Bridging the Gap with Assistive Technology: How to Reduce Learning Loss in Online Learning

Bridging the Gap with Assistive Technology:  How to Reduce Learning Loss in Online Learning

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- So I know we're gonna have a few more people jumping in in the next couple of minutes, but I am cognizant of everyone's time. So let's go ahead and get started. I do want to let you know that there is a Q&A box that please feel free to put any questions in at any time.

Ginger Dewey from our team will be moderating the chat, and if there's questions that need to be addressed to the entire group, she'll ping us. Otherwise, she'll be answering those in the chat. All right.

Paul, can you give me a thumbs up if you can see the slideshow? Perfect, okay, so again, happy new year to everyone. I hope that it has started off well for everyone, as well as possible. We want to thank you for taking the time to join us today for our webinar, "Bridging the Gap with Assistive Technology: How to Reduce Learning Loss in Online Learning." We've got some great information to share with you today, and again, no question is too small, and so please feel free to ask anything that might come to mind as we present our information. So today's speakers, Paul Stisser's joining me today.

He is the director of business development here at ReadSpeaker, and my name is Kathy Wood. I am the education partner manager. So we're actually going to start off our presentation today just trying to get a feel for the demographics of everybody here.

So I am going to put a quick poll up, and if you don't mind, let us know, are you primary, secondary, or higher education with us? And I'll just give it a few seconds, see how quick you are to answer. Wow, it looks the majority today is higher ed. But we want to welcome everyone. We've got information for everybody, so I hope that you're able to take away some great information and share with your colleagues. So I'm gonna close that poll now. All right, so who are we? If you're not familiar with ReadSpeaker, we are a text to speech company.

We offer the best voices in the market, but we also offer several accessibility tools. We have over 20 years of experience in the market. We're used by over 1,500 institutions globally. We help everyone, not just a few, and we'll touch on that a little bit later in the presentation, and we'll also show you that our products are easy to implement and use.

Paul, I know you wanted maybe to add a few words to this. - Yeah, thanks, Kathy. The one thing that ReadSpeaker does is often we work with, as Kathy said, about 1,500 institutions globally, but also, I can almost promise you that our products and our voices are being used somewhere in your institution of higher ed or K12 program. But also in your day to day life people are utilizing us, and that could be from Spotify, the voice of Spotify. Recently we've launched the voice for Hello Kitty.

If you're in education, you probably know the word Quizlet, and how Quizlet is used constantly by students. That's one of the ReadSpeaker voices. As you get into publishing, from your McGraw Hill to your Discovery Education to your Houghton Mifflin to the Cengage products, they're also being utilized by ReadSpeaker. And then ReadSpeaker also has other initiatives going on, not only making customized voices like Spotify, but we're in IVR, we're in your train stations, airport kiosks, we're all over the place.

So as I like to say, we like to be ubiquitous when it comes to voice, thanks, Kathy. Kathy, you're muted, can't hear you, sorry. - Perfect, thank you, I was trying to make sure there was no echo when you were talking, so okay. So today's presentation really is about learning loss and how assistive technology can help with that.

So what is learning loss? Well, learning loss describes the loss of knowledge and skills students experience when they're not in school, and it also can be known as disrupted learning or unfinished learning. Now, we've seen the headlines that are coming out, not only is this costing students, the learning loss is costing them future lifetime earnings, but it's also widening the gap of test scores and progress, and it's also resulting in significant learning loss when we talk about virtual schools. And again, when we think about statistics, we talk about, in higher ed, we can think about the students with disabilities having their access to education threatened. We think about the drop-out rates for secondary education increasing since the pandemic, and when we talk about our younger students, those students are actually faring worse because when we're introducing this new way of learning, they're not really prepared for this. All right, another quick poll question.

In your opinion, which group do you think has been most affected by this? So I'm seeing the majority of everybody really feels like it's a touch of all of them, and I agree with that. Again, coming in second are the students needing accommodations, and when we think about that, and Paul's gonna touch on this a little bit later, when we think about students needing accommodations, we also need to think about those students that are undisclosed. So thank you again for participating in that poll.

