Thursday, September 16, 2010

Universal Design Tool:

While I have had the VozMe code on my blog for several years, it has just been brought to my attention that VozMe can be used in two other wonderful ways.

VozMe allows text to be read aloud. One way to do this is for the publisher of a site to add html to the site that allows a button to be placed on the site. You simply highlight the text you want read aloud and then hit the button. The text is then read to you.You can also download the audio as an mp3. This is great for accessibility when the site owner has the technical skill to add the code. 

Another way to use VozMe is to copy the text you want to have read to you and go to the VozMe website. Paste the code into the box and hit the Create MP3 button. You can even choose between a male or female voice. Very simple to do and the audio can also be downloaded this way.

The third way, and in my opinion the best, is to add VozMe as a favorite or bookmark to your browser. You will need to find the instructions for your preferred browser on this page. Once you have the bookmark, all you have to do is highlight the text and click on the bookmark. It will open a new page and read the text too you. You can again choose from a male or female voice and download the mp3. How cool is that?!

Special thanks goes to Ira Socol for pointing these functions out to me. If you are interested in Universal Design (and you better be!) read Ira's amazing blog SpeEdChange


John Hadley Strange said...

Fascinating. The Mac, of course, has everything built in to read anything on any web page. Steve Sullivan who works with me and at the Alabama School for Deaf and Blind has switched to Macs just for that reason, He says the iPhone is equally good at dealing with adaptive issues. He reports it takes less that 1/3 the time and money to equip the blind with web accessibility tools using Apple products than through any other route.

I'll try VozMe out and report back again.

Allie said...

Wow I have never heard of VozMe before this is interesting. How do you incorporate it into your classroom?

Allie said...

I Googled VozMe, after I commented on your post and I think it will help blind students a lot when having to search the internet, is that its specific function? It is a fun tool, maybe I can put it on my blog for Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class. Thank you for sharing the information!

Wm Chamberlain said...

Allie, I had the same response when I first found VozMe and put it on my blog a couple years ago. We were both missing the real use this tool offers. Any blind person surfing the net has tools built in to the computer to assist, they don't need to look for VozMe. Who then can benefit from it?

Imagine having your class filled with a bunch of 5th grade students. You have some students reading above grade level, at grade level, and below grade level. You may also have a few gifted students as well as some special needs kids. Who among these could/would benefit from having your instructions read to them?

The answer is all of them! Listening comprehension and reading comprehension are not the same. They work two different parts of the brain, and when combined they help students understand even better than using a single way. Even the the gifted students with great reading comprehension skills can get something out of listening.

I would like to suggest you Google Ira Socol and Universal Design. I think your entire perception of how a classroom should be will change!

Allie Glass said...

Mr. Chamberlain,
Was it the blog with all of the free resources? There are so many free things! And usually we would have to pay for them! But no I didn't think of that, and it is brilliant to use. I remember kids in my class reading slower than I did and becoming frustrated and bored. It is a wonderful way to hone into listening skills! Thank you for replying back this will be very useful in my classroom one day!