Completing a Science Research Project using Text to Speech and Magnification

When assistive technology is integrated into the regular education classroom, students with low vision can access print materials to complete science projects with their peers. This spring, my student completed a biome research project using her video magnifier, screen magnification software, text to speech, and digital accessible materials on the iPad. 

The student was assigned to research an animal that lived in the Tundra. She chose to learn about the Artic Fox. After obtaining print books from the library like her peers, she used her GoVision video magnifier to increase the text size to read and change the color contrast to a black background with white print. She also used the build-in OCR and text to speech features. The student took a picture of the text with the camera. The OCR software converted printed text into digital text, allowing her to access information so it could be read aloud using the GoVision’s built-in text to speech. She also obtained information about the Artic Fox using Voiceover on the iPad to read the iBook Artic Fox Pups. The following Voiceover gestures were used to read the iBook. 

  • Two finger flick down- to read the text on the page started at the selected item 
  • Two finger single tap –to pause and continue the speech
  • Three finger flick left and right- to move to the next or previous page

Photograph of a student sitting at a table looking at the screen of the GoVision video magnifier while pushing the Executing OCR button (a green button with a capital letter T) on the remote control.

Image: Photograph of a student sitting at a table looking at the screen of the GoVision video magnifier while pushing the Executing OCR button (a green button with a capital letter T) on the remote control. 

Photograph of a student viewing her biome script on the screen of the video magnifier that has a black background with white print. The word “coolest” is outlined in yellow as it is read aloud.

Image: Photograph of a student viewing her biome script on the screen of the video magnifier that has a black background with white print. The word “coolest” is outlined in yellow as it is read aloud. 

After researching the Artic Fox, the student typed her responses to teacher questions in a Google Doc that was shared with her. She used Zoomtext 11 keyboard commands to increase the size of the text to read the questions and type her responses. 

Zoomtext Magnifier Keyboard Commands Used 

  • Zoom in - Caps Lock + Up arrow
  • Zoom out  - Caps Lock + Down arrow
  • Zoom to 1x - brings you to no magnification 1X and back to your previous magnification – Caps Lock +Enter 

The student used the information to write a biome script to share with her class. The Read & Write for Google extension was used to read aloud her work to assist with edited. 

Photograph of a student sitting at a table using a large screen laptop with screen magnification software. The laptop screen is magnified to view a Read & Write Google toolbar and a large red arrow pointer.

Image: Photograph of a student sitting at a table using a large screen laptop with screen magnification software. The laptop screen is magnified to view a Read & Write Google toolbar and a large red arrow pointer.

 Photograph of a student sitting at a table using a large screen laptop with screen magnification software. The student uses keyboard shortcuts to magnify the toolbar to view the play, stop, and pause buttons and a red point to activate the play button to read aloud her work.

Image: Photograph of a student sitting at a table using a large screen laptop with screen magnification software. The student uses keyboard shortcuts to magnify the toolbar to view the play, stop, and pause buttons and a red point to activate the play button to read aloud her work. 

Photograph of a student sitting at a table looking at the screen of her laptop while the text is highlighted in yellow as it is read aloud

Image: Photograph of a student sitting at a table looking at the screen of her laptop while the text is highlighted in yellow as it is read aloud. 

Before giving her presentation, I used one lesson to review the types of technology the student could choose from to read her biome script. The following options were modeled and then independently practiced by the student.

  • Reading aloud a large print copy with bold 72 point size font in landscape or portrait layout
  • Reading aloud a regular print copy using her GoVision video magnifier visually or using text to speech
  • Reading aloud a digital copy using Zoomtext 11 magnification software and/or text to speech

The student reported that she liked using her technology to complete her research project, but preferred to practice reading aloud a large print copy of her biome script because it was the easiest way for her to give a presentation.

Collage of Science Research Project

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