Google Voice Typing Now in Google Slides

Google Slides Tools Menu

Many of us have been using Google Voice Typing with Google Docs.  It is now available in Google Slides also!  Find it in the same location: under the Tools tab.  It’s important to note that the Voice Typing will  only input text into the Speaker Notes section, however a simple “copy + paste” will allow the text to be transferred to the slide.  This can be a terrific solution for some students who struggle with writing, especially keyboarding and handwriting.

Find more information and “how to’s” at this link for Google Voice Typing Support.

Find and Access Audio Books for Your Students

audiobookAudio books can be transformative for students who struggle with reading or are not engaged with print text.  Audio books can tap into audio comprehension, increase fluency and provide a bridge to improved reading skills.  Educators Technology and Mobile Learning has curated 10 (mostly free) sites that provide high quality audio books, available to ALL students and ALL readers.  From early childhood and young readers through middle and high school, educators and parents can find titles suited to every child.

Check each one out for your students’ needs.

10 Great Places to Find and Access Audiobooks for Students

My personal favorites:

Find the latest from Educators Technology and Mobile Learning on Twitter at @medkh9

 

Google Docs Accessibility

grackle docs

Google Docs has become an essential tool in our classrooms, utilized by educators and students for everything from instruction and collaboration through assignment completion and more.  This makes it increasingly important to evaluate the accessibility of the documents being created and shared.

How can you ensure that your documents are accessible to everyone?  And what features should we be teaching our students to incorporate?  Here are the key areas to consider:

  • Use of Headings and Lists or Bullets when formatting the page content
  • Adding Alt Text to images, tables, charts or graphs
  • Structuring hyperlinks
  • Utilizing contrasting text and page background

How do you know if your document meets accessibility standards?  Grackle Docs is a Google Docs Add On that will check your document for accessibility errors, and help you repair them.  It’s a free and intuitive tool that will help you reach all users.  Download it from the Chrome Web Store and give it a try!

 

Doorway Online

graphic image of keyboard activityDoorway Online – is a free, Interactive and accessible website, with several activities targeting beginning literacy, math, time, money, memory, matching and keyboarding.  Activities utilize a standard keyboard and mouse, but are also single and dual switch-accessible.  Several activities have audio support, as well as learning mode or testing mode.  And it’s free!  Great for use in your classroom, or to share with families!

Follow them on Twitter @DoorwayOnline

 

Magic Scroll Chrome Extension

magic-scroll graphicMagic 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.

 

Google Slides – Features You Need to be Using!

google slides graphic

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 featureIf 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)

United States Government Texbook Chapter

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!

Closed Captioning Improves Literacy

Closed_captioning_symbol.svgCaptioning, 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.

Turn on captioning to turn on reading!  To find everything from how to turn on captioning, to finding sites with captioned content, visit Captions for Literacy.  (@Caps4Lit)

 

EPIC – eBooks and Audiobooks

epicEpic! – 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!

Watch this video to get started with your Free Educator account. @EpicKidsBooks

 

Add Images to Google Form Answers

fruitGoogle 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!

View this how-to from Google – linked here.  You can also read more and view a video tutorial at Freetechnology4teachers.com. (@rmbyrne)

C-Pen Portable Text Reader

c penThe 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?

School Health has begun carrying both pens in the US:  C-Pen Reader from School Health & C-Pen Exam Reader from School Health. Follow them on Twitter @schoolhealth or @EnableMart.