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Switch Accessible Choice Boards in PowerPoint

by Claire Harrison

on Thu Mar 12, 2020

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A couple of weeks ago I had a really interesting conversation with some staff in a special school about options for creating choice making learning and communication activities for people who use switches.

PowerPoint had already come up in the discussion when we explored the PowerPoint digital books which we create each year for the Scottish Book Trust BookBug Picture Book Prize.

These digital books which are made in PowerPoint are a great way of enabling learners who use switches to control the story by ‘turning the page’ when the switch prompt slide appears. This type of ‘turn the page’ PowerPoint can be a useful tool to support and develop Cause and Effect skills i.e. ‘making something happen’.

 All the books can be downloaded from CALL’s Book for All website if you are a teacher in Scotland and you sign up for an account. For more details see Paul’s blog about how to sign up an account and download all  Bookbug PowerPoint Digital books from here: https://www.booksforall.org.uk/book-awards/

What if we want to create an activity which goes beyond ‘Cause and Effect’ and support our learners to develop their choice making skills? This is where the ‘hyperlink’ features in PowerPoint are useful. We can create a master slide with images which are hyperlinks, opening up a video on YouTube (or a video stored on the computer). With a couple of additional tweaks, we can set up the slideshow so that one mouse click on an image triggers the video to play and a second click closes the video, returning you to the main page. Download an example of this type of PowerPoint, with a selection of three random YouTube videos! You can download a guide to making your own from here.

Can we make this accessible for a learner who is unable to use a mouse or touch screen and needs switches to access technology? The answer is yes. We can create a ‘switch accessible’ version of a video choice board so that a learner can use either one or two switches to scan the options, choose, play and close the video. You can download an example switch accessible choice board.

Please note that this example PowerPoint is set up for two switches. Set one switch to ‘Enter’ (the move switch) and the second switch to ‘Left Click’ (the choose switch). We suggest you look at the video below to find out how to set it up correctly.

If you would like to have a go at making your own switch accessible version, have a look at this step-by-step instructional video. 

Tags: switch, powerpoint

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