Accessible Content for All: Building Equity & Engagement with Tech Tools

Tools to Support Writing in Accessible Documents

Do you have students who struggle with writing and spelling but have good verbal skills?  How about those who experience writer's block because of difficulty getting started with articulating their ideas and organizing their writing?  There are some great writing support tools available to build on your students' strengths and bring the joy back to writing again!  

Section Objective

  • Compare and contrast the features of writing support tools across platforms.

Student Highlight:  Meet Alex

Meet Alex (2:38)

Learn About & Try out Free Writing Support Tools

Remember to always try the free writing support tools first. Start by choosing your preferred platform to make sure you know about the free built-in writing tools that are available.  If you want to expand your knowledge, continue exploring some tools for other platforms using the links below.

Microsoft

Google

iOS

Word PredictionGoogle Smart Reply SuggestionsiOS Predictive Text
DictateVoice TypingiOS Dictate
Audio Note Voice Memos App

Exploring Speech to Text Tools:

Using Speech-to -ext Assistive Technologies to Support Students (3:47 min.)

Supporting Writing by Providing Multiple Options for Expression

Sometimes the free built-in writing accessibility tools are not robust enough to meet the specific learning needs of students with disabilities.  In this case, you may want to look at additional Assistive Tech tools that have more writing features and supports. For emerging writers, check out the resources for  Expression Ideas with Multimedia Support

Choose one tool to explore and learn more about in each of these categories:

Graphic OrganizersAudio Notes & Voice NotesWord PredictionSpeech to Text

Graphic Organizers

 

Speaker amplifier

 

Choose your words scrabble tiles

 

headsets with microphone

 

Make a MovieMake a BookSentence BuildingAlternative Pencil

movie camera and flim

stack of books

scrabble cube words

pencil

What does this look like in the Classroom?

Speech to Text

Speech Recognition in the Classroom (4:50)

Teaching Students to Use the Tools: Voice Typing in Google or Dictation in Word

Voice Typing in Google Docs & Dictate in Word (1:28)

Teaching & Modeling the Process of Using Speech to Text

Don't forget to teach students to use the technology.

Technology tools such as speech-to-text need to be taught.  Teachers can model the use of the tools and be explicit in instruction on how to use tech tools for writing.  In the video below, Sharon Redmon, a long-time special education teacher talks to us about how she teaches speech-to-text. 

Teaching Students to Use Speech to Text (9:38)

Technology Tools for Younger Learners

Students could use the SnapType Pro App for IOS to write on a worksheet or they could use tools like Clicker Writer or Book Creator to express learning across all platforms.  As early as 3rd grade, they could begin to use the built-in speech-to-text tools in Google (Voice Typing) and Word (Dictate).  The videos below show some of these tools. 

Snap Type Pro - $49.99

  • SnapType Pro (4:19 min.)

Cicker Writer - Request a Quote

Clicker Writer Intro (3:51)

Book Creator (&6.50/month)

Book Creator: Writing Support for All Students (2:43)

Voice Typing in Google Docs & Dictate in Word

Reflection

1. What options do you provide for your students to express their thoughts?  Could you teach one new tech tool for expression to your whole class?

OVERVIEW
level 1

EXPLORE
level 2

APPLICATION
level 3

I have a general understanding of writing support tech tools that are available.I explored and trialed at least one writing support tool that would benefit my students.I selected a specific assignment for my students and set up 3 options for expression using the tools I learned about in this section.

Glossary:

  • Graphic Organizer -  A powerful organization tool to support writing that uses visual design templates to demonstrate relationships between facts, concepts or ideas.
  • Word Prediction - A digital tool that support spelling by predicting words as the user types letters based on spelling, syntax, and frequency of word use.
  • Audio or Voice Note - An audio file that is created by speaking into an electronic device which can be saved and accessed later as a reminder or to support the brainstorming process in writing.
  • STT - Speech to Text (AKA speech recognition or dictation) is technology that enables human speech to be converted automatically into text. 
  • Alternative Pencil - Anything that provides a student with access to all 26 letters of the alphabet for use in writing.  Access for students with significant disabilities often involves partner assisted scanning.