Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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Accessibility Tools for Your Students

Overview

Each one of our classrooms is made up of a diverse audience, with a different skill set and abilities. Along with that comes the need by the teacher to differentiate their instruction in ways that never would have been possible before without technology. These tools make it so all students are inclusive in the lesson delivery and feel as if they have a place in the classroom. Below are five easy accessibility tools that you can use in your class to ensure you're differentiating lessons and ensuring that each student can achieve at a high level.

Closed Captioning in Google Slides

A brand new update that was just released a few weeks ago is that Slides now has the capability to produce Closed Captioning when you're presenting. The way it works is once you click on the Present button, the presenter menu appears. The "CC" logo appears and you're able to turn on closed captioning as you present. The microphone on your device picks up the audio, and then Google transcribes it at the bottom of the screen. This is meant for students or people who are deaf or hard of hearing. But, this would also be great for large presentations, students in the back of the room, or if there is a lit of extra noise while the presentation is occurring.

Accessibility Features in YouTube

Along the same lines as Slides is the ability to add Closed Captioning to any YouTube video. There are actually two separate ways to do this. When the video player is active, the closed captioning icon may be visible. Otherwise, there is the gear icon, or the settings menu, that allows you to toggle the closed captioning on or off. Also, students can slow down any YouTube video if they would like to ensure full understanding of the content. This can also be found in the Settings menu.

Speech to Text in Google Docs

Some students struggle with typing. However, there is a built-in "speech to text" feature in Docs that makes this much easier. Found in the Tools menu, "Voice Typing" can be found. A large red circle with a microphone then appears. This will allow the recording to begin, paused, finished. The Voice Typing will recognize several different punctuation marks. But, basic typing does not encompass all of the options available. Generic mouse functions such as "select all," "select entire paragraph," or "select last word" are also able to be recognized.

Using a QR Code

This allows you to generate a QR Code on the current website, or scan a QR Code to visit a certain site. Then, you can copy and hang around the room so students are able to easily visit websites with a simple scan from their device. This is a terrific accessibility, especially since the Davenport district has recently pushed out the QR Code extension. This is meant for students who struggle with typing, or even the younger students so they can simply scan a code and not have to worry about typing in the correct URL.

Flipgrid Immersive Reader

If you are at all familiar with the Immersive Reader, you are aware how valuable of a tool this is! Spread across all Microsoft products, this has the ability to read text aloud, change the text size and font, and even highlight parts of speech, just to name a few. Just the other day, Flipgrid announced that the Immersive Reader has been built into their platform. This will allow students of varying abilities to be able to have the opic and description read to them, further engaging them, and allowing their voice to be truly amplified.

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