Text to Speech with Read&Write for Google Chrome

What it Does and Why The Read&Write for Google Chrome extension (free) contains a number of different tools. The first and most visible is its ability to read Google Docs aloud (TTS, text-to-speech). When paired with the Texthelp PDF Reader extension (free), web-hosted1 PDFs may also be read aloud. In addition to reading the document aloud, the read-aloud function highlights each word as it is read. I have found in my own experience that I am able listen and read faster in this way, having the document read aloud to me, than I can read to myself. Having a document read aloud has a number of implications for student learning.

A few of these include:
Comprehension - Having a document read aloud can help a student better comprehend the material.2 It can also assist those who are non-native speakers.  Document Review - Have a document read aloud provides an easy means for all students to proof their work. This could also be used as a tool by instructors, using the tool to read papers …

Updates to Google Calendar Coming

As I posted back in October, Google is updating the Calendar user interface. The change will occur on January 8. Up until now users could opt-in, but now the change will be pushed to all users. You can see what the new calendar looks like below.

You can read more about it in the official announcement from Google here.

Adobe Photoshop Content-Aware Fill Majic!

If you have never seen content-aware fill in Photoshop, it is majic.
Watch the video below for a demonstration.

Updates to Google Calendar

Google has announced that it is updating the UI (user interface) for Calendar. If you are interested in learning about the changes and new capabilities check this page.

One thing to note:
This will roll out gradually. Google gives the admins the choice of how this change will be rolled out the the domain, either automatically or manually. The automatic roll-out begins November 14 with a deadline of February 28,2018.  Check with the Beloit College IT department for a specific timeline for our domain.

Check this post for the full details of the update.

About Stories

I enjoy Vlogbrothers videos. This one below addresses (at about 1:07) an important issue in the world of teaching and learning. Namely storytelling, and particularly the question of what is a, or your, story about? This is a key thing to think about as you are drafting your stories - what are the stories about? Not, what is the plot, but what overarching topic/idea/emotion/subject is your story about? What is the point you are attempting to illustrate? Why is your story important? Put another way, what is the point?

These are questions with which a storyteller must grapple and answer if they want to create a good story. If you are looking for tools to help you or your students draft a (digital)story please check out this website: Digital Media Toolbox Libguide. I have put together resources and recommendations to help create the best product possible.

P.S. Flat Dr. Pepper is just saddening to think about.

CLAMP Webinar: Moodle Quiz Friday, September 22

On Friday, September 22, I will be facilitating a webinar sponsored by CLAMP for a presentation about Moodle, specifically the Quiz module.

Sonya Johnson PhD, professor of Religious Studies at Beloit College, will share about her experience coming to Moodle, anxieties and expectations she had, challenges she faced and how Moodle helped her meet those challenges. She will also share about the ways in which Moodle and the quiz module in particular, supported her pedagogy. Sonya will finally share lessons learned/take-aways and her future plans for her courses in Moodle.

The session will be recorded and the video posted here when it is available.

If you would like to view the webinar it will be be held in Zoom (

Read PDFs Aloud: Tagging

I have talked about making PDFs accessible on this blog before. In addition to being able to search through the text, another of the benefits of running OCR (optical character recognition) on a PDF is that it makes it possible for a person to have the document read aloud or to listen to the document with TTS or text-to-speech technology.

Most of the time the OCR process works without issue. Sometimes however, the OCR will finish and the document says "blank" when it is read aloud. How do you know that a document will be able to be read aloud? I will outline below a few steps you can take to make sure that your PDF will be ready to be read aloud.

Checking Your PDF So how do you know if your PDF can be read aloud? The following steps will illustrate how to do so in Adobe Acrobat Pro. The first check is to make sure that the document has been OCRed. To check this, you can open the PDF and then click and drag to select the text. If this is successful then this means that the do…