How I Use It
This Chrome Extension (Premium version) is amazing to put the differentiation strategies in the hands of all teachers (not just specialists) and even in the hands of the students who can self-differentiate their learning!
Read&Write is an extension you can purchase for your G Suite domain and install for all. It's super easy to set up for the admin and the students or teachers only have to "allow" the extensions and start using it immediately.
The purpose of the tool is to support all learners. While it is mostly targeting ELL students and students with Dyslexia, I personally believe that it helps ALL students (and teachers!) because it's a perfect example of personalizing learning and promoting visual and tangible learning by providing various ways to read, write, search, practice, communicate, receive and give feedback.
The way is works is simple: when you open a googledoc, googleslides, web pages or pdf files on the web, you will see an "extra tool-bar", very intuitive and discreet and you have access to various features:
- screen masking: to draw attention on a particular passage, to focus, to read more easily, to follow more easily
- talking dictionary: highlight a word and view one or several definitions that can be read to you by clicking the play button
- pictures dictionary: highlight a word and view one or several pictures
- translate (now available for English, French, Spanish, Bahasa Melayu, Portuguese...)
- Voice comment (to provide feedback for instance)
- Practice reading aloud
- Text to Speech (TTS) and change the voice accent and speed anytime
- Fact finder (actually open a new tab with the Google search of the word you highlighted)
- Word prediction (and change the number of word predicted 1-10)
- Highlighters (4 colors) - Note you can highlight several passages on a webpage and then send all those to a googledoc automatically ordering them by the color you like and adding the link reference for learners to keep a trail of where they found a particular information online (as they tend to forget...)
Here you can see the difference between the free and premium version:
I believe this tool really make all teachers empowered because they can differentiate better, promote personalized learning and encourage students to be more responsible, to make choices and therefore to be more empowered and true agent of their learning. The teachers and students can be creative, they can come up with really great ideas to use this tool beyond using it for support. I love the vocabulary building option when you highlight several words and it automatically creates a googledog with images, definitions and a places to take notes, really powerful for language learning!
I also love the multi-modalities: voice, pictures, word prediction, highlighters. Every learner NEEDS multi-modality, not only learners that are said to be "visual learner", "auditory learner", "kinestetic learner"...
Finally, the tool support self-directed learning, students can truly use it to continue their learning independently, get feedback and seek feedback from their peers or teachers. This improves their confidence in particular if they are struggling readers or just "sky" students (this gives an opportunity for them to speak safely by recording their voice and the teacher can then listen to it).