Screen magnification technologies are designed to increase the size of objects and text on a users screen to increase visibility. Using a cursor or keyboard commands a user moves the virtual magnifying glass over the section of the screen they which to have magnified. Furthermore, due to increased accessibility features built into personal computers (such as font size, contrasting colour schemes, icon size, etc.) these techs may become less essential for individuals with mild farsightedness. Most magnifiers can be set to varying degrees of magnification.
Some users report mild motion sickness symptoms, although many popular screen magnifier programs have made efforts to combat these side effects using software tweaks (Hoeft et al., 2002). While many users find these devices useful, no systematic studies have been done on the use of screen magnification in the classroom.
Future developments in this field could enhance user experience; such as a technology being developed called Lean and Zoom, which uses the users posture and proximity to the screen to magnify screen content proportionally (Harrison & Dey, 2008).
Research Rating: Although research has been done in other domains (engineering, optics, occupational therapy, etc.), there have been no randomly controlled trials of these techs in the classroom (Thomas, Barker, Rubin, & Dahlmann, 2015). The information above could benefit from further studies to ensure the common uses of screen magnification softwares extend to a classroom setting.
Can incorporate both large display areas and high power magnification
Potential motion sickness
To help find which level of magnification is appropriate for you, you can visit: http://www.optimalowvision.co.uk/choosing.cfm?id=1572
One should choose the lower possible power magnifier as to not develop over-dependence on the magnifiers.
Special Consideration: Workflow
Exact prices change frequently, which is why only approximate ranges are listed.
$ - Under $5
$$ - Between $6 and $50
$$$ - Between $51 and $250
$$$$ - Over $250
Harrison, C., & Dey, A. K. (2008, April). Lean and zoom: proximity-aware user interface and content magnification. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 507-510). ACM.
Hoeft, R. M., Buff, W. L., Cook, E., Stanney, K. M., & Wilson, S. (2002, September). Improving Assistive Technologies for the Visually Impaired: Minimizing the Side Effects of Magnification Products. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting (Vol. 46, No. 16, pp. 1482-1485). Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.
Thomas, R., Barker, L., Rubin, G., & Dahlmann‐Noor, A. (2015). Assistive technology for children and young people with low vision. The Cochrane Library.
Written by Harrison McNaughtan, Last Revision May 2018