Part 2 of our review of Austin ISD's presentation on how today's educational environment of mainstream technologies can be adapted or fitted with assistive technology for students. Through the lens of students with disabilities, we will explore mainstream technology tools that are becoming the future of assistive technology, and how they support these students. In Part Two, we explore Chrome Browser extensions, Google WorkSpace, and iOS (iPad) tools.
Jay: Hello, everyone, to another Toolkit Tuesday. This is Jessica "Jay" McKay with Knowbility. Welcome back to those of you who joined us for part one of trending assistive technology in schools. That was last month's featured discussion.
Today, this will be the conclusion with Trending Assistive Technology in Schools Part 2, with Carye Edelman from Austin ISD. She will be joining us later today.
Thank you so much for being here and we're just going to go rock and roll right through these slides real quick and get to the good stuff.
So our agenda for today, of course we will be looking at the excerpt from our Access EDU summer conference. For those not familiar, this was our first ever conference that we had this summer that was based specifically on assistive technology accessibility issues in the K-12 space. We were really excited to have some great presentations and sessions such as the one you are going to be looking at today.
We did edit for time and for clarity. And then at the end of today's session, we will have Carye from Austin ISD joining us for some question and answer time. If you have any questions while you're watching the video, if you want to put them in the chat, we will make sure we get to them at the end once the video has concluded. Mark and I will be here to collect all those questions, have them ready to go when it's time to meet up with Carye at the end.
All right. Let me go ahead and get this video started. I'm really excited about this. I know we had a lot of great feedback from last month's session, so I'm really excited to see the conclusion or part 2 of trends in K-12.
Carye: This is part two. Part one we just completed 15 minutes ago. All right. We talked a lot about trends in AT, specifically in K-12.
So, we talked a little bit about instructional versus assistive, how those two play together, don't play together. Accessible digital text, the new meaning that's taken on since we've done so much remote learning. Universal Design for Learning, how that has also kind of been affected.
Common tools. We talked about speech-to-text, text-to-speech. How those are many times teachers are talking about speech-to-text but they're saying text-to-speech or vice versa. What word prediction is.
And then we looked specifically at the PC and the Mac operating systems and what kind of assistive technology, accessibilities, are built into those, too. What we're going to cover in part two is we're going to get a little more into the weeds of the Chromebook, the Google Workspace, AISD is a Google district. So that is primarily what we use.
As well as iPads. Our K, 1st, and 2nd grade students are one-to-one with iPads and all other students in Austin ISD are one-to-one with Chromebooks. So we focus a lot on those two devices specifically for assistive technology and for accessibility.
We'll talk a little bit about the online accessible digital text resources that are available to us through the state, not specifically in AISD.
So I'm going to turn it over now to Shira who is going to take you into the next set of slides.
Shira: We're going to talk, like Carye said, about Chromebooks. AISD is a Google district, quote unquote. So we have a lot of students using Chromebooks, especially third grade and up. They are all -- since the pandemic, they've all been issued a Chromebook.
So we've been able to use a lot of these accessibility features within the Google Workspace suite. And also on the Chromebooks themselves, on some of our students, and that can be 504 general ed, special ed, a lot of these students are using these at home.
So within an actual device, a Chromebook, some of them are touch screen and some of them are not. We're updating all of them to be touch screen. Hopefully they all by next school year will all have touch screen devices that are Chromebooks. And that adds to just a whole nother layer of accessibility for some of our students. But those Chromebooks actually have built into them some of the features I was talking about in part one.
So text-to-speech, where we have the ability to highlight any text you see on the screen, press play, and then have it read aloud.
A screen reader, which I think traditionally a lot of people think of JAWS when they hear the word screen reader, which -- raise your hand if you've ever heard of JAWS. JAWS is going to be a very comprehensive screen reading program. But this is going to be just the, quote unquote free, but it comes with the actual device of screen reading for whatever is on your screen.
So just because you have a screen reader built in to the Chromebook doesn't mean that what you're having read to you makes sense. So, in other words, the things that are on your screen that within the websites, they need to be accessible and read aloud by the screen reader in a way that the person who's using the screen reader can understand the information and that the information is in logical order, that it makes sense, that when you hit the correct keys, it is like logical to your brain.
