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Windows 8 – Special Educational Need focus

Top Tips for using Windows 8 with students with Special Educational Needs

  1. Accessibility – Voice recognition, theme changing, font and icon sizes-  
    1. Narrator
    2. Touch enabled buttons and the magnifier
    3. Ease of access settings (high contrast, larger screen,
    4. Speech Recognition  
  2. Volume control – Very important as some students may accidentally turn up the volume.  This can be controlled within your sound settings and limited with software if needed. 
  3. Brightness control
  4. Cleaning – If devices are to be shared it is important that they are cleaned and suitable chemicals and materials are available.  
  5. Peripherals – Headphones, external keyboards, Bluetooth devices. 
  6. Assistive devices – Find an more about assistive technology here
  7. Setting boundaries with students usage and maximising impact in a blended approach
  8. House Keeping – mobile devices will get full of apps and software. Remember to keep the menus as clean as possible.  This is much easier with Windows 8 as you can keep the software just decide not to show it in the swipey swipey menu!
  9. Auto rotation of the screen can be frustrating for some students with SEN – Locking the screen is vital for students who may have issues with this feature.


Built in apps

  • Camera / Images – Some SEN students can often take years to associate images with objected.  The built in camera can be used as a guide to support them. Taking pictures of animals, trips, objects and even using stimulating images such as
  • Legacy apps – you can install legacy apps and use existing hardware as USB functionality is available. 

Windows 8 Accessibility Tutorials

There are many tutorials online helping you set up your own computer and ensuring it is accessible and personalised. The official tutorials can be found here :  


Apps (Free and premium)

App name

What it does

Social Express –

Social scenarios to help students with social challenges.

Poco AAC

App to help non verbal students communicate $9.99

Easy Yes or No

Yes/No app for students with ASD

Brain communicator

AAC all in one solution for communication with and to non verbal students $29.99

Au think lite

With AuThink lite we created an app for children with autism to learn and develop basic skills, for example item and color recognition

Paba soft

Clinical reporting and recording system

AB Path finder

Track progress of Autistic children (really great for parents and other caregivers as well as teachers)

Talking Tiles

Communcation app for students


Remember there are many apps available for preschool students which can also be useful for high school SEN students.



Assistive Technology by Type


Ai Squared


Claro Software

Dolphin Oceanic Ltd.

Enabling Technologies,

Inc. Extra Corporation (Japanese)

Freedom Scientific gh,


GW Micro Low Vision International AB Portset Systems Ltd Serotek Skyfish (Japanese) TACK-TILES Braille Systems Techno-Vision Systems Ltd. True Systems (Korean) Thunder

Uniplan Co. Ltd. (Japanese)

ViewPlus Technologies


PPR Direct, Inc.


Acapela Group

Meridian One Speech

Dexterity and Mobility Applied Human Factors

Deki Mouse (Japanese)

Neil Squire Society

Origin Instruments

SpeechCom Tobii Technology



Academic Software, Inc.

Crick Software

Design Science

Metroplex Voice Computing, Inc.



Language and Communication

Gus Communications

Tobii Technology


Additional solutions and suites Fujitsu (Japanese) iansyst Ltd. TechSmith

 I hope you find this post useful…let me know your favourite apps for sen using #win8apps hashtag and add #senchat too!



About danbowen

Educational technology learning and teaching consultant, support, training, change management, innovation and all things ICT and educational, father of two, guitarist, welsh rugby follower,

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