I have difficulty writing numbers and mathematical symbols legibly if I’m required to use pen or pencil, and am not able to make the characters very large. I know that I’m not alone in this regard. Now there is a way for anyone to use finger or stylus to enter handwritten numbers and symbols into a calculator on an Android or iOS handheld device. On a tablet, I can make the figures large enough to be almost legible!
MyScript Calculator is a free app for both Android and iOS devices from VisionObjects. It offers a “handwriting calculator” that works remarkably well. I’ve only tested it with my finger, not a stylus, but the app has no difficulty understanding my rather large and somewhat messy scrawl. The calculator works just as well for basic computation as it does for more complex mathematics.
I’ve embedded a video below that does a nice job of illustrating what this app can do. The video shows the app on Android. When I tried it on my iPad, it functioned identically. Numerical expressions can be copied easily and used in other apps.
In my view, Android stands head and shoulders above iOS in terms of options for text input on handheld devices. On my Android tablet or phone, I can choose the default keyboard from a helpful range of choices. I’m a pretty good touch typer, but I can enter text most efficiently with a keyboard that allows me to trace my fingers, without lifting them, from one letter to the next in a word on the keyboard. This is illustrated below on the Path Input keyboard. Apple doesn’t allow alternatives to its default keyboard, so this keyboard is available only within the app, but it’s easy to move text entered in Path Input to other apps.
Since each learner is unique, I believe it is imperative that each be introduced to a wide a range of learning tools and possibilities. There are many who struggle with written output, and this kind of text input would probably be helpful for some.
Path Input is currently available as a free app for iPad. There’s also a free Lite Version, as well as a Pro Version at $3.99, for iPhone and iPod Touch. The app does a good job of suggesting the word you might have meant, in case you didn’t get it quite right. Spaces are automatically inserted after words. The Shift key enables you to capitalize a word or to enter the word in all-caps, by tapping the key more than once.
On the iPad version of the app, I think it’s a major bonus to have the number keypad available, alongside the letters, as shown above. Path Input is available for several languages, and this list appears to be growing.
Shown below is a screenshot of Path Input Pro for the iPhone or iPod Touch.
I don’t think learners can have too many options when it comes to sharing what they think, or showing what they know. Here’s an option that I think is well worth considering.
SlideTalkis a service where you upload either sets of images, or complete PowerPoint presentations. Once uploaded, SlideTalk adds narration via high quality text to speech that can be customized for pronunciation, reading rate, voice timbre and more. There are at least 17 languages available, and multiple voices are available for most languages. You can even change voices or languages within a presentation.
Once a video is produced, it is automatically published to Youtube. SlideTalk’s free service offers up to 6 “slidetalks”. There is supposed to be a limit of 12 slides for slidetalks created with a free account, but I was able to publish one with more.
Recently, Gary Bishop has beautifully updated the Tar Heel Reader site. I’ll be writing more about that here soon. I’ve used two stories from Tar Heel Reader, downloaded as PowerPoint files, to try with SlideTalk. This worked extremely well, and these are embedded below as Youtube videos. At the bottom of the post, is a video from SlideTalk that explains the service.
I wrote about Talktyper last July. It remains my preferred option for using voice to create text in Google Chrome. The one drawback has been the advertising on the site. Quite often this has been inappropriate for use with school age learners. Today, my colleague Lisa McKenna shared a solution that works perfectly to completely eliminate the ads on Talktyper.com!
Adblocker Plus is available in the Chrome Web Store as an extension for Google Chrome. Once added to Chrome, none of the offending advertising shows up on Talktyper.com. It works like magic. Now I have no hesitation in recommending Talktyper wholeheartedly. Please check out my detailed post about Talktyper for my reasons. The most important factor is the convenient text-to-speech option that is available for anyone who needs help with reading as well as written output.
This month, Google released Version 25 of the Chrome browser! The constant flow of improvement leaves no doubt that Google is committed to making an already excellent browser ever better. It’s no wonder that Chrome is already the worlds most widely used browser, even though it didn’t exist just five years ago!
In the latest version of Chrome, developers are able to build voice recognition into any apps created for the browser. The potential is tremendous. If developers take up the challenge, not only will users be able to create text with speech, they should be able to use voice commands to navigate web pages, open links and more. I hope this ultimately results in vastly improved access for individuals who face access challenges of many kinds.
Google has set up a demo site where you can use voice recognition to create an email or write text that can be copied elsewhere. If you wish, you can check it out HERE. The user interface is shown in the image below. The demo site is currently available in 32 of Google’s 57 languages. For English, settings are available for Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States.