by Melissa Green, Emerging Technology and Accessibility
The FRC Faculty Technology Showcase is a great place to learn how faculty are using technology to enhance learning, conduct research, and increase professional productivity. This year’s Showcase also marks the launch of the Texthelp tools now freely available to UA students, faculty, staff, and departments.
Texthelp offers a collection of Mac and PC desktop software, Google Chrome apps and extensions, and iOS and Android apps that support reading, writing, language learning, and STEM subjects. The tools are available for use on both personal and University-owned devices and can be accessed via the software catalog on the OIT website.
Read&Write supports reading, writing, researching, and studying. It offers a simple toolbar at the top of the screen that you can customize to meet your specific needs. It offers support with tasks like reading text out loud, understanding unfamiliar words, researching assignments, and proofing written work. It’s particularly beneficial for English language learners and users with learning disabilities, but it’s useful for all learners.
The Read&Write toolbar is available as a Google Chrome extension and as desktop software for Windows and Mac. There are also iPad and Android tablet apps that offer many of the features of the Chrome and desktop tools.
Snapverter is an easy to use add-on for Read&Write for Google Chrome that transforms papers and files into readable PDF documents.
After installing the Snapverter Chrome app, you can use your smartphone to snap a picture of text in a book, handout, or other paper-based item or select a saved inaccessible digital file from your phone or computer and upload it to the Snapverter folder in your Google Drive. Files are converted to readable text using optical character recognition (OCR) and stored as PDFs in your Google Drive. If you’d like, you can then use Read&Write to hear text read aloud, see words explained, access translation features, and more.
EquatIO supports math and STEM subjects. It lets you type, handwrite, or speak to create equations, formulas, and other math and chemistry expressions on a computer or Chromebook; there’s also a library of ready-made expressions you can use to add STEM content to a document. EquatIO also supports LaTex, a typesetting and mark-up language that’s widely used for mathematical and scientific documents.
EquatIO is available as a Google Chrome extension and as desktop software for Windows and Mac. EquatIO users can also use the EquatIO mathspace collaborative workspace and, coming soon, the EquatIO mathspace mobile app.
Ready to give Texthelp a try? Contact Emerging Technology and Accessibility to request access or to talk about how these and other technologies can support inclusive and accessible learning opportunities.
Melissa Green is a Technology Accessibility Training Specialist in the Office of Information Technology’s Emerging Technology and Accessibility area, which works to ensure that technology users, including those with disabilities, have a functional and accessible technology experience with the university’s web presence and instructional and emerging technologies