Magic Scroll Web Reader is an extension for the Chrome browser, free in the Chrome Web Store. Once downloaded, simply open a web page with text, click on the Magic Scroll icon in the upper right portion of the browser bar. A clean view of the text is displayed as consecutive pages in a book. Click the play arrow, lower right to begin scrolling vertically through lines of text. Adjust the speed with the + and – buttons, also lower right. Use the slider tool, upper left, to adjust settings such as font size and color scheme.
Magic Scroll can assist with visual focus while reading text on web pages, with options to adjust features to meet the needs of various users. The user can even pause scrolling and utilize a text to speech extension, such as SpeakIT! to hear the text read aloud.
Video supports for content areas such as Science can benefit many students at all grade levels. Videos can provide alternative content for struggling learners, increase interest and engagement, and provide supplemental content for learners benefiting from extended learning. Quality videos should be part of all well designed UDL lessons.
Tales From Outside the Classroom has provided a nice list of 9 YouTube channels that can be used in the classroom to support instruction, or linked to your classroom website to provide learning supports for students outside of the classroom. Check out the list and find videos that can connect your students to Science!
Thanks to Tesser88 and the Tales From Outside the Classroom Blog!
Google Slides – If you haven’t been using it, then you should be! It is a terrific tool for both Teacher Presentation, Student Creation and Instructional Materials. So much easier and more collaborative than PowerPoint! And, there are some great newer features you might not have used:
Q&A feature – If using for class lectures or instruction – activate this feature to allow students to ask questions, answer questions, vote on topics, make comments, etc. Simply go to the small ‘down arrow’ next to PRESENT in the upper right corner of the slide deck, and activate the Q&A feature. A short URL will automatically be created and added to the top of each slide. Student submissions can be displayed (or not), and they are saved in a history to be viewed later.
Read text out loud – If you are using the Read&Write for Google Chrome extension, you know that it reads the content of Google Docs (and websites) out loud. Did you know that it now reads the text on Google Slides? This is a great support for students using teacher-created presentations, or other slide presentations as instructional material, Google Slide ebooks, etc. Try it here with these Google Slide examples:
I Can Use My Words” (You must have the extension downloaded from the Chrome Web Store)
Because of Winn Dixie (story review student assignment)
Sharing and Collaboration: And of course – Google Slides are automatically ‘shareable’ due their location ‘in the cloud’. Just set the sharing settings so that others can view or comment. Post on your class website for 24 hour access to materials, and terrific student/family collaboration!
Special Ed Tech is a newsletter geared toward and developed in collaboration with special education teachers, although the tools and tips are useful to all K-12 teachers. It provides practical, leading edge tips and resources for using technology and free/low-cost games to provide professional development and help engage students. Although packed with good ideas, the newsletter can be read quickly. It can be read online or printed on a standard printer.
Subscribe for email updates and links, or head to the website to access all articles and content. Find resources supporting assistive technology and UDL across topics Eye Gaze AAC, QR Codes in the Classroom, MathTech, Tools to Support Writing, Using Tablets in Moderate/Severe Classrooms, UDL- Why It’s Important, and much, much more! You can even find information and links to professional development available on assistive technology and UDL topics.
Check it out and subscribe for new information all year!
Captioning, or Closed Captioning, has a proven track record of improving literacy for learners of all ages.
In one randomized study, students engaged daily in content with “Same Language Subtitling” scored significantly higher than students in the comparison condition on the reading comprehension achievement post tests. Data from PlanetRead has shown that even 30 minutes of weekly exposure to SLS or captioning over 3-5 years, enables adults and children with basic familiarity of the alphabet to become functionally literate. The science underlying SLS and captioning is strong. Eye-tracking research has established that SLS causes an automatic and inescapable read-along response. Early-readers when exposed to SLS or captions, try to read along, and in the process, find their reading skills improving.
This free and simple tool is available to parents, educators, and anyone trying to help someone improve their reading skills! Closed Captioning is available on most devices including TV, Digital Cable, Satellite, DVD’s and many internet video channels such as YouTube. Simply turn on this feature and captions become immediately available. In addition, many educational video sites and organizations with digital content provide Closed Captions on their content.
Epic! – Unlimited Books for Kids is a subscription based digital book resource for children ages 12 and under. While the individual cost is $4.99 per month, Epic is available to educators for free!
Register, create student profiles, assign books, attach quizzes, and track reading progress (time and pages read). Over 10,000 ebooks are available, along with Audio Books and Read-Along books, and over 500 Spanish/English bilingual books. Additional books are added each month. Books can be read on any digital platform, or made available offline (there is a web-based portal, and apps in the Chrome Web Store, iTunes Store and Google Play Store).
Epic’s service includes a variety of fiction & non-fiction from leading publishers. It’s been called the “Netflix” of books for kids!
With all of the options available, this is a terrific tool for Universal Design for Learning and differentiation!
Google Forms now allows images to be added as answer choices. The option for pictures to be embedded in the question has been available for some time, however this new feature really opens up this tool for differentiation!
Students can choose a visual response in the multiple choice or checkbox question types. This is a terrific option for young learners, struggling readers, English Language learners and others. Using Google Forms, with image responses, can be used for assessment & check for understanding as well as student surveys, voting, lunch choice – the possibilities are endless!
The C-Pen Reader and C-Pen Exam Reader, developed in the United Kingdom, is now available in the US! This latest, significant, advancement in portable text reading technology for users of all ages.
The C-Pens allow for more independent reading, helping eucators and parents move away from reading aloud to students. While the pens offer differing features, both read-aloud of words as well as lines of text, built-in speaker and earphone jack, rechargeable battery, viewable font from 6.5 – 22, and only weigh 1.8 oz!
The C-Pen Reader also features instant word lookup in the dictionary and the ability to scan and save to file for copying or transferring to your computer.
The C-Pen Exam Reader is an allowable exam accommodation in the United Kingdom, can we envision the day where this type of portable tool is approved for standardized US assessments?
Project Gutenberg – not your Grandmother’s old, weathered text! New, upgraded features and options make this long-standing resource worth another look. Project Gutenberg offers over 50,000 free public-domain ebooks, along with tens of thousands more through partners and affiliates. Most of the classics are included, providing digital access for diverse learners. Choose among free epub books for reading on any computer, Chromebook, tablet or iPad/iPhone, or Kindle. Download them or read them online, with or without images, with or without audio. Many books, through partner Librivox, are human-read for a significantly improved audio listening experience, or access the Audio Book, Human Read Category.
Access books directly through the Project Gutenberg Website or download an app (Gutenberg Project iPad app or Gutenberg Books Android app). For more information on book downloads, access the Gutenberg How-To page for mobile devices. Follow on Twitter @.
Use the default clock on your iPad, paired with a passcode, to turn the iPad (or iPhone) off automatically. Follow this easy 2-step process to limit the time a student has in an app:
Open the Clock app, and choose the Timer icon at the bottom of the screen. Tap the music icon at the bottom of the timer screen (♫ ♫) and choose “Stop Playing”, then “Set”. Open the Settings app, tap Passcode in the left column, then Turn Passcode On in the right column, and set a 4 digit passcode (DO NOT FORGET THIS PASSCODE!) Make sure “Erase Data” slider is off on this screen.
To use this feature, return to the clock app, Set Timer > Start. Give the iPad to the student with the desired app open. When the timer runs out, the Slide to Unlock screen will be shown and the passcode must be entered to unlock. (Click here for printable directions with pictures).