All right, so when, we've talking about this, and I think we can all agree that no two learners are alike, and just even thinking about the poll that asked about the students who are new to online learning, the students needing accommodations, students that English is a second language. So knowing the statement is true, no two learners are alike, how do we help all the students, all the learners, Paul? - Thanks, Kathy, and we might get some disruptive learner because my neighbor is mowing his lawn, so that's the joy of living in Florida, right? And I know in the Northeast and the Midwest, there's a big snow storm, so typical online learning experience, right? But when we're talking about bridging the gap, we really have to look at today's learners and how they're all different. And if you're not new to UDL, you've seen this cartoon. I think it symbolizes so much of what learning was and how it's changed over the day, and this cartoon I think does a great example of often, assessments are provided by the instructor on the way the instructor likes to learn, and we're not considering all the people involved.

And as we're talking about bridging the gap, we're gonna be talking about accessibility, we're gonna talk about inclusion. We're gonna be talking about universal design for learning, and I love this cartoon because it's, "for a fair selection, everybody has to take the same exam. Please climb that tree." And it just symbolizes how no two learners are alike. Thanks, Kath.

And when we're bridging the gap, we have to get an understanding of, as more and more diverse learners have access to learning, whether it's online learning or hybrid learning, we have to know that our populations have changed. Traditionally, in the past, if a student had accommodation, it wasn't encouraged for them to take courses online. However, with the pandemic, with the emergency of virtual learning, and I saw it with my kids, it is a crazy expectations for everybody to come on. And not only that, but everybody was forced to it.

We know that a minimum of five, between five and 15% of Americans are dyslexic. If you get into the students who have IEPs, you're getting closer to about 25% of the population in K12. When you get into ADHD, attentional issues, we know that that number is constantly growing.

And then when English is not your first language, that percentage continues to grow as America becomes more diverse. And then finally, you're looking at one out of 10 people who have low vision or low hearing, or hearing loss, makes that up. So when you look at this massive number, when it's all combined, we're gonna be talking about how bridging the gap supports so many people, not just those who have either 504 plans or IEPs, Kath? So in this slide, I touched a little bit about how we need to move away from that emergency remote instruction and how it needs to be a more planned approach. 18 months ago, when my kids were sent home, I wouldn't be able to have the doors open in my house right now, so my internet would have been even worse, but even more so, they didn't get a good taste of what online learning was. It was often a picture from a phone thrown into Google Education and a Zoom session, and then maybe a PDF and a Word doc, and so many things impacted the learning.

And then I see so many people that we've worked with, and exceptional programs that were already somewhat prepared, but hey, there was such an influx of more, we saw more of that. But we also know that technology can be a barrier. Just because you're throwing technology at people, whether it's in an LMS, whether it's an assistive technology, it doesn't mean it's gonna fit all those needs. When we're looking in K12, often there's a process for a student to acquire accommodation, usually have to be identified.

Usually they have to be going through the process. Often there's an evaluation that is required, then you get into a CAC, and then the IEP is written and delivered. That can be well over a year.

If it's an online setting, it's even longer. There is some learning loss going on for those students because, one, they don't have access to tools to support that. And one thing that we're gonna talk about is the ReadSpeaker suite of tools and how that kind of bridges that gap of doing that. In higher education, we also know that 60 to 80% of all students who have disabilities is not disclosing that to their instructors or to their faculty, or even to the people in the access centers. So when you look at language learners, ADHD, when you're looking at students who are LD or learning different, when you get into low vision and low hearing, in the online learning program, there's such a risk of not getting through the program. Kathy talked about also how higher education enrollment has dropped, and we're looking at about between eight and 9% in community colleges.

So over the last, what, 18 months, we've seen those numbers occur, and as that's going on, we know that there needs to be a more proactive approach of providing more accessibility, more inclusion to include everybody, and then also the universal design for learning. And the one final thing down here that we really talk about is one of our clients, Quality Matters, and how they define a proactive approach in providing that, Kath? So in learning, we're always talking about strategies, how you need to have strategies, and really, three of those strategies are broken down about universal design for learning, accessibility, and inclusion. I've talked about them really a bit, but as I'm getting ready to travel, or I'm probably somebody who probably should have had accommodations but never were disclosed.

