Technology Used to Assist Our Students
Voice Recognition a.k.a. Speech-to-Text
Designed for students who have difficulties with getting their thoughts into written form due to grapho-motor issues, processing issues or extreme spelling issues. In order for this to be an effective tool, students should be able to organize their thoughts and use specific language when speaking. The student dictates into the computer via microphone and the software types what is said.
- Dictation built in to Mac OS
- Dragon Dictate for Mac*
- Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Windows*
* The user files are trained for an individual user and updated each time the software is used; therefore, a personal computer with the software on it is required.
Additional At-Home Apps and Tools
Voice Dream can be purchased for $9.99 on the Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/app/voice-dream-reader-text-to/id496177674
It provides text-to-speech support for books from Bookshare, pdfs, web content, Dropbox files and more. They also provide an extensive list of additional voices that can be purchased for $1.99 - $4.99, but it comes with a free voice that is fairly high quality.
Developed by Bookshare to read books from the Bookshare collection, Read2Go can also be purchased for $19.99 in the Apple App Store:
TextHelp Web Apps: TextHelp, the developer of Read & Write Gold has a suite of Apps that work within browsers (e.g. Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer) on iPads, iPod Touches, iPhones as well as PCs and Macs. The suite includes Read&Write Web (reads web content), eBook Reader (reads Bookshare books), and Spelling, Speech, and Dictionary components that can help with written expression. Installation instructions for each app can be found within the correlating link. The apps can be found at http://apps.texthelp.com/
Also developed by TextHelp, iReadWrite can be purchased for $19.99 on the Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ireadwrite/id600843386?mt=8
iReadWrite includes writing supports including Text-to-Speech with Dual Color Highlighting,Contextual Word Prediction ,Phonetic Spell Checker , Sounds Like and Confusable Word Checker,Text and Picture Dictionary ,Customizable Background and Text Colors , Choice of Voices and Fonts, Import Documents , and Share, Print, and Export Documents .
It is recommended that students use a wireless keyboard with the iPad for writing, so that they can continue build keyboarding skills.
If you’re interested in finding quality apps to assist with reading and writing, a very extensive list of apps that have been vetted by The University of Michigan can be found at: http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/tools/apps
The apps are categorized by reading, writing, spelling, articulation, phonics, organization/study skills, resources/reference, and math. They are also leveled for preschool, early elementary, later elementary, middle school, high school, and college/adult.
Technology opens up new channels for learners, who tend to connect more and achieve more when they have multiple ways to access information. Some activities in The Howard School’s classrooms are a natural for multimedia, such as creating stop-action animation of a science experiment or making an iMovie for a presentation. Some activities are truly Web 2.0 – multimedia tools that allow users to interact and collaborate – such as students logging in to class blogs for homework assignments, study guides and links to useful resources; Skyping with an author during the Lower School’s Reading Month; or launching a YouTube channel for Hawk Talk, The Howard School’s student-run news program.
“In the technology-rich world we live in, one that our students have grown up in, we have to be sure that we are using the correct technology to enhance learning,” says Lisa Prodigo-Nimorwicz, instructional technology coordinator at The Howard School. As the go-to tech resource for faculty, she helps teachers implement the best tools for specific projects and guides students in using them.