Access:Youtube allows for streamlined searching of videos, without all of the clutter from the standard YouTube page.
Youtube XL also offers a simpler interface for video searches and viewing.
Accessible YouTube allows access to single or two-switch users.
appoLearning is a new site, launched by Appolicious, as a portal to search for educational apps for iPad, iPhone and Android. Apps are evaluated and scored, then listed by category and age level. An app-of-the-week is also highlighted.
You can also follow their news on Twitter @appolearning
We all know that working in the “cloud” can present unique challenges to users who benefit from alternative access and input tools. Google Chrome has come a long way in addressing some of these challenges with their accessibility features and ad-ons. Through Chrome extensions and Google apps, user can now access everything from text-to-speech, voice dictation, organizational tools, note taking, keyboarding practice, and more. Find a comprehensive list of these tools at the Chrome Toolbox.
A few book apps while we are in the middle of “March – Reading Month”
Aury Apps is giving away one of their interactive books each day this month for iPad.
Try Collins Big Cat apps – free iPad book apps for young children.
Clue Pop Android “pop up” books available for free or .99 (also iPad friendly).
Utilize your internal computer microphone, or an external microphone. Click on the “mic” icon, and begin dictation. Once dictation (and corresponding transcription) are complete, simply copy and paste into any application – word processing document, Google Docs, email, Facebook, etc. You can find them and try them yourself at these links: Online Dictation or Talk Typer. Both options work on Mac or PC computers.
Small recordable blocks allow you to record a custom message, up to 30 seconds, played back with a simple press of the block. Use them to convey instructions at center tables, reinforce skills such as phonics, site words, mental math, vocabulary and more. They can also be used to support communication for students with limited verbal skills, practice speaking and listening, record in a story-starter, or prompt for social skills conversation. Record in applause or cheering to reinforce your student behavior and participation. Ideas are only limited by your imagination!
A clear plastic cover allows you to insert a picture prompt, corresponding letter,number word, etc. Priced between $65-$70 for a set of 5, they are an affordable classroom addition.
Find them at Learning Resources
Bookshare Books: If your school or your student is a member, the easiest way to read Bookshare books on an iPad is through the Read 2 Go app ($19.99). You can also download the Bookshare book on a computer, convert to a Text file or Word file, and save as a PDF. Once the PDF of the book is created it can be opened in the free iBooks app. The iPad Voiceover accessibility feature can be enabled, and then the iBook PDF will read aloud. (Somewhat cumbersome to get this done, but it is possible).
Library Books: The free Overdrive app allows you to download ebooks and audiobooks from the public library. Audiobook titles are limited, but some of the classics are there (and these are commercially produced, human read books, not synthetic voice).
Commercially Produced: There is a free app for books from Audible.com. (You have to pay for audiobooks – $14.95 per month which earns you credits toward books, or you can pay additionally for more books). Audiobooks, by Simply Audiobooks, Inc. – $29.95 per month for unlimited streaming of over 11,000 audio books.
Read this article from PadGadget reviewing some of the options.
Looking for more audio books for your struggling readers? Here are several online resources to find books for a variety of ages and grade levels. All but the last reference are free, most use “human” voices, however there are some with a digital reading voice:
Books Should Be Free – free
Story Nory – free
Audio Books For Free – free
Story Online – free
Librophile – free
Lit2Go – free
Librivox – free
Accessible Books Collection – Annual fee, but copyrighted books included
Bookshare.org is a free, online, searchable library of electronic texts that is available to students with visual, physical, or learning disabilities that prevent them from accessing print. Once students are registered on Bookshare, they can download books, newspapers, and textbooks. They can then access these texts by: using software that reads the book aloud (text-to-speech); listening to an mp3 of the text; displaying the text on a computer screen in a useable size, color or contrast; or reading the text in Braille using a Braille reader.
Access Bookshare with your iPad/iPhone using the Read2Go app, or on your Android device using GoRead.
Find Bookshare handouts and resources on my Kent ISD website: kentisdat.pbworks.com within the Reading resources.