Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Google Tools for Struggling Students

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Monday, June 24, 4:30–5:30 pm
Location: 126AB

Eric Curts  
There are many tools, apps, extensions, and features available for Google Chrome to assist struggling learners and students with special needs. Take an in-depth hands-on look at tools to address text to speech, speech to text, readability, reading comprehension, navigation, communication, behavior and focus, and more.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: The majority of tools covered will be extensions for the Chrome web browser, so participants will need to have a Windows laptop, Mac laptop, or Chromebook, and the ability to install Chrome web extensions, to fully participate in the session.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Special populations/assistive and adaptive technologies
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Special education
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Select, evaluate and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
  • Students build networks and customize their learning environments in ways that support the learning process.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Technology can be a powerful tool to provide assistance and accommodations for struggling students and students with special needs. The vast majority of these tools are free and work within the Google ecosystem of products. Over the years I have collected a wide range of such technology tools, extensions, add-ons, web apps, and more. The purpose of this session will be to demonstrate how these tools can help any and all learners, as well as how to find, install, use, and manage these resources in school.

The major topics and resources covered will include:

1) Text to speech tools: SpeakIt, Read&Write for Google, Announcify
2) Speech to text tools: Docs Voice Typing, VoiceIn Voice Typing, Speech Recognition, Voice Recognition, SpeechPad, VoiceNote
3) Readability tools: Mercury Reader, Dyslexia Friendly, OpenDyslexic, BeeLine Reader, ATbar, MagicScroll Web Reader, Readline, Reading Ruler, Visor, Pupil Pref, High Contrast, Change Colors
4) Reading comprehension tools: Google Dictionary, SMMRY, Newsela App, TweenTribune, News in Levels
5) Behavior and focus tools: Simple Blocker, Move It, ClassDojo, AdBlock, uBlock Origin
6) Navigation tools: Caret Browsing, Click-free Browsing, Vimium, CrxMouse
7) Chrome browser features
8) YouTube features

Participants will learn how to find, install, and use a wide variety of Chrome Web Extensions to help students with their learning needs.
Participants will learn about assistive technology and support features already built into Google tools including Google Docs, YouTube, and the Chrome web browser.


The session will cover the following information. Note: live links to the resources referenced below can be accessed at

1) Overview of how to find, install, and use Chrome Web Extensions (6 minutes)
2) Text to speech tools (10 minutes)
3) Speech to text tools (10 minutes)
4) Readability tools (12 minutes)
5) Reading comprehension tools (10 minutes)
6) Behavior and focus tools (3 minutes)
7) Navigation tools (3 minutes)
8) Chrome browser features (3 minutes)
9) YouTube features (3 minutes)

The entire session will be hands-on, as the participants will be encouraged to install and try out the tools as I demonstrate each one.

Supporting research

Much research has been done to show the benefits of assistive technology. An excellent summary of current research can be seen in the article "Benefits of Assistive Technology" by Mary Sagstetter, M.A.Ed at:

Among the many benefits cited from research, she includes:
Increased ability to participate in and contribute more fully to activities in home, school, work environments, and in communities.
Increased self-motivation
Increased independence
Expanded learning and life experiences
New opportunities for interactions and communication

More [+]


Eric Curts, Stark Portage Area Computer Consortium

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