I am a big fan of any tech tool that redefine’s student learning. I see such a redefinition when we digitally share what’s happening in our classroom and students make genuine connections in the online realm. I see it when my assessment practice grows when students have access to tools that allow me to better grasp their understanding. I see it when accessibility is heightened, when student learning (and the support I can provide) isn’t tied to the bell schedule or our school day. And at times I see it when our most vulnerable students, those with learning designations and IEPs, gain access to and gain an understanding of how a particular tech tool can deepen their understanding and communicate what they’ve learned.
So when I come across something new that I believe has this kind of transformational power, I know I have to share it with other teachers!
Introducing Read & Write for Google Chrome.
Read & Write gives students access to a platform of supportive tools that allow them to modify how they interact with their work. A Google Extension, Read & Write provides comprehensive reading and writing supports for Google Docs and the web, as well as PDFs stored in your Google Drive. It’s amazing.
When a student in the Greater Victoria School District has created a GAFE account they gain instant access to the Read & Write tools. When we get started on an assignment or research I have my students log in to the Chrome browser (from a Chromebook, a desktop, their own personal device, or whatever else we may have access to). Instantly the Read & Write extension pops up in their browser and they are able to interact with their Google Doc, PDF, or any website they visit. They can then begin to utilize several tools that offer a depth of personalization, support, and awesomeness.
Let me break down each tool for you here:
Google Read & Write App
Word Prediction. This feature puts up a list of words based on letters that have been typed (similar to the prediction used by cell phones). It can easily support hesitant spellers, ELL students, and students looking to enhance their vocabulary.
Dictionary. Provides definitions of common words. Definitions can be read aloud by clicking Play. I see it supporting our ELL students as well as students needing definitions to specific terms for their studies.
Picture Dictionary. Allows you to type in a word and retrieve one or more associated pictures. Double click on the image to insert it into your document. Again, this supports our ELL students as well as our students with IEPs by giving them a visual representation of what they are reading.
Speech Input. Record voice and convert it to text. This supports students by enabling them to have their speech changed in to text in their document. This is great for students with fine motor challenges or even written output struggles.
As soon as our school gained access to the GAFE platform I offered workshops to our Educational Assistants and Resource Team to introduce them to the Read & Write tools. I strongly feel that this extension can support students in achieving their IEP goals and becoming more successful in school. If you have any questions on how we are using the Read & Write tools with our students or for support in introducing it to your staff feel free to contact me.