So, yes, you can have the screen reading. But like we said in part one, it all needs to be built with that universal design in mind, that accessibility in mind, to make it make sense to the person who is using that tool.
So we also have high contrast and magnifier, which is equivalent to like a zoom that is built into the device of the Chromebook. And the thing that I think is very useful for some of our students is the on screen keyboard with word prediction.
When you go into the accessibility settings of the device, the Chromebook device itself, you can turn on word prediction, and I'm going to click on this and hopefully it will pop up this video that I made.
Shira: To use the accessibility settings in your Chromebook, you go to the time, click on it, and go to settings. Scroll down to advanced. And scroll down to accessibility. Click on the accessibility menu, and then you can click on all the features that you want to use. I have the on-screen keyboard enabled and you can see that little button right here. So let me get out of this settings menu, and if you click on the keyboard button here, the on screen keyboard comes up, and you can either use the mouse or your finger on a touch screen keyboard to get the words that you want to type and type letters you want to type. Then you see the word prediction up here. Type on the -- tap on the word that you want to use. To get the handwriting feature, click this little carat and click on the squiggle, and you can draw in the word you want and it will also try to predict the word that you are trying to type. And then to get back to the keyboard, you press on the keyboard. And that's it.
Shira: Okay. Can everyone hear me again? So, I really like the word prediction, the fact that it's built in to that keyboard, and also the fact that you can do that handwriting feature, because some students, especially for math, I've had requests for students who -- they want to be able to sort of -- they draw the numbers or the expressions or any of that math language that are using their finger, rather than having to search for the keys on the keyboard that are appropriate for expressing what they're learning in math.
So the ability to toggle back and forth between those two is pretty helpful, and it's a really cool feature, having those Chromebooks at home during the pandemic. We're going to get into the Google Workspace, which includes Google Doc, Google Sheets, Google Slides. All those other tools. We're mainly going to be talking about Google Docs, which is the one we use the most here in Austin ISD. Some of the other tools you will find, and some you won't. So it really just depends and we can go through those specific questions if you have them.
I'm going to have -- I have two categories on this page. One is assistive technology tools there at the top, and the other is other tools. I want y'all to remember that either of these things can be classified as assistive technology for any student that might need them, and absolutely need them to be able to access the curriculum is the qualification we use for assistive technology. So if a student really absolutely needs preferences, for example, then that could be considered assistive technology. So just because I have those labels doesn't mean we can't interchange them.
So some of them that you'll find in Google Docs is under the tools menu, voice typing, and it's one of our most popular features we have built into our Google Chrome books and our Google Suite there. So it's their speech-to-text, and if you've ever used it, you have found out that it doesn't need any training, it doesn't need you to practice, it doesn't need you to be very careful with it. It sort of picks up everything that you're saying pretty easily.
I know Google, for better or for worse, uses what information they have about all of us to sort of make that really smart. But it's been great for our students to be able to use and they try that out and see if it's a tool that will work for them.
Spelling and grammar check is pretty simple to use in Google Docs as well. Grammar check is the same way. I tried it, like, for example, with the there, their, they're error. If you type T-H-E-I-R, but you mean one of the different ones, it will do a gray underline under the particular word that's the grammar error. And then if you click on it, it will populate a little bubble that will correct your error. And so you can choose to select it and then you can correct it by just clicking on it.
Smart compose is a relatively new feature, and I'm going to try to demo it. I want you guys to know that -- how do you minimize it? Escape.
I have this little paragraph here, and it's going to be -- this is about Mount Everest that I got from Wikipedia. What Smart Compose will do is, if you go under tools and preferences, it will be there as a little check mark. And I have it turned on. So what it will do is, if you start writing a sentence that's about the topic that you have here on your page, it will have a gray populated number of words that it thinks that you might be able -- that you might want to use. All you have to do to have all of those filled in is to press the tab key and have them all filled in for you. I'm going to try to write some simple words that maybe are used in this paragraph. If it doesn't show up because, you know, it's not particularly picking up on that, we'll just see what it does.
So this is just a good example, actually, of why we're doing this. Some of these features, they're built in and could be really helpful. Sometimes they work exactly the way you want them to for kids. And sometimes they don't. And of course, when we're presenting, it's always the time that things don't work exactly that you want it to, but that's just something to know about being a presenter. So let's see if it works.
