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Google Tools to Support All Learners

Pennsylvania Convention Center, Terrace Ballroom I

Participate and share: Interactive session
Recorded Session
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Technology Integration Specialist
Stark Portage Area Computer Consortium
Eric Curts is a veteran educator who currently serves as a Technology Integration Specialist for the Stark County Educational Service Center in Ohio where he oversees Google for Education implementation, training, and support, as well as other technology integration initiatives. Eric is an authorized Google for Education Trainer and Innovator, and provides training to schools, organizations, and conferences across the country. Eric runs the award-winning blog where all of his edtech resources can be found, and is the author of the book "Control Alt Achieve: Rebooting Your Classroom with Creative Google Projects".

Session description

There are many Google tools, apps, extensions and features available to assist all learners. We'll take an in-depth, hands-on look at tools for accessibility, accommodations, text to speech, speech to text, readability, reading comprehension, audio support, navigation, communication, behavior and focus, and more.

Purpose & objective

Technology can be a powerful tool to provide assistance and accommodations for all learners. 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: Read&Write for Google, Immersive Reader, ChromeOS Select-to-Speak
2) Speech to text tools: Docs Voice Typing, VoiceIn Voice Typing, Live Captions, ChromeOS Dictation
3) Readability tools: Mercury Reader, Reader View, Dyslexia Friendly, OpenDyslexic, ATbar, MagicScroll Web Reader, Visor, High Contrast, ChromeOS High-contrast mode, Full-screen magnifier, and Docked magnifier
4) Reading comprehension tools: Google Dictionary, QuillBot, SMMRY
5) Audio Support - Mote
6) Behavior and focus tools: Simple Blocker, Tide, Move It, uBlock Origin, Pear Deck, Keep
7) Navigation tools: Caret Browsing, Click-free Browsing, Vimium, CrxMouse, ChromeOS Automatic clicks, Large mouse cursor, Highlight mouse cursor, and Sticky keys

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

1) Text to speech tools (10 minutes)
2) Speech to text tools (10 minutes)
3) Readability tools (10 minutes)
4) Reading comprehension tools (10 minutes)
5) Audio support tools (10 minutes)
6) Behavior and focus tools (5 minutes)
7) Navigation tools (5 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.

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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

In addition, several of the resources and approaches demonstrated in my session are listed as positive influences on student achievement in James Hattie's "Visible Learning" study including:
Interventions for students with learning needs
Technology in writing
Elaboration and organization

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Session specifications

Assistive & adaptive technologies
Grade level:
Skill level:
Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
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.
Subject area:
ELL, Special education
ISTE Standards:
For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
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.