Make Math Accessible and FUN with EquatIO!

7 04 2017

One of the best parts of my work is to try new tools to see if they will help our students and staff. Well, I have just finished playing around with a great new tool called EquatIO.

From TextHelper John McGowan  (@jmacattak), EquatIO is super cool. Unlike its Google Docs add-on cousin g(Math), EquatIO works with Google Docs and Google Forms to give a more accessible math experience. Having a touchscreen Chromebook makes for even more fun!

EquatIO is more than just an equation editor. The main features of EquatIO are handwriting recognition, prediction, and dictation. It allows the user a different mode of access in creating mathematical expressions, solving mathematical equations, and creating accessible math opportunities for students with unique learning challenges. Equations seem less daunting. To have the ability to handwrite and convert an equation or mathematical expression to text is pretty cool, but to be able to dictate or have EquatIO predict the expression helps to reduce or eliminate barriers to math that often exist due to disability, impairment, or mismatch of curriculum to learning style.

Don’t just take my word for it- see how EquatIO can work in Google Docs:

Or Google Forms:

Check out how handwriting recognition works:

EquatIO is currently available on the Chrome Web Store. Try it to see how EquatIO can be used in creating accessible tests and quizzes, assignments, and how it can be used with students who present with unique learning challenges!



How to use the Dictionary, Picture Dictionary, and Screen Mask Features of Read and Write in a Google Doc.

3 02 2017

This is Part 2 of a series of tutorials to assist staff and students in accessing and using Read and Write for Google.  The first tutorial covered how to use prediction, text to speech, and voice typing. 

Below is a quick tutorial on how to use the dictionary, picture dictionary, and screen mask features of Read and Write.  Enjoy!

I hope this tutorial is helpful as students and staff continue to use Read and Write for Google. The next tutorial- how to use Highlighting Tools, Collect Highlights, and how to generate vocabulary lists using Read and Write will be coming soon! Stay tuned!




How to use Prediction, Text-To-Speech, and Dictation Features of Read and Write for Google Chrome

27 01 2017

Read and Write for Google Chrome is our District Solution to assist students of ALL abilities with reading, writing, and researching. This is a first in a series of tutorials that will help students and staff access and use the Word Prediction, Text-To-Speech, and Dictation features of Read and Write for Google Chrome. 

Having a student access these tools are intended to support gaps and weaknesses in skill sets, while providing access to grade level content. Research is emerging that shows placing these strategies aids in improving learning outcomes for students, including listening comprehension, grammar, syntax, and written output. It is exciting to see a student that is shown a tool that can aid in reducing or eliminating a barrier. It literally opens a whole new world to them. If you’re not sure, look at these pictures of students that were shown word prediction, text-to-speech, and dictation on their Chromebooks.





Learning should be fun and providing strategies and supports first will only help to improve the quality of the learning experience for students. Read and Write for Google Chrome is available to every student as needed to access grade level content. I hope this tutorial is helpful!



Read and Write for Google PDF Editor

11 04 2016

Read and Write for Google has recently released an update which allows the user to edit PDF documents using word prediction or speech-to-text technology. As long as the PDF file is a non-scanned PDF file, this will work. If you have a scanned PDF file, you’ll have to convert the file using Snapverter as scanned files are images, not text (this is another lesson for another day). No longer are teachers limited to using Google Docs to access these accessibility tools for Read and Write. Overall, it’s a pretty nice update. The one feature I noticed when I tested this update was that a user has to allow the microphone each time they want to use the speech-to-text option regardless of device. I’m sure that issue will be resolved in a future update.

Check the video to see how this new update of Read and Write can work with your students that require writing support!

Google Cardboard…Plastic — Technology Integration

6 04 2016

Check out this great blog post by my former colleague and friend Nick Shuman on his tech2integrate blog!

If you haven’t checked out Google Cardboard yet, then you should. Then, browse over to Google Expeditions Pioneer Program to learn how their Cardboard technology can be leveraged in Education. Now, Google has gone to the next level with Google Cardboard…Plastic. NOTE: Plastic was released on April 1st, which in the USA is April Fool’s […]

via Google Cardboard…Plastic — Technology Integration

Chromebooks? Really? Oh yes.

9 05 2014

When I heard that our High School would be going 1:1 with Chromebooks, I experienced a couple of initial emotions. 1) Disappointment because I love Apple 2) Fear of change 3) Excitement over trying something new.

When I realized that I am a heavy Chrome browser user, I rationalized “how hard could it be?” I love Chrome- with one caveat. I love Safari Reader. Overall, Chrome extensions and apps are cool. Many are what you would find on an iOS device or OSX Mac App.  Plus, Google Drive has been my main go-to for a couple of years now (Unless I’m making something pretty slick and professional looking, and I haven’t found anything as wonderful as iMovie– but I’ll get there).

Then I thought about my users that are heavy AT users. How would a Chromebook work with these users? Would peripherals such as adaptive joysticks and mice work? What accessibility features are there that I could leverage?

So, being me- I started to do some research. I found these resources to be very helpful in my start in looking at how to leverage Chromebooks for our users with Special Needs:

Chrome Toolbox

Supporting Struggling Learners in Chrome

Google Tools for Special Needs

My two users in the High School that are currently using Macs and iPads use Chrome as their default web browser and one heavily uses  Google Drive for student work.  I am curious to see how they will perform with the Chromebook, and leave the choice up to them as to what their preferences are. There will, of course, need to be some data collection around this.

I am looking forward to the challenge of integrating Chromebooks at our High School, while looking at each student individually and leveraging the right tool to meet their needs. Part of this work will begin by presenting at GAFE Peak in York, Maine on June 25. It will be nice to share with other users of Chromebooks in our neighboring district, but it will be especially nice to reconnect with former colleagues and learn from persons that have been integrating Chromebooks into their respective school cultures.