Mount Everest is a world I'm going to type the same sentence again, as Carye said to do. And this is -- there you go. It's a worldwide mountain. Is that what I want to say? Probably not. But I could if I wanted to. I just hit the tab key, and it came right up with putting that whole thing in there for me.
The other tools we have in the tools menu that I think are kind of pretty helpful for our students and anyone else, these are universally designed to be able to be helpful for not just your special ed students, but any of your general ed students, is the Explore tool is helpful. If you want to search for a particular topic. If you pull up that explore option, it pulls up a little side bar where you can search both Google and your Google drive all at once. You can search Google for web results, with web pages of relevant things you're looking for, but also search Google images. If you find an image that might support, for example, a topic you might be writing about as a student, you can click and drag that right into your answer. So, it's really cool that it all kind of works together.
Word count is great for our students who really need that reinforcement, that look at my word count. I've already written, you know, 105 words, and I only have XYZ number to go. Something that might be motivating for them. Help them with social-emotional piece.
And then preferences I think is a great one. Like, for example, if there's a student who misspells the word "the" every time they type it, they spell T-E-H instead of T-H-E, you can put that into automatic substitution, and it will automatically replace that word every time you misspell it.
Compare documents I think is relatively new. I think it came out last year or maybe the year before, I'm not sure. If you hit that button, it will combine two documents into one and you can see maybe where you have left some things out or where some errors were. I haven't seen it used a ton, but it is there, and maybe as we go on, people will use it more and more. It's a good option to have, just to know about.
So now we're going to get into some of the paid extensions that we in Austin ISD use. If you've ever heard of Don Johnston, it's an assistive technology company that makes some really great products, and one of them is called Co: Writer Universal. It's Cloud-based, so it functions from across a bunch of different platforms. So it's a Google extension. It can be a resident piece of software on a computer. It can also function as an iOS app.
And it provides really smart word prediction based on the student and what the words are that that student uses frequently. If they frequently misspell the same word over and over, Co:Writer will do a great job of trying to predict that word as the student uses the program more and more. It's also really smart when it comes to spelling and word prediction. It gets what students are trying to say phonetically a lot of the time. It doesn't work 100%, like nothing does, but it is a good one that we just think that their word prediction does a good job for our students in particular.
It comes with text-to-speech and speech-to-text. So, it has reinforcements with text-to-speech within the words that are predicted. So if you have a menu of words that are predicted, you see the one you want, but you're not 100% sure. You can swipe over it or mouse over it and have that word read aloud to you, if you want to choose that word, then you click on it or tap on it. And then speech-to-text is built in there, too, and it comes as a microphone button on the Chrome extension or on the iOS app using that little microphone there as well. And it's smart.
It's easy to use, and it uses voice typing on the Chromebook, so technically, it's all sort of using the same program, but it's just a different interface.
Snap and Read is something that we just got this past year in Austin ISD. It helps to make inaccessible documents accessible, or what we call OCR, which is Optical Character Recognition. Basically, any text you have on your screen that might not be intractable -- I don't know if that's a word -- but if you -- like, for example, you see a picture of text and the student needs to have that read aloud, but can't use the mouse to highlight that text and have it read aloud. This program will convert it to a document that you can have read aloud.
So, let me just show you how that works. Basically, it comes up as -- it has its own little interface right here, and it's this extension. And we pulled up this particular PDF from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials. It has both options for being -- having text read aloud. You've got the click and speak here. So if you click this button, and then come over here, and click on the text you want–
Screen reader: To help you remember the best practices for presentation --
Shira: I hope you could hear that. It started to read it aloud. You also have cross hairs for a screenshot reader. If you click on it and select a bunch of the text, it will have it read aloud.
Screen reader: Getting started with --
Shira: So you understand that delay. Picture yourself as a student who needs to use this tool, and none of your other, you know, fellow students are using it, you might need head phones. You might have a slight, you know, few second delay in having that stuff read aloud to you. So while everyone's raising their hand to answer the question, you're still having this read aloud to you. So those are just things, not to discourage people from using, but to keep in mind, that it's a different experience when you're using these tools than having, you know -- so those teachers need to be aware of all of those different types of tools and students that are in their classroom.
