Today I had the pleasure of visiting Steiner Ranch Elementary to see AT in action! The staff there are truly working with the latest and greatest technology with their students.
Kristin Wood, a member of the team, showed me how they are using the new Read and Write toolbar from Google Chrome to assist students with reading, writing, and spelling assignments. Below is a short video of Ms. Wood demonstrating some of the toolbars capabilities.
Like other toolbars Read and Write sits on the top of the page, just below the address bar. Once you have Google Chrome installed, you can log on to your Google Drive account and create a Google Doc (document). If you have the toolbar installed you will be able to pull it down to display the task menu by clicking on the purple Read and Write button.
The first two icons represent the dictionary and picture dictionary, respectively. For beginning or lower level readers, a picture cue will often make it easier to determine if the the word is both the right usage and spelled correctly. You can see in this screen shot the pop-up windows that are created by clicking on the tools when a word is underlined or highlighted.
There are also buttons which allow you to research a word by linking directly to Google search. The other key feature to this toolbar is the ability to play back written text in order to help proofread. You can adjust the rate at which you need it read back as well depending on your skill level.
With the available assistive technology landscape changing everyday it is hard to predict, but I think this new toolbar is here to stay. One thing is for certain however, with awesome teachers like those at Steiner Ranch Elementary, the students in Leander are in good hands.