03 February 2007

All Free!

Universal Design Solutions for Your Classroom, all absolutely free!
from my presentation at the 23rd Annual MSU Teaching and Technology Conference

Adobe Acrobat Reader with Speech (v. 7.x): If this is not installed, get it installed. It allows most Acrobat docs to be read at loud with variable speed and pitch. FREE


Microsoft Reader with Text-To-Speech engine and Read in Microsoft Reader (RMR) add-ons: This is a slightly complicated install – must be done through Internet Explorer – requires three or four (with the dictionary) steps. But it reads to your students, allows them to highlight and take notes, and even has dictionaries – and can handle English, Spanish, French, and more). FREE

http://www.microsoft.com/reader/downloads/pc.asp (laptop/desktop PC)

http://www.microsoft.com/reader/downloads/tablet.asp (tablet PC, with "write notes in the margins!")

http://www.microsoft.com/reader/developers/downloads/tts.asp (Text-To-Speech)

http://www.microsoft.com/reader/developers/downloads/rmr.asp (RMR, creates one-click conversions from MS Word)

http://www.microsoft.com/reader/downloads/dictionaries.asp (Dictionaries)

Firefox Browser v2 with FireVox Text-To-Speech: Firefox is the far more accessible web browser, and when linked to the FireVox TTS engine, it reads to you. You can also install one-click dictionaries, and right-click translations. FREE

http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ (Install Firefox)

http://www.firevox.clcworld.net/clc-4-tts_bundle_v2.8_release.xpi (Install FireVox)

https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/918/ (Install gTranslate)

http://www.m-w.com/downloads/firefox/index.htm (Dictionary Installs)

Google Notebook: The simplest of research tools, allows students to grab online data, organize it, and share it – from Google Labs. FREE

http://labs.google.com/ (the install is down in the left column)

Google Docs and Spreadsheets: Sharable (within the room or worldwide), free, word-processing and spreadsheets. This changes everything. FREE

http://www.google.com/google-d-s/tour1.html (a tour with get started links)

Google Calendar: Share calendars with your students and keep them on task. This sophisticated system can even send reminder text-messages to the student's mobile phone (if your school is smart enough to allow mobile phone use). FREE


Google Earth: If you are not using this tool you are missing a key tool for almost every subject, from Geography to Math to Creative Writing. FREE

http://earth.google.com/ (introduction and install)

Graph-Calc – the on-screen graphing calculator: Even allows you to paste equations into notes in a word processing program. FREE


Google Maps: In whatever language you please… (a simpler, no need to install anything, global place finder). FREE

http://maps.google.com/ (US)

http://maps.google.co.uk/ (Britain/Ireland)

http://maps.google.de/ (German)

http://maps.google.fr/ (French)

http://maps.google.es/ (Spanish)

http://maps.google.co.jp/ (Japanese)

Wayfaring – map-making software: Let students build simple geography and history projects with this wonderful "map mash up" software. FREE

http://www.wayfaring.com/ (Sign In!)

http://www.wayfaring.com/maps/show/13492 (My "Naming the World" map, as an example)

Click-N-Type – the on-screen, programmable keyboard: That even shows upper and lower case letter to struggling writers and runs in dozens of languages. FREE


SENSwitcher – the simplest switch program: With great support for high-needs students. FREE


Other Key Sites:

Google's UNESCO-linked Literacy Project http://www.google.com/literacy/

The SpeEdChange Blog http://speedchange.blogspot.com/

TechDis (UK) http://www.techdis.ac.uk/

Becta Test Bed Project and Action Research (UK) http://www.evaluation.icttestbed.org.uk/learning

Better Living Through Technology (UK) http://www.bltt.org/

- Ira Socol