Saturday, October 22, 2011

Speech Input, Translator, PDF Aloud, Study Skills and Vocabulary List Builder for Mac

As I was going through these features again I was marvelling at the features and I was overwhelmed with the possibilities. I was reflecting on certain students in my students who would benefit from certain specific features of the program and also on myself and how that would have been rather helpful for me (especially when I was writing so many papers for my courses this past summer).

I can only really think that the cost of making this program accessible to all our students must be so prohibitive. However, I wonder what would be truly possible for our students if we were able to embrace technology.

SPEECH INPUT - This feature links MicroSoft Office with voice recognition speech-to-text in documents. Check to see if the microphone is in the correct position by using the wizard. This takes you through a step-by-step process. It is recommended that you do a lot of training to ensure that your speech will be as accurate as possible. Using the speech recognition feature, simply speak what you want to write and the text will be placed in a document.

PDF ALOUD -  If you open a PDF file using Adobe 9, PDF Aloud opens automatically. However, using Adobe 10, you need to select the PDF Aloud toolbar and open "Options" to access this feature. The PDF Aloud feature gives you options to play, rewind, forward, and stop text being read aloud. In the "Click and Speech" option, you can click a picture and text will be read aloud. You can choose having a word, sentence, or paragraph being read to you. You can also select the type of voice (pitch, speech, etc.) in the "Option" section. And you can also control the pronunciation of words.

TRANSLATION - Spanish, French, German, and Italian are options for documents (word, sentences, paragraphs, etc.) being translated. Click on the "Translation" icon and you can click on the word, etc. to hear the translation. You can click on "Preference" to change the language, colour, speed of voice, and font.

STUDY SKILLS AND VOCABULARY LIST BUILDER - This feature can be used both in Microsoft Word and Explorer. You have the options of using yellow, blue, green, or pink to highlight selected text. Perhaps the most exciting part of all of this is that you can collect the highlights that you have generated from your text and put them into a word document. You can also have the option to collect text from  multiple documents and put them in a word document.

Another exciting aspect of this feature is that you can create a vocabulary list by selecting any of the highlighted words. Using the vocabulary icon, the words that you have highlighted can be transferred to a document which will give a picture and definition of the words. This would be very helpful for teachers who have to create vocabulary lists or word banks for students for content material.

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