They also have a nice vocabulary leveller tool in this little suite, and they have a color overlay, which can be helpful if you just, you know, want to have an easier time seeing the text on the screen.
Text Help is another company that makes a paid extension/app that we use a lot for word prediction and all the things I'm going to talk about. Text Help makes Read and Write, which is a cross-platform functionality program. It is Cloud-based, so it has a log-in just like Co:Writer does. It will predict the same type of words from device-to-device, if there's a student using a Chromebook, and they log in on the Chromebook in Read and Write. Or if they use an iPad and they log in to Read and Write, it will have the same memory of that student and the words they frequently use.
Their word prediction is good. They do have a function where they can change the amount of words that are predicted, and it goes all the way up to 10. I think that's the default. So that's just something that, you know, to know about that you need to maybe fiddle with the settings if you're looking at it. You want to customize settings per student anyway, but it's just the student themselves can look at options of what they -- how they want to customize it.
Text-to-speech and speech-to-text are also built in. They're really easy to use. Text-to-speech especially, when you're in like a Google Doc or Wikipedia page, you highlight the text that's there and you -- literally, there's a play button, and you just press play on their little tool bar, and it reads it aloud to you.
But it also has really neat vocabulary and study skills support. So it's got a highlighting feature where you can highlight things in different colors and then collect it to one specific document for vocabulary support. Or, it's got a screen color overlay thing that helps with reading. It's got translation.
It's got a picture dictionary. It's got a dictionary that you can have all the definitions read aloud. So if you highlight a word, hit the dictionary button, you can see the definition and hit the play button, have the definition read aloud. It's really a wonderful and robust suite of tools that we've been able to use.
It has their little OCR optical character recognition feature, screenshot reader, PDF reader. I'll be honest, I haven't found it as intuitive as, you know, Don Johnston's, which is that separate suite. It's still a great tool. It still helps to OCR, which is when I started this, a very fancy thing for somebody to have an accommodation for. And now the fact that it's built into these programs, it's relatively inexpensive compared to where it was is pretty impressive. It's a good thing to know about.
Another Chrome extension that's really simple and just a light version of text-to-speech is called Speechify. Speechify is a Chrome extension. You go to the Chrome web store and install it. When you install it, it does -- oh, am I talking too much?
Carye: No no. We're talking about the chat.
NeCol: There's some questions.
Shira: Ok Good
NeCol: We're just trying to keep the chat organized.
Shira: Ok Thank you When you install it, it does allow you to customize the tone of voice, the speed. If you have a student that needs things read aloud slower, then faster, you can change it from male to female. So it doesn't have a ton of different, you know, tools and things that you can use with it, but it does have a few customization option for text-to-speech, and that's the only thing we use it for.
You may or may not have heard of Grammarly. I like this for what we were talking about with another tool from before, which is the tone of the reading. Yes, it will correct your grammar and your spelling. It has a green circle that comes up when it's turned on on the bottom corner of your screen, when you have errors, it will turn into a Click on it, and you can see where you need to correct things. But the thing that I like it for is for my emails, for example. It will have, you know, a little emoji face to say what the tone of your writing is. I just think that is so helpful.
Especially if there's a student that you're working on professional skills with, there's a lot of different ways you can use that. They also have a paid version that is its own within itself interface where you can just do a lot of the same work that I was talking about with the other paid extensions. It will help -- it's great with helping the spelling and grammar. So, it's an option.
We like Screencastify and we have for a number of years. It's a Chrome extension that allows you to basically hit the button, hit record, and you can record your entire screen, just one tab, your entire browser.
Going back to universal design, if you're teaching a math lesson and you need to show a student a different way to be able to work out a word problem or work out a different kind of problem quickly, you can hit Screencastify, have that whole problem worked out in that little video, and then send it over to the student through Google Drive or through YouTube. They can keep referring back to it to have it, to demonstrate that lesson. If we have a quick training to pop out, we make like a quick Screencastify, made it for Google voice typing, and other things, and you just send it over as a link, and they can watch it really easily. It's been pretty helpful. And I'll turn it over to NeCol.
NeCol: All right. Built-in assistive technology tools for the iPad. Next slide.
So what can my iOS device do? One of the things that I always like to point out to people is that phones and iPads have different functionality, because sometimes when you think oh, I have this on my phone, and then you go to use the iPad, and it's in a different place, or a little bit different, just keep that in mind.
