An accessibility tip for iOS 6 users

In researching affordable OCR apps for iOS, I came across this cheap alternative using full-featured software like GoQ’s WordQ, or Kurzweil to read printed documents aloud. ABBYY’s TextGrabber for iOS ($3.99 – iTunes App Store link) does a decent job at digitizing printed text. Once the text is digitized, the “Speak Selection” accessibility feature built-in to iOS 6 can be used to read the scanned text aloud. It’s not perfect, and works best on high contrast printed text, but it works quite well and is very affordable as long as you already have an iOS device.

Here’s a short tutorial I posted on YouTube:

Videomaru: A great Flash video tool

A student of mine recommended a great Flash video tool called video.Maru. It’s a component which allows a developer to create customized video players without any knowledge of ActionScript.
All you have to do is create MovieClips on the stage with the correct names. I am experimenting with it now and will post some more impressions here as I go along.

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NECC – June 25, 2007 – Report from “Collaborative Tools for Global Distributed Learning”

Presenter: Dr. Yvonne Marie Andrés

Dr. Andrés is the founder of the Global Schoolnet, a home to many learning resources on the web.Dr. Andrés began by touring her site, the Global Schoolnet, showcasing a Project Registry for PBL.

She worked her way through a “speed-dating” version of several online collaborative tools.

  • Dropshots.com allows teachers/students to upload videos to a public space using a drag and drop interface.
  • YackPack.com is an online audio collaborative space (still in Beta) that uses a neat visual Flash interface.
  • Google for Educators – An educationally-oriented version of Google’s Docs & Spreadsheets applications.
  • PhotoShow.com is a way for teachers/students to create animated musical slideshows through e-mail, the web or from other media.
  • Simplestar.com – adds functionality and special effects to Photoshow (above)

In general this was a very useful workshop. If there was a downside, it was that it wasn’t quite as engaging as it could’ve been. The Internet connection was spotty throughout the workshop, and so it was difficult for us to experience some of the sites that Dr. Andrés was showing us. Three hours is also a VERY long time to spend at a computer in one shot. Nonetheless, the tools that were demonstrated were interesting, and I look forward to investigating them further.

UPDATE! Additional resources from the workshop

  • Backflip.com is a social bookmarking site, somewhat similar to del.icio.us.
  • Bravenet.com is a hosting service for web sites as well as a variety of online tools such as maps, polls, calendars, etc.
  • Digitaldivide.net – an online community with collaborative tools with a goal to bridging the digital divide.
  • Elluminate – One of the main synchronous platforms.
  • MyWay – Free e-mail with no add, similar in look and feel to MyYahoo!
  • Skype – The ubiquitous VOIP tool.
  • Think.com – Collaboration tools for students and schools developed and sponsored by Oracle.
  • Twitter – This is an online brainstorming, information sharing site. Entries can be posted on the web or through text messaging. Dr. Andrés has written an article about Twitter at http://www.districtadministration.com/pulse/