Chromebook Accessibility Features- New and Recent Updates for Teachers and Students
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On the occasion of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Google introduced new and recent updates regarding Chromebooks built-in accessibility features. Below is a summary of these updates. For more EdTech accessibility resources, I recommend this section.
Source: Google: The Keyword
New enhanced voices for Select-to-speak
Select-to-speak on Chromebooks allows users to hear text spoken out loud. As Google stated, this feature is particularly ideal for individuals with dyslexia, low vision, new language learners, and those who find it hard maintaining sustained focus when reading hyperlinked digital texts. Google announced that naturally-sounding voices have been added to Select-to-speak. These human sounding voices are available in different accents in 25 languages. Here is what Google said about this new update:
To develop this feature, we worked with educators who specialize in dyslexia, as well as individuals with dyslexia. They shared that hearing text read out loud enhances comprehension – especially in an educational setting. By bringing natural-sounding voices to the feature, for example a local accent you’re used to, it’s also easier to follow along with the content being read and highlighted on screen.
You can enable Select-to-speak from Chromebooks settings where you can choose your preferred voice then ‘select the text you want read out loud and press the Everything Button or Launcher Key + S.’
Other Chromebook accessibility features
Other Chromebook’s built-in accessibility features that have been updated during this year includes screen magnifier (allows you to make everything on your screen bigger or smaller), new tutorials for ChromeVox (a built-in screen reader on Chromebooks), and Switch Access (it ‘scans the items on your screen until you use a switch to make a selection. Switches can be used with the built-in keyboard, or an external device that you connect via Bluetooth or USB’.)
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