But most of the time, all of these functions can be used on both devices. So there's vision, hearing, and touch accessibility, Word prediction that Shira talked about, the Siri, the speech-to-text we talked about. One of my favorite features on an iPad is Guided Access.
The reason it is my favorite is we have some students that when they're working, they get off task and will want to go to other apps on the iPad instead of stay on the app that they're supposed to be in. And so with Guided Access, you can lock a student into a certain app, and you'll need a password to get out of that app. There's also stuff within the restrictions that if your iPads are managed by an IT department, that you can set up, so that student will only get into certain apps during certain times, which can also be very, very helpful.
The other time that Guided Access comes in very handy is for students that are using their iPad as their communication device. Guided Access can be locked into their augmentative and alternative communication software program. Like Touch Chat or predictable --
Carye: I think it's just called Predictable.
NeCol: So the other things on the iPad that are wonderful is to be able to go to that accessibility shortcut app that is now available, and you can set up the shortcuts that you prefer into your app and then it makes it really simple to get to the things that you use on a regular basis.
On the iPad, you can speak, cut, copy and paste almost anywhere, which is really nice. Keyboard options can be personalized, and you can also personalize the language on your iPad, which has come in really handy with our second language learners and to be able to personalize their iPad to their language. And the other nice thing about when you personalize it, it also includes the prediction. Next slide.
Features. The NOTES app. This is one of our apps that we feel is underutilized and can do so many wonderful things. If you're needing to annotate on a picture or a PDF because that is what your teacher has given you, the NOTES app comes in really handy, because then you can use the mark-up tools, which is the pencil. There's a text box and on screen keyboard, highlighting tools, and you can do everything you need to do, resave it, and then share that back with your teacher.
So it's one of those tools we wish we really didn't have to use, but comes in really handy. One of the new tools that is also available within the NOTES app is that you can add your signature. And so if you're filling out documents online and you need to be able to sign something, you can use that NOTES app to take a picture and have your saved signature in there ready to go. And then here is a short video about some of these cool tools.
Jamie: Hi there. Jamie here at Teacher's Tech. Today I want to show you how to use your iPhone and quickly scan in documents and send them to whoever you need to. All right. So this is going to be a quick video, but I think this could be a really handy tip for you.
I'm going to go ahead and open my NOTES on iPhone. I could take a previous note to do this, too, but I'm going to create a new one at the bottom right-hand corner. At this point, you can see there's the camera icon. Go ahead and click on that. Now, scan documents is there. So I could take a photo or video, but I want to scan this document. I just have a piece of paper beside me here. And I'm going to take it at an angle. And I'm just going to take it. You can drag the corners to adjust what you need. So if it's skewed or if there's something in it, you can see how I can go ahead and adjust those corners to bring them in to get what I need. So I'm going to bring these in a bit more here, just like this. But I won't spend too much time for this example.
I'm going to go ahead and keep the scan on this one. And I'm going to go ahead and hit save. So, at this point, I could write a note on it. I'm not going to bother writing a note, but I'm going to hit done.
If I go ahead and just click on this image, at the very bottom, I have some more options. If you wanted to make some more adjustments. Maybe you wanted to crop it a little bit more. I could hit the crop and I could go back to that. I'm just going to hit cancel. I could adjust the colors. If I didn't want that shadow, could I get rid of it. I'll go to gray scale and you can see how that changes it.
So you can go through and make adjustments to it from there. But let's say you're all done. I'm just going to go ahead and get done at the top, on this one. I want to share this. I can upload this one just, just by hitting that upload in the top right-hand corner. At this point, you could text it out to people. You could go through air drop it, mail, Gmail. You could use all your different apps that you have hooked up to your iPhone to deliver it the way you want.
Now, I took mine at an angle. If you took a little bit more time and light, you'd make your scans a little bit better. I hope you liked this tip. Hopefully it can come in handy for you to quickly scan in information using your iPhone and send it off to whoever you need to.
Thanks for watching. I'll see you next time with more tech tips and tutorials.
NeCol: Okay. The next app that I can talk about is Apple Clips. Apple Clips is a free app for your iPad and iPhone. It has live captioning, which comes in really handy. Some of the benefits of captioned videos is that it's accessible for deaf and hard of hearing. Captions promote literacy. They increase comprehension and memory, particularly for English language learners. And so the app is fun to play with as well.