I think this cartoon really talks about it. When you're talking about good design, are you talking about the stairs, or are you talking about the ramp? An accommodation is something that you're not always using every time, but the question is, is it available to you? Is that ramp available to you? When I travel, I'm a heavy packer. I can't carry my bag up and down the stairs. However, I love to use the ramp. That's universal design, it's an inclusive and an accessible strategy to support me, even though I don't have that accommodation, and it's available to all. And I think that's really clear, and you have the guy saying, "Hey," and we kind of picked this, I imagine most people are familiar with UDL, you know this, but we know the storms going on up north.

"All these other kids are waiting to use the stairs. When I get through, I'll shovel them off, and then I'll clear the ramp for you." And the kid says it so well, "But if you shovel the ramp, we all get in," and that's really about good design, when you're thinking about in the beginning. Kath, I'll pass it over to you.

- All right, so Paul mentioned, we kind of introduced that universal design for learning, and if you're not familiar with what UDL is, it's really based on that scientific insights, providing that equal opportunity that Paul mentioned, and it works for everyone, just like the ramp, but it's adjusted and it's customized to the individual needs. So we think about it broadly, but it can also be very specific to that individual. Paul, do you want to share how the audio tools that ReadSpeaker provides actually fits that model? - Yeah, so when we're looking into facts, the ability that multiple means of representation and being able to listen to it. ReadSpeaker's good design, and basically when we're talking about our learning management system or our LMS integrations, we're just part of the integration, so we're right there. We're not asking a student, as long as you have access to the equity and the access to the LMS as that point of location, ReadSpeaker can support that content inside of that, and it can also support it outside. So it's providing that, the ability to hear and listen to content.

I'm not gonna get into learning styles versus learning preferences, but definitely learning styles, it is significant when you get into students who have accommodations (indistinct), versus who need it, versus the learning preference that everybody talks about when it comes to, I prefer to listen to it. And then also, how am I learning? The ability to not only, of utilizing those tools, so it could be speech to text, it could be, my colleague Ginger likes to call it proof listening, as you're breaking down content and supporting it. These are all supported with ReadSpeaker and our audio tools, and then finally, why the learning, how they're challenged. Well, it's definitely a great way to provide complex terminology and how to support that, so language isn't a barrier. The accuracy of pronunciations are key because ReadSpeaker controls the entire chain of creating voices.

Beside probably one other company out there, we control the entire chain. So not only are we reading the voice, but we can also use our linguistic team to make sure that it's accurate, and when you look at those studies in the marketplace, we're actually the most accurate place, which comes into a big play when it comes to assessments and the requirements of that, Kath? - Thanks, Paul. So as we move a little bit further into the presentation, I think it's very important for you to hear from your peers. And so I've got two different clips from some interviews I've done with some of our clients. One, first up is JoAnne Glenn, and she is the principal of Pasco eSchool in Florida, K12 school district, and she was actually Digital Principal of the Year in 2020. And I'd like to share just a short clip where she and I talked about how they utilized text to speech, and really how even pre-pandemic and during the pandemic, how things changed for them and how they utilized the tools.

So let me share. One second. And this is a test of, really, this working.

- It worked yesterday. - God, it did, but. - This is an example of a technology barrier, so it looks like we lost Kathy for a bit. - [Kathy] Yeah, give me just a second, I'm maneuvering.

But Paul, you can fill dead air while I'm getting this worked up. - That's the one thing I can do, so. First, let me, while we're going on, are there any, and we can see your desktop, Kath, just in case, nice family. Ginger, are there any questions out there? 'Cause for some reason, I can't see the questions.

- [Ginger] Right now we don't have any, but I would like to say something about the interview with JoAnne Glenn that Kathy's gonna share here in a minute, that I was very impressed with why they decided to go with ReadSpeaker and how they were preparing ahead of time for that. Does anyone have any questions, or would you like to put your name and institution and role in chat so we can get to know each other? - So one thing I can talk a little bit about, and it's a couple slides ahead, as we're basically filling time, (laughs) ReadSpeaker offers unique certified integrations in learning management systems. Technically, I like to define it as two different initiatives, one over the past, let's say, 24 months, students have been thrusted into the learning management systems, and then the question is, how are we supporting content? Sometimes there's technology barriers, and those barriers could be content that's in an iframe. It could be content that isn't supported on a certain browser or device. So we're seeing a lot of different things like that. And then it could also be that an LMS wasn't too aware of when they're launching new testing products, if it's in an iframe, and how well that works with testing accommodation tools, like reading tools.

