There are many people who struggle with reading. Some of them may have learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, while others may not be fluent in the language. This could be a big challenge if they are students who are required to read a lot of materials as part of their curriculum. If reading texts alone is already difficult for them, just imagine how daunting it is if they have to collaborate with other students for a group paper or project.
The Right Online Tools
An effective solution for this problem is to find a powerful reading tool that you can use simultaneously with an easy-to-use collaborating application. Among all the available online tools are Snap&Read, a Google Chrome extension that can read aloud any document, slide presentation, e-book, or web page, as well as inaccessible texts from images, PDFs, hyperlinks and Flash on-screen; and Kami, an online collaboration tool that allows multiple users to share, view, edit and annotate PDF documents, slides, sheets, and images in real time.
How to Use Them Together
First, you need to use Chrome as your browser and make sure that it has the Snap&Read tool. Once you have Kami opened, open the file from your computer, Google Drive, or Dropbox. Once you have your document open on your screen, just click on the Snap&Read tool from the toolbar to start converting the text to speech.
Text Reader Button
Click this button then select the part where you want to start, and the text will automatically be read aloud. You just have to click again to stop the speech. If the material contains new or complex information and you want to read it at a slower pace, you can easily adjust the speed, pitch, and gender of the speaker in the settings.
Read Inaccessible Text Button
You can use this feature to read text that cannot be selected, such as texts on images, hyperlinks or Flash. By clicking on this button, you will be able to make a box around the part you want to read, and Snap&Read will convert the text to speech. This will help you to read others’ comments and annotations in the file.
Text Leveling Button
Does the reading material contain challenging terms? Is one of the users using difficult vocabulary in their comments? This button changes complicated words into easily understandable ones. Then by clicking on the already simplified word, which is in italics, a short explanation or definition will appear. It works better than a dictionary because it retains the context, and you could easily toggle between the original text, the simplified text, and the explanation with just a click.
Snap&Read has a translator function for students who are using English as a second language. This is helpful when they are working with native English speakers who might use unfamiliar vocabulary. You just need to activate it in the settings to make the translation button appear on the screen, choose the target language, then select the text you want to translate.
Kami and Snap&Read, when used together, would allow students who are having difficulty reading to be able to discuss and collaborate with others in real-time, without the distraction and hassle of switching between apps, tabs, or windows. Without a doubt, these two tools create a very powerful and effective way to make online collaboration easier and more accessible.
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