Monday, 5 November 2012

Accessibility Options through Google Chrome

At the Closing the Gap conference in Minneapolis, Paul Hamilton from SET B.C. presented a plethora of online resources for little to no cost. The title of the session was "Free and Low Cost Technology" and it was worth the conference costs to participate in the session. One of the main focuses of the presentation was the apps and extensions that are available through Google Chrome.  Some of the online software available on particular websites was only available through the Google Chrome browser.  I'd like to go through and highlight some of the ones that I think our divisional SST can implement effectively and easily with many students. I'll add more as I go. Remember: any of the material I'll discuss in this post is available only through the Google Chrome browser and is PC friendly- MAC, I'm not so sure.  

  • I'd like to start with Talk Typer.  This online software is a dictation software that will display spoken words in text form.  It works similarly to the Dragon Dictation software. I tested the software using my SST assigned laptop and the accuracy of the software was very good.  I envision this software being paired with SOLO.  The user can have questions read aloud in SOLO 6's Write:OutLoud program, dictate their responses into the Talk Typer software and then cut and paste into the Write:OutLoud document to complete a written task.  Students who have strong oral communication skills, but lack the ability to create written work will benefit greatly from this software.
  • Another great app offered through Google Chrome is SpeakIt. This app is available through the Google Chrome store for free. SpeakIt allows the user to highlight the online text they would like to have read to them, hit the speaker icon on the top right hand side of the browser, and hear the text read aloud.  This works very well with the next app I'm going to mention.
  • Google Dictionary.  If you love the ability to define text on the fly with the iPad by clicking on a particular word and selecting 'define', then you'll enjoy the Google Dictionary just as much.  This app is available in the Chrome store and will appear in the upper right hand side of your toolbar should you choose to download it.  Highlight a word you would like defined for you, select the dictionary icon, and a definition of the word will appear in a window.  Highlight the text within the box and use SpeakIt to have the definition spoken.
There are many other apps that could be used to support students' learning in the classroom.  These are a start, I make mention of a few more in posts to come!

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