So I think we're seeing a lot of different things of that nature. So ReadSpeaker has those certified integrations with your Blackboard Learn, with your Canvas, with your Brightspace by D2L, with Moodle. We also have unique integrations with Schoology and also Google Education through our browser extensions. And it seems like for some reason Kath's having some tech issues. I know they were resolved earlier, but for some reason, she's having it going on. So Kath, I can see your- - So this is, yeah, so for some reason, the GoToWebinar is not wanting to share the video, and apologies, and somebody asked about closed captioning, and actually, this will be closed captioned and provided in the recording.

So apologies for some of the technical difficulties. GoToWebinar has been a little flaky for us (laughs) the last day and a half. But I will link this interview. But essentially, JoAnne made a good point in terms of learners who are, the difference between learners who are reading to learn, versus learning to read, and how audio really could help those students in that situation, when we talk about our elementary school students. And so they were using, they were actually getting prepared for a better online learning experience right before the pandemic.

So I think they were a little bit better prepared, but they have made some good adjustments for those students, especially when they had to take on I think she said 40,000 primary and secondary students very quickly, and helping them through this online learning, not just that emergency virtual learning. - Actually, it was 75,000. - Okay. - So, yeah, because we were like, I think there, when they launched, it was between 75 and 78,000, because JoAnne actually does reference that number. So they scaled up extremely quick, and one of the reasons was was because the integration of ReadSpeaker, you can't thrust all these new tools on students, and when happened next was, the ease of implementation, the ReadSpeaker player functionality was there. It was something that they could continue to roll out.

In her virtual program, they utilized ReadSpeaker for a couple years, and then they were able to ramp that up for all 75, 78,000. - Right, and so same with, our next interview was with Lamar Younginer, and he actually co-founded Virtical Education. That is spelled correctly. I always wanted to change the spelling, but that is how they spell it, and they really, his company was really about making sure that institutions meet those accessibility standards, when we talk about audits and that sort of thing, is your institution really prepared for those accessibility audits? But not only that, but he was in the trenches as the former director of Educational Technologies at Florence-Darlington. So again, what I'm gonna do is when I send out the recording, I will send a link to the actual YouTube video so you can actually hear them.

So again, apologies for the audio issues for that, but we will continue on, Paul? - Well, let's not give audio a bad name, Kathy. I think it's more of a video issue, so- - Well, it's a video issue, it's a GoTo meeting issue, how about that? - Yeah, yeah. (laughs) Yeah, so that's what happens sometimes. So I talked a little bit about the ease of implementation in the LMS, and really, I'm gonna talk about the two different initiatives that ReadSpeaker has in here.

And as I was filling the air, we really talked about these certified integrations, and then also our next component is really our TextAid product. Our TextAid product is geared, instead of that UDL model to support all learners, sometimes schools aren't ready to do it. Sometimes, often it's the K12 programs, often they're like, well, there's still this notion that if you give somebody an audio component, it's either gonna impact reading because they're gonna opt to listen, so it's gonna impact their reading, decoding skills in entering that. However, often there's not a lot of studies based on that that are relevant to today's online learning experience, which is significantly different than studies that were done in 2006 and 2007, when online was still new somewhat there. But with the TextAid product, that is geared towards specific individuals, and those specific individuals could be those who are at your access center or disability services offices when it comes to higher education, and then also it could be special ed students, or those students that a school wants to provide to, and in there, it does provide a browser extension and single sign on. Once again, the ReadSpeaker focus has always been on the LMS.

Pre-pandemic, we were committed to launching and supporting there, and that's why we have the certified integrations, and also our IMS global LTI integration, next, Kath? So we're talking about the ease of use, some of the functionality to support those students who are at risk, whether it's language learners. If you look at the top screen over there, we have the listen button, the dictionary, and the translation tool. The translation tool is used significantly, mainly when language is a second, English is a second language. And then when you mix into, since we have a lot of higher ed people, when you get into the nursing programs or the medical programs, there's all different ways that ReadSpeaker is utilized, not only from a translation component, but also when you get into the listening and into the settings, we've heard people talk about utilizing ReadSpeaker for an ER or emergency room setting, or an ER jacking up the volume to where people who are in trauma and how to listen to that and be able to interact. So, once again, not an accommodation, not a requirement for somebody, it's about that UDL and how these tools can be used in all different ways in there.