You can create your own little videos. You can take old pictures and put music behind it. So, fun app to play with. And it's one of those I think that we kind of just don't know about yet.
Some other notable iOS apps. Shira talked about Co:Writer. I want to make sure you know that they're also available on the iPad. They worked a bit differently on the iPad. There are apps that can be integrated into the keyboard so that they're available within Google for keyboarding and they work really well.You can also access them by the web and have access to them that way. They do need a paid subscription to have access to them.
Doodle Buddy is a fun app to write on. Some of our students who are working on writing really like that, especially with our occupational therapists, they like Doodle Buddy and Snap Type.
Snap type, you can also take a picture of a document and annotate on the document, comes in really handy. Now that NOTES is available, SnapType is not as needed, but still some people prefer SnapType because of the ease of it, how easy it is to use.
Adobe Fill & Sign, Claro PDF are just some other ones.
Kidspiration & Inspiration are mind mapping apps. For when we're trying to brainstorm and get ideas out, they come in handy. A lot of kids really like the pictures and the visuals that Kidspiration especially provides to them. It can really help with that brainstorming process.
Panther Math Paper, for our students having difficulties with writing and they've tried to use graph paper, they've tried turning the paper sideways, they've worked on their handwriting for years and years, and they're still having difficulty, then transitioning to Math Paper, which is a gridable app that allows the students to have access to a lot of common symbols and signs that used for math. And many students have shared that they like that it's easy, it's right there on the iPad, they can use their finger or a stylus to access the numbers and the different symbols. Once they're done with their assignment, they can share it with their teachers and just makes a lot of the math problems that have not been accessible in the past accessible.
We've also tried to express to teachers that if they can provide the students with, you know, even a digital Google Doc instead of a worksheet, that for math -- so that students can complete the math on the computer or Chromebook or iPad, that also helps in that accessibility process.
Speechify Shira talked about. There's an app for it.
There's the Google and Apple app suite of apps. We are a Google district, so we use a lot of the Google apps, as far as Google Docs Google Sheets, Google Slides.
One of the great benefits now that was difficult before is within Google Slides, you couldn't use the speech-to-text to talk into the slides and add your words and you now you can, which is really nice.
And then the last thing is our AAC apps. On the iPads, just have opened up a whole nother world for our students that often before needed a very expensive dedicated device. Often now the iPad with a software program for AAC meets their educational needs.
Shira: And just in case, because we haven't covered it yet, AAC is alternative augmented communication. So it's really a program used with speech therapy and used for students who have a need for enhanced communication using some of those apps. That's a huge subject that we haven't really delved into. And if y'all have any questions about it, we can answer the best we can. We do have a speech therapist in our office that uses all those apps and she's fantastic, and if y'all have questions again, let us know or email us at the end.
NeCol: We can help with that, definitely. Last slide is about accessible text resources, and this is something that Carye and Shira both talked about as far as the accessible text and the importance of over the pandemic when it became very real that students were going to be learning from home, and students that often had their books read to them by their teachers or by teaching assistant or by classmate no longer have that person available to them. And so they really needed that technology available to read their books and their assignments to them.
Some of our favorites are Learning Ally and Bookshare. Texas State Library Talking Books Program is a new one to us. Learning Ally is what a lot of our students find really like, because it's a real person reading the book. And so students have expressed that they have a preference for that.
When Learning Ally doesn't have a book in their library, students will often try Bookshare because then the books are digitized. But they will at least be able to listen to the book and still have access to it. And that is our presentation today. I got through it with four minutes to spare!
Carye: One more thing on the accessible text, there are a couple of differences between Learning Ally, besides just the human voice. The highlighting is different. Bookshare tends to highlight word by word, even though it is a digitized voice. Learning Ally, most of their highlighting is sentence by sentence, and there is some research that talks about kids having the highlighting, the synchronized highlighting word by word while they're listening. Can help improve fluency in some other things when they're reading. That's just another difference.
Another thing I have found out and I haven't gone in and explored yet, but Bookshare is also doing -- has a beta for math. So math, mark-ups. So doing text-to-speech with math. I haven't had a chance to really look at it, but I know that's something they have been working on. So I think that's something that's going to be really cool to follow.
