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.
In my view, Google Chrome is the most accessible browser for interacting with the Internet. That’s because there are so many add-ons available to facilitate access, as well as websites that have been designed to take advantage of features built into Chrome. I have written here about some of these options. In this post, I want to bring together a set of add-ons and websites that help make the Internet accessible with Chrome.
There are two kinds of add-ons for Chrome–extensions and apps. Both are obtained from the Chrome Web Store, butall the add-ons I’m writing about here are free. To get to the Chrome Web Store, simply open a new tab when you are in Chrome, and click on the icon pictured below. After using the search bar to find the app or extension you are looking for, you are offered extremely easy instructions for installing the add-on.
After installation, most extensions create an icon on the ‘Extensions Toolbar’, which is immediately to the right of the browser’s address bar.
You need a Google (GMail) account to install an app. Once an app is installed, you find it by opening a new tab, as pictured below.
Now let’s take a look at some extensions, apps, and websites that enhance Internet accessibility with Google Chrome.
Voice Recognition software has made impressive gains in recent years. With the advent of handheld touch screen devices, it is making its way into everyday life for a growing number of people. Moreover, voice recognition is rapidly becoming more accurate. This is great news for individuals who struggle with writing!
In this post, I’m highlighting free options that work well on a variety of platforms–iOS, Android, Mac/PC/Linux via the web browser, and on the PC whether it is online or off line. My focus is on the use of speech recognition for writing, not on using it to activate or control applications.
TalkTyper is by far the best cross platform option I have tried. It is available via a site that functions only in the Google Chrome browser. TalkTyper also offers high quality text-to-speech so that the person dictating can listen to whatever he or she has written. The user must be online. I’ve recently written about TalkTyper in greater detail in another post.
Install Chrome extension Adblock Plus to automatically remove ads from TalkTyper site that may be in appropriate in a school setting
Voice Search isa purpose-specific option that is also available on multiple platforms by way of Google’s Chrome browser. Voice Search enables the user to use voice recognition to enter search terms. Voice Search works well for entering search terms, and it also functions well in many other online text boxes. Voice Search is available from the Chrome Web Store as an extension for Chrome. I’ve written more about Voice Search here.
Dragon Dictation provides excellent voice-to-text on all iOS devices, as long as those devices are online. In iOS5, text-to-speech is available to read dictated text via the built-in ‘Speak Selection‘. Please note: text dictated into Dragon Dictation can only be copied to the clipboard if the keyboard is visible on screen. Knowing this is especially important for anyone needing to use Speak Selection to hear what he or she has written. I wrote briefly about Dragon Dictation here.
Voice recognition works brilliantly on Android handheld devices. My experience has been with Android 4 (“Ice Cream Sandwich”). The default Android keyboard includes a key showing a microphone, and this brings up Android’s built in voice recognition. Voice to text can be used in any situation where you would otherwise use the keyboard.
flext9is a free alternative keyboard for Android devices that offers four ways to input text, including voice recognition. In my experience, it works extremely well; and I have set this keyboard as the default on my Android tablet. I have written more about the flext9 here.
For anyone who would benefit from convenient free speech-to-text, here’s the best reason yet for using Google Chrome! This application is so good, I was completely blown away when Patrick Black of Teaching All Students, shared it with me via Twitter early yesterday morning.
TalkTyperis not an add-in for Google Chrome, but it’s a web-based application that functions only in Chrome. It offers powerful voice recognition, enhanced by several helpful features. It works well with my laptop’s built in mic, even in environments that are far from noise-free.
UPDATE: Install Chrome extension Adblock Plus to automatically remove ads that may be inappropriate in a school setting.
The screenshot below shows the user interface. Dictated text goes into the upper box, where it can be listened to and edited. Once the user is satisfied, the text is sent to the lower box where it is collected for use wherever desired. It seems to work best to dictate one sentence at a time, and it works quite well to dictate the desired punctuation.
Dictation appears to be available in 18 languages, if you count US and UK English as two languages. I tried my rather poor French, and I was pleasantly surprised when TalkTyper understood!