Two Accessibility Features from the Google Sphere

This week I have been on another learning adventure. I am taking a class about accessibility and Universal Design for Learning. Each time I take a class, I am reminded that I have a lot to learn about technology. This week, I learned about a couple of features in Google Slides and Google Docs that I missed. I will share two of the features.

The first feature is the Google Docs’ speech-to-text functionality. I had the Dragon software, and it did not like my voice. I was never able to program the software to understand what I was saying. I was ecstatic when Word upgraded to include speech-to-text. I have been using Word’s speech-to-text. This week, I was happy when it was pointed out that the feature is also in Google Docs. How did I miss that? Shame on me for being late to the party!

I like it because sometimes I want to include a script with my videos. If I open the speech-to-text feature, I can make scripts and put them under my videos. I thought it worked well, and I can imagine the possibilities for students.

Last year, I was working with elementary students. They were asked to write reports. Sometimes their thoughts were more complex than their ability to write. The speech-to-text feature can be helpful for fluency and helping students to expedite their work. No, I am not trying to make things too easy for them. I want them to be able to articulate and edit their responses.

The next feature I noticed was in Google Slides. If you click on “Present” and click the captions button, Google will automatically create captions for your presentations while you speak. Sometimes, I upload my presentations to Vimeo instead of YouTube because Vimeo offers password protection. The drawback for me is that my Vimeo videos do not have the captioning. Although YouTube has automatic captions (which should be edited), it is more complicated to add captions in Vimeo. If I use Vimeo, I must add a script for accessibility. Now, if I use ScreenCastify in association with a Google Slides presentation, I have captions.

Automatic captions can be helpful to your audience when you are presenting. Including the captions can increase comprehension and fluency for students that are struggling. Also, audience members that cannot hear well can still enjoy the presentation. As Richard Byrne notes in his video, you do have to speak slowly and background noise can interfere with the captions.

So those were my professional development quick finds for this month. Do you have additional features in Google Slides and Docs that you would like to share?

The October professional development opportunities are listed below.

Note: The picture in this post was purchased from

October 2019 Professional Development

Organization Date & Time

Professional Development Title October 2, 2019 – 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST Brilliantly Simple Strategies for Early Learners with Tech
October 3, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Advocating for Transgender Students and Navigating the Media Coverage
October 3, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST The Future of Reading is Social
October 3, 2019 – 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST How to Achieve Literacy Gains with Curriculum-Integrated Vocabulary Instruction
October 3, 2019 – 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm EST Mental Health and Self-Esteem through Digital Portfolios
October 7, 2019 – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EST Managing the Risks Inherent in the Teaching Profession
October 14, 2019 – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EST Assuring Student Data Privacy: Lessons for Our Times
October 15, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST The Truth About Nonfiction Reading
October 16, 2019 – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EST Diversity in Context: Stretching the Idea of Building Diverse Collections
October 17, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Simple STEAM for Teachers
October 17, 2019 – 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST Literacy Success for All Students: A District’s Journey
October 21, 2019 – 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST Storytelling 101: How Media Making Impacts Cognitive Development
October 22, 2019 – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EST Technology in Rural Schools: Leading with Why
October 24, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST Improving Literacy Growth for ELLs and Dual Language Learners Using Shared Reading
October 28, 2019 – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EST How to Talk EdTech with Parents: 3 K-12 Educators Share Their Stories
October 29, 2019 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST Keys to Success for Digital Natives
Info2Go! October 21, 2019 – 11:30 am – 12:30 pm PST Info2Go! Girls Who Code at your Library
Simple K12 October 5, 2019 – 10:00 am – 10:30 am EST Best Practice for Using Google Classroom Professionally and Intentional


October 5, 2019 – 11:00 am – 11:30 am EST Personalizing Learning with Google Classroom


October 5, 2019 – 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm EST 10 Time Saving Tips for Google Classroom


October 5, 2019 – 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm EST Formative Assessment Tools and Strategies With Google Classroom
October 12, 2019 – 11:00 am – 11:30 am EST Google Drawings: How to Create and Edit Drawings and Graphics
October 12, 2019 – 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm EST Augmented Reality for K-8: Apps and Ideas for Easy Classroom Integration
October 12, 2019 – 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm EST The One-Device Classroom: Tips for Effectively Using a Single Device
October 26, 2019 – 11:00 am – 11:30 am EST Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Powerful Instruction Tool
October 26, 2019 – 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm EST Google Classroom: An Intro to Creating, Formatting, and Designing Google Slides
TeachersFirst October 8, 2019 – 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CST Engage & Inspire: Augmented Reality in the Classroom
October 15, 2019 – 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CST Facts Are Facts…Aren’t They?
October 22, 2019 – 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CST 3 Cool Tools for Literacy in the Primary Classroom (K-2)
October 30, 2019 – 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm CST Tech Integration Made Easy with Goose Chase October 8, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Playing by the Rules: Creating an Effective Volunteer Handbook
October 9, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Telling the Story of Volunteer Impact
October 15, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Creative and Innovative Recognition Strategies for Today’s Volunteers
October 22, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Developing a Strategic Plan for Volunteer Engagement
School Library Journal October 1, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Picture Perfect: Books for the Youngest Readers
Booklist October 3, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Meet Penguin’s Premier Picture Book Creators!
October 8, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST Mad about Middle Grade

Author: Daniella Smith

Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently the Hazel Harvey Peace Professor in Children’s Library Services at the University of North Texas.

Categories: Blog Topics, Technology

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