Jen Giffen, Digital Literacy Resource Teacher, York Region District School Board

Read&Write for Google Chrome for the Win!

This guest blog was originally posted on Jen's personal website, Virtual Giff.

My son, who is in the third grade, hates homework. His biggest anxiety in returning to school this year was that he would get a lot of homework. I also hate homework, especially in primary. So last night, when we had to sit down to write a 2-4 minute script for an All About Me project, I was dreading it. Then I realised, I could make this so much easier on him. I spent all this time training teachers on Google tools, why not train my own kid?

Jen Giffen Hmmmm... Bitmoji
I asked him to grab his Chromebook and we opened a Google Doc. Then, I showed him the magical puzzle piece - Read&Write for Google Chrome (specifically the Talk&Type feature). After setting the microphone to French (he is in a French Immersion school), I asked him to say "Bonjour, je m'appelle Bennet" (Hi, my name is Bennet). It typed for him. His eyes grew the size of saucers. As he left the room to get his poster I heard him say to himself "This is so cool!" and the kid who hated homework, stuck to it for 2 hours!

Jen Giffen Tweet

He learned that the mic does not always hear what he says and he may have to type some words in himself. He also read A LOT of French. He didn't speak and leave what was written; he read and corrected as it went. The experience was so much more rich than struggling through the phonetic of what he was attempting to write or having me type it for him. He felt empowered. I was thrilled. And I witnessed the power of using GSuite with Littles!

That said...this all begs the question (as my friend Peter Cameron pointed out) - "how do the kids who don't have the same supports at home feel/cope? And so the homework debate continues..."

Did you know that Read&Write is FREE for teachers? Sign up for your free teacher account today to see how your students can become more empowered through a richer learning experience.

EquatIO and Read and Write are free for teachers

Author Bio

Jen Giffen (a.k.a. Virtual Giff) currently works as a Digital Literacy Resource Teacher with the York Region District School Board.

She earned her B.Ed (I/S English and Mathematics) at Queen's University and her M.Ed (Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning) at OISE at the University of Toronto.  She has an honours specialist in English and Additional Qualifications in Special Education and Integration of Information and Computer Technology in the Classroom.  She has also been the Literacy Lead, Student Success Teacher, and Modern Learning Teacher.

She is a Google for Education Certified Innovator (#WDC17), a Google for Education Trainer, and a Level 2 Google Educator.  She has a keen interest in EdTech and is always looking for new tools to enhance the learning environment to engage students and increase critical thinking skills.


Marcus 02/11/2018 03:15:31
R&W is indeed a powerful tool. I tried using the toolbar for other Chrome extensions and apps - specifically Mindomo. I was disappointed to notice that the writing tools (prediction and talk&type) do not engage when filling in the topic fields. Two useful extensions that could learn to communicate with each other!

Deena Kimmel 02/11/2018 13:45:36
Hi Marcus! Thanks for your feedback. We will submit your request to our developers to add to the product development backlog. - Deena




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