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What is text-to-speech technology and how does it support our students?

As educators, we’ve been working with text-to-speech for many years now. Most of us are familiar with free or commercial products that can be used for reading digital text. But what does text-to-speech actually DO? And how does it support our students when they read?

We know that reading is a process of constructing meaning from print and decoding is just one element of this process. (Reading Rockets, 2001). We also know that students who struggle with decoding text need adaptations in order to access content. Text-to-speech technology is an important adaptation that allows students to access content to which they would not otherwise have access. By reading the text aloud to the student through voice synthesis or through audio narration, difficulties with decoding are bypassed.  Continue reading “What is text-to-speech technology and how does it support our students?”

CELA How-To’s

The following screencasts provide guidance in using reading tools with content from the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) Library.  For information on student eligibility and the application process, please refer to the section, Accessible Library Memberships.

*Please note that Word Q and Google Read & Write cannot be used to read most books from CELA, because the formats are not compatible.

Using EasyReader on an iPad
Requires i0s 9.1+

 


Using Voice Dream with audiobooks
This screencast explains how to import audiobooks into Voice Dream.  A more detailed walk-through of Voice Dream is available on the post Bookshare How-To’s.

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Using Capti with e-text
This screencast explains how to import e-text into Capti.  A more detailed walk-through of Capti is available on the post Bookshare How-To’s.

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Bookshare How-To’s

The following screencasts provide guidance in using both the Bookshare website as well as tools that can be used to read Bookshare materials on computers and mobile devices. More information on student eligibility and administrative procedures is provided on the page Accessible Library Memberships.

*Please note that Word Q cannot be used to read books from Bookshare, because the formats are not compatible.

Using EasyReader on an iPad
Requires i0s 9.1+

 

HOW TO USE THE BOOKSHARE WEBSITE

How to Navigate in Bookshare

How to Organize and Edit Members (Students)

 

How to Add & Edit Sponsors (School Personnel)

 

How to Create & Edit Reading Lists

 

HOW TO USE READING TOOLS

Using Capti on an iPad


Using Capti in a Browser

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 11.21.00 AM

Using Bookshare Web Reader in a Browser
(Compatible with Chrome on PC and Mac, or Safari on Mac)

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Using EasyReader on an iPad
Requires i0s 9.1+(Android version forthcoming)


Using Voice Dream on an iPad

Tech tip: Using Snapverter to convert paper into an accessible digital document

Is your school board using Google accessibility apps and extensions?

Here’s a brief demonstration video on how to use Snapverter, an add-on for Read&Write for Google Chrome that allows you or your student to convert a printed document (assignment, page of a book, etc) into a digital document that can be used with Read& Write. A great tool for increasing accessibility!

Tech tip: How to use OfficeLens to convert paper into an accessible digital document

If you are using Office 365, a feature within the OfficeLens app allows your student to scan a text by taking a picture, then read the text within the app itself by using the “immersive reader” function. Check out the short video below for a demonstration!

Student Feedback: “It’s like the enhanced book becomes you.”

Although the enhanced books have only been in place at Perspectives II for three weeks, the students are reporting overall satisfaction with their new reading experiences.  Here is a summary of oral feedback.

Narrated, enhanced e-books:

1) Save time!  This was the most widely reported benefit.   Students appreciate the ability to read much more quickly than they would normally. This helps them to read more books, which builds their exposure to text.  This also helps them to complete assignments on time.  They also reported that the “natural” pace of the narration helps to keep the story/information in their minds as they read.

Continue reading “Student Feedback: “It’s like the enhanced book becomes you.””

Uh oh, the tech.

Anyone who has attempted to use a new technology with students knows the value of patience and determination.  At Perspectives II, we introduced 5 iPads in January 2017. These were to be used to complement the class set of Chromebooks that is housed in the ELA classroom and shared by all students.

Although the students are familiar with using these devices and mastered use of the e-books quickly, we still encountered a few hiccups.

Continue reading “Uh oh, the tech.”