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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Read & Write - An Accessibility App for Google Docs

Read & Write is a free Google Chrome Web App that increases the accessibility of the text of documents in your Google Drive account. After installing the app you will see a Read & Write tab appear at the top of your browser window whenever you have a document open in Google Drive. Clicking that Read & Write tab will open a menu of accessibility options.

Some of the accessibility options include a picture dictionary and a talking dictionary. To use either dictionary just highlight a word then click on the dictionary that you want to use. The dictionary that you select will pop-up in your document. Read & Write will also read the text of your documents aloud. In the settings menu you can select from nine voices and three playback speeds. Learn more about Read & Write in the video below.


Thanks to Jen Deyenberg for sharing this handy Chrome app.

European Exploration - A Game for Learning About The Age of Discovery

Last week Glenn Wiebe published a list of iPad apps for history teachers. One item in that list that was new to me was European Exploration: The Age of Discovery. This free iPad app puts students in charge of exploring the "New World." In the game students are in charge of selecting explorers and ships to send out to the New World. Students have to manage the finances of their expeditions so that they don't run out of money before they can return home safely.

European Exploration: The Age of Discovery provides students with historical information about the explorers that are available to lead expeditions. Some of the explorers available include Giovanni da Verrazano, Christopher Columbus, and Juan Ponce de Leon. The explorers are graded based on their navigation, cartography, and shipkeeping skills. Each explorer has a different salary which students must account for when managing the budgets of their expeditions.

The object of the game is to unveil the entire New World. To do this students draw expedition maps and send out their explorers. If the expedition is successful it will earn money that students can then parlay into financing another expedition. Successful managers of European Exploration: The Age of Discovery will be able to manage multiple expeditions simultaneously.

Applications for Education
European Exploration: The Age of Discovery could be a great way to get students interested in the expeditions of early European explorers. To extend the game you could have your students research why some explorers in the game have higher navigation, cartography, and shipkeeping rankings than others.

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