Several students with learning disabilities are able to complete their work along with their peers, the only difference is they may need tools to help them complete certain tasks. In several posts, I’ve written about different smartphone and tablet apps that may benefit these students. However, completing studious tasks (e.g. word processing, reading, etc.) tends to be easier on a laptop or desktop computer. Google Chrome is a great, free resource as it offers many accessibility features and extensions to benefit students with or without disabilities!
7 Google Chrome extensions and apps for learning disabilities:
Google Chrome Extensions:
Google Chrome extensions are resources that can be added to the Chrome browser. “They can perform several functions that are helpful to dyslexic students, including text-to-speech, dictation, word prediction, and text-leveling.” Each extension can be downloaded directly from the Chrome Web Store.
Readability is a Google Chrome extension that decreases distractibility by removing images and advertisements. Once these items are removed, the text is customizable (font, size, etc.) to make it easier for each student to read. The text can also be saved to an account and even sent to a Kindle e-reader to read later. Users can even combine a text-to-speech extension with Readability to transform it into a helpful tool for those with dyslexia and attention issues.
Ginger is a Chrome extension that proofreads text once it’s placed in Ginger’s popup window. “The advantage that Ginger has over the spell-checker in Google Docs is that it will look at words in the context of entire sentences–and thus identify more errors, such as homonym confusion.” The Ginger extension also features a rephrasing tool which will make suggestions for stronger sentences.
SpeakIt! is a basic text-to-speech Google Chrome extension. To activate it, students simply select the words they want read aloud, then either click on the toolbar icon or use the keyboard shortcut. Though this is a basic text-to-speech tool, students can still select different speaking rates and a variety of voices.
Scrible is a Chrome extension offering a full set of annotation tools, “which can help students identify key information and take notes during online research.”
In sum, it is a popup toolbar which can be used on any website and contains: multicolored highlights, sticky notes, and the ability to underline and alter the color of the website’s text. When using this tool, students also have the ability to create “customized annotation legends and add bookmarks to important pages.” Once the website is annotated, the student can save it for later use.
Google Chrome Apps:
While Chrome’s extensions work within its browser, Chrome’s apps are independent apps that run in their own windows or tabs in Google’s browser. “Chrome apps can help students with dyslexia in several ways, providing tools like word prediction, dictation, graphic organizers, and text leveling.” The apps can also be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.
Remember in elementary and secondary schools when your teacher would ask you to organize an idea by using a graphic organizer? This app allows users to do just that, so it benefits individuals with dyslexia and more! Lucidchart is a full-featured graphic organizing app containing several formatting and imaging options.
Once the chart is complete, students can print it, export to Google Drive, or share with the Lucidchart community on social media.
Looking for a word prediction app? WordQ functions as a basic word processor and offers word prediction to benefit students who have difficulty spelling, such as those with dyslexia. It also offers auditory feedback by reading aloud each letter, word, and sentence as it’s typed. It also gives students the ability to utilize topic-specific prediction.
“A unique feature of WordQ is that it includes usage examples for many of the prediction choices that it generates. By checking those example sentences, students can better distinguish between close-sounding words and homonyms before inserting the correct choices into their writing.” Upon completing each document, students can save the paper to Google Drive or print directly from the WordQ app!
The Newsela app allows individuals to “read closely and think critically.” It is a great resource for students of all abilities researching current events. The app publishes daily news articles in 5 reading levels, from grades 3-12.
According to its description in the Chrome Store, “Newsela adapts to the reading level of your students while empowering them to adjust the complexity of the text. Students are empowered to build background knowledge through multiple re-readings and learn to apply strategies like highlighting and annotation to digital text.” The articles and quizzes within the app are available for free to registered students.
To learn more about these resources for students with learning disabilities and much more, visit Noodle.com.