Assistive Technology

Chrome Extensions and Apps for Inclusive Education

Chrome apps and extensions can be a big help for kids with learning and thinking differences. (Extensions add functions to the Chrome web browser.) They can be used on Chromebooks or on any device with a Chrome browser.  Explore these Chrome tools for reading, writing and math.

Chrome AT Toolbar – Free Accessibility Toolbar Extension that Offers Support for a Variety of Learning Needs:  This extension is a valuable set of tools to assist students struggling with various learning tasks.

Reading Comprehension Supports:

  • Mercury Reader: A service that allows the user to read web pages without much of the usual clutter. It removes ads and other page clutter. It also allows the user to change the width of the margins, the size of the text, and whether the text is white on black, or white on dark grey. It is possible to print, share and read pages later. This app will benefit students with ADD, SLD, and Visual Impairments.
  • Simple HighlighterHighlights, annotates, translates, full or quick references (eg: word, wikipedia), speech, and offers text to speech capability and a webpage simplifier to reduce clutter. One tip, you have to select the text on the page before you can do anything. After selecting the text, right click or control click to activate the highlighter.
  • Read&Write is a Chrome extension with tools for reading and writing. The writing tools include word prediction, dictation, and talking and picture dictionaries. It has TTS to read aloud what kids have written, which can help with proofreading. Read&Write also lets kids add voice notes to their work.
  • SpeakIt is a simple TTS tool. Kids highlight text in Chrome, click a button, and listen as the words are read aloud. This extension can read in more than 50 languages. Kids can adjust the speaking pace and select from a few voices.

Writing Supports

  • Ginger is an advanced grammar and spelling checker. When kids finish a sentence, Ginger checks all of the words in the sentence as a group. This way it can catch more mistakes, such as when words sound the same but are spelled differently.
  • VoiceNote II is a standalone word processor that opens in its own Chrome window. Its key feature is dictation, which lets kids use their voice to write. Documents can be saved in the app or downloaded as text files.
  • MindMeister is a digital graphic organizer. Kids can use it to create diagrams and mind maps to help them connect thoughts and ideas. The tool comes with several graphic organizer templates. Kids can also create their own from scratch. And they can save their work to many different file types, including Word and PowerPoint.

Math Supports

  • Graspable Math opens in a sidebar window in Chrome. It lets students manipulate math equations. Students can pull equations from websites, or type in their own.
  • Math Dictionary:  This awesome math tool is an animated, interactive online math dictionary for students which explains over 600 common mathematical terms and math words using simple language and visual support. This tool will support ELL students, students with cognitive and learning disabilities, and ALL learners! 
  • Virtual Manipulatives by Glenco, this interactive site in which teacher can set by grade level, select background mats and manipulatives desired.
  • National Library of Math Manipulatives this site offers search tools for finding manipulatives for teaching specific mathematical concepts.

For students who need mobility assistance: Standing deskswobble stools and even exercise balls give students more freedom and comfort to move around the room.  Another example is having students use interactive displays or touch-screen monitors if they aren’t physically able to use a keyboard or computer mouse.