So this one got a lot more into some of the meat of stuff. So, we're finished a little early. So, we're here to answer questions, if anybody has questions.
Jay: Ready for our Q & A. It's always a good time to meet up with Carye and catch up on all the trends of assistive technology in K-12. So if you have questions, please put them in the chat. Jump on the mic. While you all start furiously typing away, I have a couple that I want to ask Miss Carye because who doesn't when they have a lovely AT GURU in front of them.
This was a video done in the summer. I just wanted to know if there was anything that you have come across this fall that you wanted to highlight or send people to to check out.
Carye: The only thing that we probably spent more time working with since school started was a lot of the accessibility features that are built into the Chromebook. Because speech-to-text has become a huge thing with a lot of students that struggle with writing, you can't always use it. Google Voice is built into Google Docs. It's Google-specific. If you are in other areas that are maybe text input, how would you access speech-to-text for that. We found the accessibility features that are built into the Chromebook, you can turn that on and it works pretty nicely. It's pretty smooth.
So that's kind of been -- it's also the text-to-speech, the Chromebook has text-to-speech built in. It puts a little microphone at the bottom of your tray, you click on it and it reads the text to you with some highlighting. So nice features that they have put in there.
There's also word prediction that is built into the onscreen keyboard on a Chromebook so if you have touch screen Chromebooks, you can put the onscreen keyboard on and it puts the word prediction above the keyboard, which is just a nice way to try a word prediction program. Kind of try how it might work and see if it's something kids might benefit from. So those are some of the things that we have had more questions about and we have been able to kind of guide teachers in that direction.
Jay: It's always nice to have those built-ins, even if it doesn't have all the bells and whistles, at least it gives you a place, is this a good path to start. Excellent.
Just to answer, there was a question about the slides. Yes, they will be posted on our website by the end of this week. I made sure that they were all tagged and fully accessible PDFs so they will be up by the end of this week. I will make sure we have a link to the website at the end of this session as well, just so you know where to find not only the slides, but all of our recordings for our Toolkit Tuesdays are there as well. Let me check through here before I ask my next question.
One of the things when I was working as an AT specialist in schools, especially working with Chromebooks and all those different devices, you always get all these tools great but how can I make sure they focus or how can I make sure they're not going places they're supposed to go. So I'm curious what, if you sent them anywhere in particular or if you had any advice for them.
Carye: That's interesting you ask this. We just had this morning an E-mail from a teacher with this exact issue, and the student had been previously using something that they had found a Chrome extension I think the parents may have found, but the district, our district has blocked almost every extension except for the ones that they can get approved, that meet our criteria. So his extension, unfortunately, was one of them because it didn't meet the criteria AISD has for extensions.
But that being said, one of the programs that the district uses is called Go Guardian. I don't know a lot about it but I know that's what it's used for is to monitor students, how they are using their Chromebooks. There is a way to block websites or certain sites from kids.
I don't know if it's something that's one of the things we're trying to explore with our tech department this morning, we sent a question over, I don't know if it's something that can be whitelisted so you can create a list of sites you can block for a particular student. Or if Go Guardian works in such a way that you're doing it while they're in that site, you are able to go in and block it. I'm not sure about how that functions exactly.
I do know it's one that our district adopted for that purpose, for teachers to be able to monitor kids on their Chromebooks. Yeah, that is a question that comes up. Yes. Kids like to go off and do other things when nobody's watching. Surprise!
But yeah, that is one. I know there are other extensions that exist in the Chrome World. We have heard of many. We are just not able to access any so it's not something we spend much time looking at, because we can't use them.
Jay: Well, thank you. I know for me, we didn't necessarily have the specific piece of software or extension and I think sometimes, too, it's one of those, I'm curious on your thoughts on this, it's not so much of a tech solution as it may just need to be a behaviors and routines solution as well.
Jay: In terms of before kids had those Chromebooks they were finding other ways to be distracted, too. I didn't know if you had any recommendations or good words of wisdom that you would kind of tell teachers that the rest of us can pass on to our teachers.
Carye: Wish I did. No. Not particularly. Not -- no, I really -- that's a hard one.
