Speech Input, Simplify and Summarize Now Part of Read&Write for Google!

Reposted with permission from blog.texthelp.com

The school year is now well underway for most schools in North America and what better way to start the new year than with a new Read&Write for Google update! New premium features including Speech Input for Google Docs, Highlighting and Vocabulary support for web pages, and a new Simplify and Summarize tool for the web are now available. Continue reading for details (and videos!).

Screenshot of web toolbar

Not long ago, Texthelp announced that Read&Write for Google premium access was free for all teachers. Things didn’t stop there however. Users were then asked what potential new features were most important for students so that Texthelp’s development team could get to work on making them a reality. The top feature requests included speech input for Google Docs, highlighting and vocabulary supports for the web, and a simplify and summarize tool. Fast forward to today and you will find each of these features now available in Read&Write for Google!

Speech Input for Google Docs

By far the top request was for a speech input tool that works in Google Documents. This feature has now been added to the Read&Write for Google toolbar in Google Docs. The video below shows the tool in action:

Highlighting and Vocabulary Supports for the Web

Two of the most popular Read&Write for Google features in Google Docs, PDFs, and ePubs are Highighting with Collect Highlights and Vocabulary List Builder. These features have now been included as part of an expanded web toolbar for use in Chrome. To use, simply highlight words and/or phrases on a web page and click the collect highlights button to have those highlights extracted to a new Google Doc. It will also collect the source of the highlights.

Highlighted text on web page
Highlighted text on a web page

Highlighted text in Google Doc
Highlights collected in a Google Doc

To use the Vocabulary List Builder, use highlighters to select individual words and then click the Vocabulary List Builder Icon. A new vocabulary list containing the words, definitions, and images (when available) with an editable notes area will be created in a Google Doc.

Words highlighted on web page
Words highlighted on web page

Vocabulary List created in Google Doc
Vocabulary List created in Google Doc

Simplify and Summarize Tool for Web Pages

Chrome extensions that “declutter” websites to make them more readable have been around for some time. However, the new Simplify tool in Read&Write for Google does more than just remove the clutter from websites by also providing a summarize feature for users to decrease the amount of text. Users can then access all features, including Text-to-Speech, Highlighting and Vocabulary tools, and more, on the Read&Write web toolbar with this simplified text. Check out the video overview below to learn more.

And there you have it… Four major new tools for Read&Write for Google. These new tools are included free for users with premium subscriptions but are available now for all users to try for 30 days. If you have questions, be sure to visit the Getting Started page for support.

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About Jason Carroll

Jason first learned of Assistive Technology while working on his undergraduate degree where much of his spare time was spent assisting a regional education centre with basic technology needs. Amazed at how this technology could benefit so many students (particularly those he grew up with) he was hooked and immediately became an expert at the centre. After receiving his Masters, Jason returned to the coop to serve as a full time Assistive Technology Consultant serving over 200 schools in the central Kentucky Region.

Since this time, Jason has trained thousands on Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning concepts throughout the United States and beyond. His focus is on integrating research based practices into the work he does and helping others ensure that what they are doing works. He specialises in assisting people to bridge the gap between operation of technology and actual implementation. Jason is a published author, has taught Instructional Technology and Universal Design for Learning at the University level, and spends a significant amount of time on e-Learning and blended learning initiatives. He is a graduate of the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP) from California State University at Northridge and holds a Masters in Business Administration.

Currently Jason serves as Product Marketing Manager for North America at Texthelp Inc. where he oversees new product launches and speaks nationally on a variety of Assistive Technology topics.

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