Tech Tip Tuesday: Differentiation, Accessibility, and Personalization with Read and Write

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Are you looking for a tool that can help your students highlight online text, act as a screen reader, leave voice comments, use voice-to-text, include other accessibility and differentiation features? I’ve got your tool!

Read and Write by Text Help has been one of my go-to tools since I was teaching HS english. This is just one of the best all around programs I have used. It can do a number of things including: word prediction when writing, a built in dictionary/picture dictionary, text-to-speech, speech-to-text, screen reading personalization, translation, online text highlighting, and a feature to simplify the page (removing all the unwanted junk around the page).

Simply go to the link above, and click to add it to your browsers as an extension. **You need to be using Chrome for this to work. 

They also offer Read and Write premium free for teachers. Go to this link here to activate: https://www.texthelp.com/en-us/products/free-for-teachers/

Share this with your students so they can use the many features it offers!

Hope this helps!

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Tech Tip Tuesday: Split Text in Google Sheets

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This one is quick and easy… and quite useful. If you have ever had a list of names or other data that needed to be split into separate columns, then you are in luck. For example: imagine having a roster of student full names and you wanted to make them separate columns.

Here is what you do. In Google Sheets….

  1. Take a spreadsheet with a list of names or other data in a single column.
  2. Highlight all the data.
  3. Then from the Data menu, select Split Text to Columns.
  4. A popup will appear allowing you to choose the separator. For this, example choose Space. But definitely play with the others too at some point!
  5. Your text will now be in two columns, separated at the space. One for First Name and one for Last Name.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Check Your Google Accessibility

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Making sure your Google files are accessible is important. Here are a few ways to make your Google files more accessible and readable by everyone, including those with disabilities.

Include alt text

Include alternative text for images, drawings, and other graphics. Otherwise, screen reader users just hear “image.” Some images automatically include alt text, so it’s a good idea to verify that this automatic alt text is what you want.

Add or edit alt text

  1. Select an image, drawing, or graphic.
  2. Right click and then Alt text.
  3. Enter a title and description.
  4. Click Ok.

Use tables for data

Use tables for presenting data, not for changing the visual layout of the page. In the table, include a heading row (rather than starting with data in the first row) because screen readers automatically read the first row as a heading row.

Use comments and suggestions

Use the commenting and suggesting features instead of writing notes within the text of your document or presentation. Screen reader users can jump to comments using keyboard shortcuts rather than hunting through your file. The file owner can also receive email notifications or review comment threads.

Check for high color contrast

High color contrast makes text and images easier to read and comprehend. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 recommend a minimum ratio of 4.5:1 for large text and 7:1 for other text and images. For example, avoid light gray text on a white background.

To check contrast, use the WebAIM contrast checker.

Use informative link text

Screen readers can scan for links, so informative link text is helpful. It’s best to use the title of the page as the linked text. For example, if you’re linking to your profile page, the link text should say “my profile,” not “click here” or the full URL.

Use text to support formatting

It’s best not to rely on visual formatting alone to communicate meaning. Screen readers might not announce formatting changes, such as boldface or highlighting.

For example, to mark an important section of text, add the word “Important.”

Use numbered and bulleted lists

Google Docs and Google Slides automatically detect and format some lists for accessibility. For example, if you start a new line in your document by typing the number 1 followed by a period, the new line automatically becomes the first item in a numbered list. Learn how to format bulleted and numbered lists.

Use headings to organize your document

Headings divide your document into sections, making it easier for people to jump to a section (especially if they’re using keyboard shortcuts). You can use the default heading styles or create your own. Learn how to add and customize headings.

Include navigation landmarks in your document

Landmarks like headers, footers, page numbers, and page counts help your readers find where they are in your document. To maximize accessibility, especially in long documents, include one or more of these landmarks (available in the Insert menu).

Present slides with captions

When you present with Google Slides, you can turn on automatic captions to display the speaker’s words in real time at the bottom of the screen. Learn how to present slides with captions.

 

Hope this helps!