Tool Evaluation 7 (Tool Presentation)

Word Talk

wordtalk-plugin

http://www.wordtalk.org.uk/home/


Overview:

Type of software: downloadable audio software plugin

Primary user: anyone with access to a computer and Microsoft Word

Appropriate audience: students learning to read and write, English language learners, a person with a reading disability, or anyone who could benefit from reinforcement of both print and oral reading.

Price: free!

Features:

  • Need Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Word (2007-2011) and Computer Synthetic Voice (SAPI 4 or 5) to download
  • Converts text to speech
  • Added in toolbar in a Word document
  • Speaks entire document, paragraph, sentence, word in a text (as long as it is copy and pasted or written in Word)
  • Text is highlighted as the tool reads it
  • Change the voice and speed of the tool to the user’s liking
  • Change the color of the highlighting

Tool bar features and explanations:

wordtalk-toolbar

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 1.30.58 PM
Screenshot from my Mac from WordTalk website

 

Click here to watch a quick Tutorial video of how WordTalk works.

Evaluation:

Age appropriateness: This tool is appropriate for students in elementary school, up to adults of any age with access to a computer and has Microsoft Word downloaded on their computer. This tool can be used to help young elementary students learn the sounds of letters and words while physically seeing the letter or word highlighted (adult help with directions will most likely be needed). This tool can help English language learners of all ages as well. There really is no age limitation to this tool because it can assist anyone who wants to listen to text rather than read it themselves.

Ease of use: This tool is simple to use; the user has to download this software to their computer and it will show up under the “Add-ins” tab in Microsoft Word. The tool bar is fairly easy to use and there are explanations of what each button does on the WordTalk website.

Strengths:

  • Extensive toolbar
  • Easy to access in Word documentMicrosoft_Word_logo
  • Can read any text in English
  • Ability to adjust the voice and speed that it reads
  • Highlighted text
  • No cost

Limitations:

  • Computer must have Microsoft Windows and Word installed
  • This software does not work on Mac OS X, iPad, Android devices, or Chromebook
  • If text is not found online, the user (or teacher) will have to type the text into a Word document (time consuming)

Applications Within Education:

A lot of times students are interested in reading a certain text that is above their reading capabilities, so when they read it, they are more focused on decoding the words rather than comprehending what is being read, which leads to frustration and the inability to recall or retell what they read. With WordTalk, the students could focus more on the meaning because the text is being read directly to them. If the text is digital, the teacher will just have to copy and paste the text into a word document, but if the text is from a book, the teacher will need to type it into a Word document so WordTalk can work.

WordTalk can be very beneficial for English Language Learners. The teacher could type up vocabulary words into a Word document and the ELL student could listen to WordTalk dictate these words and he or she can practice saying them while seeing how they are spelled. This will eliminate the problem of the teacher having to spend time helping the ELL student pronounce new vocabulary words while managing a classroom full of students. Instead, the ELL student can practice on his or her own with the help of WordTalk.

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