Posts

Listen to Read with Speechify

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I am always on the look out for apps that can support teaching, learning, and accessibility. Being able to listen to text, rather than reading can help many students. I recently came across an new to me app, Speechify. Speechify is a text-to-speech app that allows a person to listen to websites and documents. At the time of this post the platform supports a Mac and iOS app, and a a Chrome extension.


Here is a video detailing what Speechify has to offer:


Speechify offers two different pricing tiers: free and pro ($7.99/mo).

Here is a list of links to other posts about other text-to-speech resources if you are interested in learning more.

https://bcitec.blogspot.com/2018/01/text-to-speech-with-read-for-google.htmlhttps://bcitec.blogspot.com/2017/01/adobe-acrobat-proreader-read-documents.htmlhttps://bcitec.blogspot.com/2017/08/read-pdfs-aloud-tagging.htmlhttps://bcitec.blogspot.com/2016/12/creating-accessible-pdfs-session-summary.html
If you have more questions about Speechify you can ch…

Speak Your Mind...Google Voice Typing

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Let Your Voice Be Heard Dictating to your computer can be a productivity boost. For some it is an accessibility boost as it helps them think through what they are writing and more easily get the thoughts down on "paper". There are paid programs for this that work very well such as Dragon Naturally Speaking. This program allows the user to train the software to their voice and supports the user is verbally adding punctuation as well as other voice commands. It really is a great way to draft messages and other writing. There is also a mobile version of the software to help users on mobile devices. The downside to these solutions is their cost. The desktop program begins at $300 and the mobile app uses as subscription model ($15/month or $150/yr)1. While a professional may be able to request this this tool to assist them in their work, this cost is something that makes the use of this program impossible for many students. The fortunate thing is that there is a free tool within…

EDYS Advising Practicum Session SP 2018

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My colleague from IT, Adam Dinnes, and I will be presenting a session, "Teaching, Learning, and Technology," for the Education and Youth Studies Department for Advising Practicum on Friday, March 23. You can see a preview of our talk below. In addition to the technologies highlighted in the video below we will be sharing about other tools to increase student engagement. Please contact me if you are interested in discussing how these or other tools might help you and your students reach the learning objectives for your lesson or course. You can see our slides here, and back-channel document for more resources here.



What's new in GSuite?

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Google has announced a number of updates. Below are a few that I think are important for teaching and learning.

The first noteworthy update is that they have brought some accessibility enhancements to Sheets, Slides, and Drawings. Google has added Braille support for Sheets and screen magnifier support in Slides and Drawings.

Next, it is now possible to search within a folder in Google Drive. The only catch with this is that the folder must be located withing your 'My Drive'. You are not able to search within a folder that is in your "Shared with me" area unless you add it to your Drive.

Finally, the Jamboard was brought in as a core GSuite service. For those who might be unfamiliar, the Jamboard is an interactive whiteboard that facilitates collaboration. While we currently don't have any of these on campus, I am excited to see that Google has brought this in as a core service as this points to stable support of the product. I am excited about investigating how…

Always Get to Moodle

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We create a new Moodle instance each year with a unique URL which includes the numbers for the academic year. This can create a problem if you bookmark the site and then come back the next year. The bookmark you created will take you to an old Moodle instance.

You can always get to the current Moodle by entering "https://moodle.beloit.edu" in your browser's address bar. Even better, it is  possible to edit your Moodle book mark to do the same. The animated gif below shows the steps. This was done in the Google Chrome browser, but the steps should be very similar for other browsers.


Links to Edit BookmarksFirefox Google Chrome Safari Micorsoft Edge

Text to Speech with Read&Write for Google Chrome

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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

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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.