Increasing accessibility and literacy scores with Read&Write for Google Chrome

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Millions of students across the US and beyond are using cloud-based tools such as Google Apps for Education (GAFE) in the classroom and at home. Because this software is hosted “in the cloud,” students can access it on almost any device or platform, anywhere.

While the popularity of GAFE continues to grow, it is important to ensure that struggling learners, such as those with learning disabilities or English Language Learners, continue to have access to the supports they need to succeed.

At Texthelp, we’ve developed Read&Write for Google Chrome, which assists students using GAFE by making the web and files in Google Drive accessible. The friendly, intuitive toolbar is used (and loved) by millions of students and teachers worldwide.

One school who saw the benefits that Read&Write for Google Chrome could bring to their students, is Winnacunnet High School. By implementing Read&Write, this high school has increased students’ ability to collaborate and increased their independence.

Read&Write for Google Chrome at Winnacunnet High School

Winnacunnet High School is an American public high school located in Hampton, New Hampshire. It serves 1200 students in grades 9 through 12 who reside in the communities of Hampton, Seabrook, North Hampton and Hampton Falls.

Winnacunnet placed a large focus on literacy and literacy development in the past few years and when the school was looking for a program to help increase literacy scores. They initially started using Texhelp’s Read&Write for Windows, to help their special education students with literacy.

The school made a decision to move to Google Apps for Education two years ago. With the adoption of Google, Winnacunnet also solidified its 1:1 initiative with every student receiving a chromebook beginning with the freshman class in 2015-2016.

With the switch to GAFE, Winnacunnet purchased Read&Write for Google Chrome so its students could access content anywhere using the Chrome extension through their Google account.

Dave Hobbs, the technology integrator at Winnacunnet, said the move to Read&Write for Google Chrome enabled students to access the software from home and on different devices. The students’ work became account dependent instead of device dependent and this was a big key move for him.

As an administrator, Dave could see the benefits of the move to Read&Write for Google Chrome as he can cater and respond to teacher needs much quicker and on a greater scale and it made all the difference with adoption.

It was the reflective element that comes in the students reading and writing that Winnacunnet noticed Read&Write for Google Chrome can provide. “It was a tool that was above and beyond anything we’ve experienced in school,” added Dave Hobbs. “It is made possible because the students are only a click away from having access to these tools whether they are at home, at the library, or at school – they just need to log into their google account and they have access. Google and GAFE lets us collaborate with teachers in real time and with one another in real time.”

Winnacunnet classrooms use Read&Write for Google Chrome in a number of different scenarios. Text to speech is one of their favorite capabilities. One English teacher uses the software to help students memorise poetry – they have the poems read aloud to them and practice repeating them alongside the voice. Students were more confident in speaking in front of the class as a result of this.

Teachers at Winnacunnet also utilize the vocabulary builder and highlight function, but the feature they enjoy most of all is the autonomy it gives students. Teachers now don’t feel the need to hover over students shoulders to get work done; instead, students are getting their work done in a timely manner. Read&Write for Google Chrome follows the students outside the classroom with or without the teacher. With this new independence, comes added confidence.

As a result of Winnacunnet’s comprehensive focus on literacy along with its adoption of Google and Read&Write for Google Chrome, Winnacunnet has seen its literacy test scores increase significantly.

Find out more about Read&Write for Google Chrome here or click on this link for a quick introductory video.

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