Here at Get My Grades, we believe that everyone should have access to a high-quality education. We also understand that for some students with additional needs, it can be hard to access that in the same way as their peers. As we built Get My Grades, and as we develop new features, we have included features to benefit students with additional needs.
We are also aware that there are some features we don’t yet have ourselves but have found a number of free programs and plugins which can be used alongside the platform to enhance the user experience for pupils with additional needs.
Colour tints are something that have been used for many years for students with a range of needs – from visual impairments to dyslexia. Some pupils are given coloured acetate sheets to use over their textbooks, or work is printed out on coloured paper – with colours that work best for them. This is a great tool for many students, but what can you do when using online study tools like Get My Grades?
We access tech using a range of devices – from laptops and desktops to phones and tablets. With an increase in awareness for the need for accessibility, there are more tools than ever available, and colour veils are one of them.
Many tablets and phones now have ‘Accessibility’ as a part of their settings. Through these settings, you can apply coloured tints to your whole screen. On some devices, you can choose a colour from the colour spectrum, whilst others offer settings for the different types of colour blindness and apply a helpful veil over the screen for you.
There are also some great free tools available for desktops and laptops, as well as those available through the Accessibility Settings. For Mac users, the App Store has a free app (‘Screen Colour Filter‘) which applies a coloured tint over your screen. For Windows users, Aurelitec have created a free ColourVeil program which can be downloaded and used to apply a colour veil over your screen as well.
Below you can see how tablet, phone, and laptop screens with a tint differ from a desktop without a tint.
Get My Grades uses the Google font ABeeZee throughout the platform. ABeeZee differentiates between similar letters, and the letters are formed in line with how we are taught to write – which can be helpful for some people with dyslexia.
Some people find that font size is also important when reading a text, and need content to be presented in larger font size. Zooming in can help, but most devices now also let you increase your text size. This, again, is accessed through your device’s settings or Accessibility options.
Screen readers have been around for some time now; many are available as free add-ons to internet browsers and even through the Accessibility features of your device. Screen readers are a great way to read content for those who find reading or following text difficult. The most basic readers come with a few voice choices (most often ‘male’ or ‘female’), but some of the more advanced versions will also allow you to choose voices with different accents, and to choose the speed they speak at.
Most devices now offer ‘Speech select’ options through their Accessibility settings. This allows users to select sections of text to be read aloud to them – either when highlighted or when a certain button is pressed.
Internet browsers like Chrome also offer screen readers as free extensions. One free extension on Chrome with a number of control features (accents, speed, and a highlight which follows text as it is read) is ‘Natural Reader Text to Speech‘.
It’s important to note that whilst screen readers work well with most Get My Grades content, they don’t work so well with Maths. Although they can read our Maths content, they can sometimes struggle with reading out equations or fractions. This is something we’re aware of and are planning to fix in the future.
Some people use adaptive keyboards or keyboard inputs. For example, Brailliac have released two free apps for mobiles – BrailleTutor and BrailleKeyboard. BrailleTutor allows you to practice Braille, whilst BrailleKeyboard can be used in the same way as any other input keyboard – and the best thing is that it works really well when answering questions on the Get My Grades platform!
Many students also use ergonomically adapted keyboards, which plug into their devices to enable them to type more easily. This is particularly useful for students whose disabilities affect their physical movements and find writing or typing on a normal keyboard challenging.
Get My Grades is constantly developing and improving and is led by educational research. We welcome feedback from our users and endeavour to continue to develop features to support all pupils in accessing a high-quality education. If you have any suggestions for things you would like to see developed, you can get in touch with us by emailing [email protected].
It’s important to note that whilst we have tried these programs and plugins ourselves, we do not have partnerships or endorsements with any of the companies mentioned, and that other options are available.
Get My Grades is an online learning platform for students aged 11-16 (school years 7-11). It's got all of the course content and over 75,000 questions with an answer explanation for each, providing realistic revision or exam practice. We’ve even got an offer on our monthly and yearly subscriptions to help your child settle into the new school year – use code GMG-AUTUMN to get 10% off our monthly and yearly plans at checkout.