And then also when you get into the other tools, we support multiple languages, enlarging the text, the page masks, the text mode. The text mode allows you to do quite a bit of preference learning, and probably the one that's used the most in the text mode is being able to take your, let's say it's Times Roman, let's say you're LD, and in that setting, you could change that to the open dyslexic font, to where it's anchored. So you're getting the B and the D and it's (indistinct), and so you're able to recognize that. So whether that's somebody who is in the K12 setting, or it's somebody in the higher ed, it can be supported that way. So the ReadSpeaker functionality is, there's so many different caveats that can support students in their education needs, kind of bridging that gap of learning and online learning, Kath? - Yeah, and I do want to mention, this is actually our new and improved player. We took in a lot of feedback from our clients and really made some changes that we thought were really good for the market.

So that is actually our very new, new and improved player. And I do want to mention, we say it's just as easy as clicking and listening, and it is, and settings are unique to the user and device. So you can actually have different settings for your phone versus your iPad versus your desktop, so, again, it's stored in your cookies, and so if you want to look at it a different way on your desktop versus your mobile device, you can. - And then also ReadSpeaker, being a voice technology company, we have 50 plus voices and we support over 250 different, or, excuse me, let me back that up.

50 plus languages, and we have over 250 voices that are available to us. When we continue to talk about the ease of use, we've listened to a lot of K12 programs and also higher ed testing centers, and they were concerned about how to utilize, or how to support students in remote settings, and that's something that we really tried to work with in doing that, and I just wanted to share an example of our exam mode. And exam mode allows, it could be an admin coordinator or a teacher, how TextAid is set up traditionally to where they're providing accommodations, and in there, we allow the admin of the account to set up accommodations for students. So it could be having a reader, it could be extended time. The TextAid platform, it's a work in progress and we're continuing to add more and more accommodations for users, but this is a specific example of how we're adding and expanding that right now. So, once again, this can be easily accessed from your LMS.

It's actually in an iframe which launches into the TextAid product. The TextAid product is really good when it comes to supporting those needs that students have with some of the legacy products and let's say with print disabilities, of how it can be supported, Kath? You're on mute. - All right, and final question. Let's see. For those of you that are familiar with ReadSpeaker, is there an additional feature that you would like to see available, or do you need a little bit more information before you can kind of really answer that? Paul, I'm seeing PDF tagging tool and OCR'ing functionality, and then people saying that they don't know enough about the product. A few of them are famous voice talent.

We always throw a couple of voices out there that we would love to hear, as well. So LMS OCR'ing is pretty popular, the functionality for that. - Yeah, so the idea around the PDF tagging, we'd be able to allow instructors to tag PDFs and then remediate that. Having a famous voice talent, ReadSpeaker is constantly updating our voices, and we're gonna have some new voice offerings soon to our existing clients, and as that goes on, we're also, whether it's the Hello Kitty voice or the Spotify voice, the idea is also to bring in some famous people to enhance the learning experience like that. And as, not that that's a gimmick, but, I mean, when I was a much younger person, if I could have somebody like a Harrison Ford read to me, I probably would have done a lot better in school.

So (laughs) there's all those things, and then of course the LMS. The LMS tools are, the survey went away, Kath, so I don't know if it's timed or not, the MyScript, and then the LMS tool to OCR'ing it, it's something we offer in our TextAid product. However, there's other ways of, like our snapshot tool in our extension of adding that also into the, our main LMS product, which would be our web reading tool.

- Yeah, and we actually have LMS advisory panels so that we can kind of gather these fact finding missions of what our clients and what the industry is looking for, in terms of further features. So we're always eager to get that feedback so that we know what really matters. And so thank you for participating in that poll. - [Ginger] Kathy, we do have a few questions here.

- Okay. - [Ginger] One of them is, "Can I look at ReadSpeaker with my material?" - In terms of a sandbox? - [Ginger] As in my... yes. - Yeah, I can answer that. Yeah, ReadSpeaker always offers free sandboxes in the demo accounts to evaluate our functionality.

