
Make your mouse more visible by changing the color and size of the mouse pointer. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Accessibility > Mouse pointer & touch, and choose the options that work best for you.
By adding pointer trails you can see where the mouse is moving on the screen. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Bluetooth & devices > Mouse > Additional mouse settings. In the Mouse Properties window, select the Pointer Options tab, and then Display pointer trails.
Windows can also show visual feedback when you touch the screen. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Accessibility > Mouse pointer & touch, and then set Touch indicator to On.
Magnify your screen
Magnifier enlarges part or all of your screen so you can see words and images better. To open Magnifier quickly, press the Windows logo key + Plus sign (+). When Magnifier is open, use Windows logo key + Plus sign (+) or Windows logo key + Minus sign (-) to zoom in or out. To close Magnifier, press Windows logo key + Esc.
Apply color filters
Make photos, text, and colors easier to see by applying a color filter to your screen. Color filters change the color palette on the screen and can help you distinguish between things that differ only by color.
To apply color filters, select the Start button, then select Settings > Accessibility > Color filters, set Color filters to On, and choose the options that work best for you.
- To turn on and turn off your color filters quickly, select the Start button, then select Settings > Accessibility > Color filters, and set Keyboard shortcut for color filters to On. Then press the Windows logo key + Ctrl + C to turn them on and off.
Use Narrator to navigate your PC
Narrator is the built-in screen reader in Windows that reads aloud what’s on your screen so you can use that information to navigate your PC. To start or stop Narrator, press the Windows logo key + Ctrl + Enter.
For more information on Windows 11 Accessibility features, go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility/windows.