Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Friday, September 9, 2016

Reaching Special Populations

With technology rapidly evolving, it's important that we consider how we are meeting the needs of our special learners.  You might not know that there are some terrific Google tools you can use to support these students!

Text to Speech Support:
The Read and Write extension for Google offers a great set of tools for a range of students, including students with special needs and English Learners. Highlights include:

  • Words and passages read aloud with dual color highlighting
  • Hearing text translated into other languages
  • Turning words into text as you speak
  • Word prediction feature
  • Vocabulary tool which pulls highlighted words into a new doc to include definition and pictures
There is a paid version with all of the tools, and a free version with just a subset of the tools. However, educators can get the paid version for a year at no cost by filling out this form.

SpeakIt will read selected text on any web page using Text-to-Speech technology with language auto-detection. It can read text in more than 50 languages.  It is simple 
to use and can be beneficial for English Learners.  SpeakIt can read emails, documents, news articles and more.      

Cleaning Up the Clutter:
With ads and clutter, websites can be overwhelming for some students.  These extensions can help create a more readable version of web pages by removing distracting items.

Readability will turn web pages into comfortable reading views by disabling surrounding webpage noise and clutter.  It also helps keep students' reading lists organized using the "Read Later" function. Font size and color scheme of text can be adjusted too!  

OpenDyslexic is a fabulous tool which increases 
readability for dyslexic readers by overriding all fonts on webpages and replacing it with the OpenDyslexic font. This font can help prevent confusion for students with dyslexia because of the unique shape of each letter (heavy weighted bottoms).

If you are interested in trying out any of these tools with your students and need some support, please let me know!