We want you to have proof of concept prior, so I would say 99% of our clients have used the sandbox. And so I would suggest, if you can see in the chat, I have my name there, you can reach out to me or to Kathy, and we can easily set that up for you, we love that. - There's a question about how do you add inflection to the voices? Or how is inflection incorporated into ReadSpeaker? - Yeah, so once again, if you have another, let's say an assistive technology or a voice product, I would ask them that, too, but we can answer that by saying we actually have a linguistic team that builds that out. Our platform is extremely flexible because it's our platform and we can actually write in different reading rules, so that could be reading acronyms, that could be reading abbreviations.

I always use the example, one of our clients was a global client, and we had a specific reading rule to where, because it was global, when they came across AZ readouts, the abbreviation for what AZ was, based on location. So when people in Arizona came across AZ, it was actually reading it out as Azerbaijan because globally, as a country, that's where it was. So we had to make a quick reading rule for that. Traditionally it takes between 12 and 24 hours, and then it was then able to recognize the difference between if it was a state or a country, and how to read that out. So once again, when it comes to inflection, we have that ability.

And Kathy, maybe what we could do is, that's more on our ReadSpeaker AI site, but we have those examples of audio that maybe we can offer those three, we have four... When I was at accessing higher ed, or accessing Higher Ground, excuse me, we talked about inflection and different things like that. That's a slide that maybe we share so people can see the voices that we're creating and offering today, and how that's done.

- Yeah, and Lyle Williams asked, "Can you show text to speech in Brightspace and speech to text, as well?" And Lyle, what I would love to do is email you some links to show you that working... for some reason, GoToMeeting right now is not letting us share on the fly or the video, so I actually had a Brightspace video to share of the tools and actions. So I will make a note to send you, and again, at the end of the webinar, there's a link to our education website that has all the LMSs, examples of it, that sort of thing, and you can play with the voices, everything, and kind of see the tools in action. So definitely we'll get with you on that- - Kathy, can I also add something? Yeah, Lyle, so if you're an LMS admin or if you have access to the third party config settings of D2L, or Brightspace, excuse me, you literally can go in and take a look at it. You can see that ReadSpeaker is actually built into the Brightspace core initiative.

So technically, how easy it is to set up your Brightspace, you would go in, we would recognize your URL, D2L would turn it on, we would give you a code and a password, and then you would refresh it, and we would launch. You would then pick your languages that you want supported and go from there. Whenever there is a (indistinct), it's usually done, it could be done in a day, easy, to evaluate in your sandbox. So that's, in the current integration, that's how easy it is.

- Crystal asked, "Can you discuss the download feature? I wouldn't want exam questions downloaded." - So Crystal, once again, our platform is flexible to where just because our, and Kathy, can you just drop it back a couple slides, to the player button? One more, yeah. So all of this here that you see can be customized. So if you want to remove download to MP3 feature, that can be easily done, it's just a skin, basically, it's CSS, and it can be modified to support that.

We do have different integrations on the LMSs. If you're on D2L, you actually can run different instances of that to where, inside your assignments, inside your content, inside your discussions, you can actually have listen dictionary translate MP3 download. But when it gets into your assessments, the download MP3 translate dictionary not available. So once again, the ReadSpeaker functionality is customizable, very highly customizable. All right, you can go back to the slide, thanks, Kath. - All right, so faculty at my school, higher ed Canvas, would like more control over which features are available in their courses.

For example, a language teacher may want to disable the translation during an exam. Is there a way to enable features individually? - So the ReadSpeaker for Canvas integration, this would be my suggestion on doing this. Great, great question, complex. Technically, how I would suggest it until Canvas is willing to work with us a little bit more to advance our integration, and I think Kathy and I ask them every month, Kath, of how we want to do that, I think one thing that I would suggest is, that functionality, we can turn it off at the URL, so in those translation, excuse me, in those foreign language courses where they don't want the translation to come back, it would just come back as a user error.