We have had students that even with something like this Go Guardian which is fairly sophisticated, from what I understand, we have had students find their way around it. So if a student is really wanting to get out of doing something, unfortunately, they are pretty smart and they will figure out a way to do it.
I mean, short of building it into just your plan, your daily plan, a reminder, when you're finished, you know, you can then and here's a list of choices or, you know, but yeah, being a good citizen of technology, that's hard.
That's hard to do with kids because they know the kind of fun they can have on a piece of technology. And it's hard to separate, we have always struggled with that with devices, it's hard to separate this is an educational device for you to use for school, because how many times we get questions from students who say can I put Minecraft on here, can I put this on here, can I put that video game on here. We have to say no. Can I actually stop them? No. Probably not.
So that's a big -- and it's probably something we all need to be more aware of and that we need to try to keep separate. This is a device you use for work and this is something at home you play with. But that's hard. That's a hard thing to do.
Jay: Especially when I think even for the teachers, that's something that we do, too, right?
Jay: We check our personal stuff, we might go to a different website, so we want to have this separate expectation sometimes for our students.
I think having those conversations and having them as soon as possible as opposed to just kind of having these very stern, you know, black and white, no, this can't be on here, yes, this can be on here, but having them have those consequences, too.
Because I know some students, if they could find an extension that they liked and met the standards or depending on your different districts' configurations, some of them because they could find what worked best for them, they really latched on to those devices and really made them work for themselves. Then of course, they found something that was gumming up the system, but that's a conversation you need to have, because that's good digital literacy down the line.
Carye: Yes, it is. Yes.
Jay: Being cautious of what you download, being aware of the consequences of that. I'm always that person that goes it's your device, I'm going to tell you why I gave it to you but I can't be there all the time.
Carye: Yes. We used to, with some of the younger kids, we would say you know we can see what you're doing on your computer, which is absolutely not true, but they didn't really know any differently at that point. I could never say that to an older student because they would have immediately No, you can't.
Jay: I may not see what they're doing while they're doing it but I have my ways of finding out what they did.
Carye: When I do say digital citizenry, that's something we have to start thinking of making part of our curriculums and things we teach kids because it is bigger than just in the schools.
Jay: Agreed. All right. Well, we have just a few minutes. Let's see if we've got another any questions for Miss Carye here. She has a wealth of knowledge so please, I encourage you.
Carye: If not, I hope the presentation was helpful and you got some good information out of it. We're always trying to find the quickest, easiest, simplest things that we can provide to teachers to use, because we always say, you know, the less it is, the less intrusive it is.
Jay: All right. While we're waiting for those last-minute questions because there's always that one, they always wait to the very last second, and that's fine, I did put the link to our Toolkit Tuesdays web page. That will take you to all our previously recorded Toolkit Tuesdays. You can also find them on YouTube. I will upload those slides by the end of this week.
I also put the contact information that you saw on the very last slide of that recording so if you need to get ahold of Carye or the rest of the Austin ISD team, maybe you have some specific questions to how they are implementing and doing something over there in their program.
Carye: We're happy to answer if there are questions, or share if there's something we can share.
Jay: Excellent. All right. Well, I'm going to go ahead and show our last bit of slides while we wait for our final questions and wrap up our afternoon. I want to thank Carye, of course, for being here with us.
Carye: Thank Knowbility for doing this.
Jay: Oh, no, this is always a good time. Well, I'm glad you liked it, Megan. Did we answer all your questions today? Was there anything else you want to know?
Megan: No, you answered that and more. Thank you very much.
Jay: No problem. While we're waiting for those last minute questions, just a reminder, we do have our December student panel coming up next month, so this will be December 2nd or 7th, excuse me. December 7th. And I'm really excited about this panel.
We are going to have some of the students that we featured in our access EDU panel. I know that was a big hit last summer. We are pulling some other students that are actually college students as well and we are going to really talk about their journey of self-advocacy. I know that's kind of been a big topic with a lot of people, how do we make sure our kids are able to advocate for themselves and really understand what they need and communicate those needs with their teachers in effective manners and some tools and strategies for them. So I hope you will be able to join us for December 7th. We are very excited about that one.
All right. Well, I guess we are going to wrap up a little early, let everybody have some extra time for their lunch break. Miss Carye, thank you so much for joining us today. This was a pleasure, as always.