Read & Write for Google chrome (put out by Texthelp) is one of the best, yet underused, Edutools out there. (Side note: there are rumours that it might be soon funded by OSAPAC.)
Read & Write is a great tool that provides personalized support to make documents, web pages and common file types in Google Drive more accessible. It’s designed to help all learners, regardless of ability, engage with content in a deeper level.
Once installed in Chrome a little purple puzzle piece will appear and once pressed, the R&W toolbar will appear.
I won't go through all features (Texthelp has this great primer to walk through all the features - it's awesome!) but I do want to highlight some of my favourites.
- The Play button reads the text! I have taught a lot of decoders - kids who can read the words but have trouble understanding what they are reading. I use R&W all the time to get students to read the text as it is read to them. I have seen HUGE improvements in reading comprehension.
- Talk and Type. I use the Voice typing feature in Docs all the time. The Talk and Type feature gives me this functionality on all websites. Thinks about how much easier filling in paragraph questions on Google Forms will be!
- The Screen Mask darkens the entire page except one thin line that moves with the cursor. This is a great way to help readers who are easily distracted by other text on the page focus on particular areas.
- The Highlighting tool allows you to highlight text but the bonus is the collect highlights. When you collect highlights a new Doc opens and each different colour is grouped together to collect common ideas. This is a great for those whose thoughts are all over the place. Use Talk and Type to record the stream of consciousness then so back, highlight similar ideas in the same colour, collect highlights - et voilà! All common ideas are together.
- The voice notes tools is great for teachers. I have found that sometimes tone is lost in written feedbacks. Voice notes allows you to record up to 60 seconds of voice and insert it into the Doc. Once inserted, a play button appears in the comment box and comments can be listened to.
The tool is rich for all learners and educators. If you have not tried it already, you need to give it a try!
When I do PD with teachers around Read & Write I like to walk them through this Hyperdoc.