And then honestly, that would allow us to recognize how to do that. So our integration with D2L is a little bit deeper, much more successful, but inside the Canvas, as we're rolling out new integrations, this is, the separate instances are what we're trying to do. But I do also know in Canvas, we could roll out separate instances to where they could have a unique player. We would just have to make sure that we could define specifically what those URLs are, and then it shouldn't be a problem. So really, there's two ways.

There could be just an error coming across, or running a second instance of D2L just for that assessment piece. - Okay, another one is, "How is this similar to Immersive Reader?" - So how is it similar or different? - Just said "similar." - I don't know that much about Immersive Reader.

I know I would really like to talk about the differentiators. - Let's talk about it. - I think the differentiators that we support, our functionality can support all of Canvas, what it's with our TextAid extension to support some of the complex iframes that are out there, and we're not limited to just pages.

The other thing is, our ease, our ease of use is significantly different. We're right there on the global nav bar in Canvas, so that user just presses it, it opens up and we play. That is significantly much easier, and then also the other thing is I would love to compare with Immersive Reader what their usage is.

Can they tell you how often people are using that? We don't track personal data, but we can tell you how many times our button's being clicked, which then supports the analytics of that aspect, and then you'll literally have a running report of what's being utilized here. And the other thing is, some of you have heard Ginger, Ginger Dewey on that. She supports the adoption and implementation, and Ginger is always there to share some feedback on that. So I think, hands down, our product is used significantly more. And then finally, the differences, and we hear this often, it's about assessments.

Canvas, how are you reading quizzes, how are you interacting with proctoring tools, like a Respondus, and how are you supporting that also inside the Canvas platform? Once again, you're not adding a second or a third tool to support your students, it's just one, so there's no technology barrier, and you are bridging the gap. - Lyle had another great question. "How granular how ReadSpeaker be configured? So they may have some academic programs that don't want to use the tool, but to have some certain students need to access it. So is there a way students specifically can have access to the tool overriding other settings?" - So it's not really quite the UDL model that we were really talking about today. If it's just specific to those students, I would recommend our LTI integration with Brightspace.

That would be just specific to those students. However, the other thing, we're actually (indistinct). Kathy, you were in the meeting on Monday with us.

We know that for those long ReadSpeaker clients, we're excited because we're in the process of returning to almost like a dome setting functionality inside of D2L to where you can get a little bit more granular, but that's really gonna be more of the course level, and then also at the school level, besides the whole institutional level. So our goal, there's some previous functionality that we want, and D2L has heard from you, and that's some areas that we're doing in Brightspace, Kath? - Does this work on the phone Canvas app? - It doesn't. Though you would have to use it at a desktop view, and the reason is is because the app is basically one instance, when we talked to Canvas about it and the hundreds of Canvas clients that we have, we'd have to create a native app for each, each student, so I would prefer to see Canvas come out with a mobile responsive initiative, instead of just a desktop view. So right now, it'd have to be a desktop view. - Okay, and how does this compare to Read & Write Gold? - Well, once again, I think it's about usage, what is your usage? And I'm not talking about somebody downloading it or adding it to an extension.

It really comes down to usage, and then also, I mean, often our functionality, because we truly are a universal design for learning tool, there are no barriers of adding it to a certain extension or a particular device. We define it there. We also, we make it easier for everyone to utilize it, instead of just the site license to where we hope you download it, we actually make it available to everyone. And then also the LTI, if we're talking about online learning, it's really about a couple different standards. It's about having certified LMS integrations, but also can there be an LTI followed about those IMS global standards, and that's different. I mean, ReadSpeaker was ahead of the game because of our foresight to support LMS integrations, and then supporting that.

Also, I think our voices are better, and when we launch our next level of voices, there's nothing that drives me more crazy to where you say that you're supporting students who have attentional issues, and you're providing 1995 voices. I'm not saying Read & Write Gold is doing that, but you want to have a great learning experience, or a great listening experience, and that is one of the things that we think is, really working hard on. - Well, and again, when we talked about our internal linguistics team and we talked about being able to make changes very quickly, we also think about, if you're at an institution and say you have an acronym for your institution and you want that read out every time that acronym shows up, those are things that we can make changes to very quickly. And so the, owning the whole process, as Paul mentioned, has many, many benefits. Question from Crystal, "How about phone app use in Brightspace?" - Wait a second, are we talking, I can't think of the name of the app. What was the question again? - "How about phone app use in Brightspace?" - So if it's phone app, excuse me, Brightspace is mobile responsive.

If you're using the Spark app, I think it's the Spark app, we are not integrated into that. However, I would ask Brightspace to work with ReadSpeaker. We know that native apps, not just mobile responsive, but your IOS and your Android app, we know more students are utilizing that. Brightspace is a little different because their platform was built on mobile responsive on the newest launch of it, so ReadSpeaker works great in that, whether it's HTML or even documents. However, the Spark app is one of those next tier integrations with us hopefully, so don't forget to ask for that.

- Lyle also wanted just to make a comment, "One significant plus of using ReadSpeaker over Read Write is how when students are testing with Respondus Lockdown Browser, ReadSpeaker works period, whereas Read Write is not seamless and requires learning other limited features and functions." - Sure. - And again, part of something that we've done last year was we've been working with a lot of the proctoring solutions out there to test compatibility to make sure that we are working well with other third party vendors, such as Respondus or Examity or ProctorU or Proctorio. And so we are, we want to make sure that that user experience is seamless, so we've been proactive in reaching out to those proctoring solutions to make sure that we can test our solution, with our solution. So thank you, Lyle.

Cathy and Crystal both were asking about Pulse app. I'm not familiar with that, Paul, are you? - Oh, did I call it Spark? I meant Pulse, I got the name wrong, I apologize, so- - 'Cause Crystal's laughing at you. (laughs) - I knew it was something like that. Let D2L know, say, "Hey, we'd love to see ReadSpeaker in that," and Kathy and I will get on a call.

Often, and I'll give a perfect example. When Kathy and I were meeting with them on Monday, and as we're always building out our next level of integration and improving the experience, often, they come back to us and say, "Hey, we heard from our mutual clients," and people probably heard me say "dome setting," or the dome. That was not, I mean, I asked for it, but it really came from our joint clients.

And D2L listens, and ReadSpeaker is willing to proactively support and launch that. So when Pulse, wait, what was it, Spark, it was Pulse? - Pulse. - My bad, my bad, my bad. So as we're doing that, I wonder where Spark came from, but Pulse, that's something that we would love to be integrated and supported in. - Yeah, and I think you mentioned a good segue into, LMSs listen to their clients, especially if you're bringing up certain things that are causing you issue or really is missing and is important to benefit your students, and I think a good example that has just come out lately is Canvas extending the original quizzes for a while, because they know that there's not that complete parity with the new quizzes and that sort of thing.

So again, it takes sometimes the clients also reaching out to those LMSs when there's a feature change or some sort of integration cohesiveness that needs to happen because that matters to them. So we, my role at ReadSpeaker is to work with those LMS companies and try to make sure that our integration continues and is enriched and deepened, but it also takes the other side too, sometimes, to get some companies moving a little bit faster. All right, I don't have any more questions.

I do want to mention, on this slide has both my and Paul's email addresses, as well as our education website, and I do want to make sure that you guys are aware, we did mention Quality Matters. We have an upcoming webinar with them on February 2nd at one o'clock Eastern Time, and if you follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, more information and including registration link will be provided in the next week. So we hope that you will make time to register for that event, even if you can't necessarily attend at that time, you'll receive a recording of it afterwards.

Great information, it's a round table discussion with both K12 and higher ed clients, Virtual Arkansas and Laredo College, and also with our team members from Quality Matters. So I really do encourage you to sign up for that webinar. Again, it's a free webinar, and get some great information from that team, 'cause again, Quality Matters is really about providing that proactive online quality good design, and I think that they have got some great information to share. - Also, we're gonna be at CEC in Orlando and ATIA in Orlando this month.

So if you're attending any of those events, stop by and see us at the ReadSpeaker booth. - And in early February, we'll be at TCEA in Dallas, so also stop by there if you're going to be at that event. So, again, thank you, everyone, for attending. Again, with any type of technology, there's always a little bit of hiccups, so apologies, but you will receive a recording of the webinar, as well as links to those videos that did not want to play during the webinar. And again, we hope that enjoyed it.

I hope you walked away with some more information, and again, we appreciate your time today. - Thank you, everyone.

2022-01-20 22:54

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