The tech tool I’d like to share about this week is one that is often used as an assistive technology app for those with special needs. Voice Dream Reader is one of a few assistive tech apps available from the creator, Voice Dream LLC. The basic function of the app is text to speech, along with various features, and it has potential to benefit students with learning disabilities or visual impairments (Ok, 2018).
Voice Dream Reader stands out from other text to speech apps because of its ability to access and read various content that can be downloaded from many different places. Users can have PDFs, Daisy Audio, Daisy Text, Webpages, and more read to them. The app connects with content from Bookshare, a commonly used resource for free audio books for U.S. students with reading disabilities and barriers, as well as Gutenberg, scanned paper documents, and other sources of content. This wide variety of content accessibility and compatible formats makes Voice Dream Reader a more versatile screen reader that can be used for a variety of resources and reading assignments provided by teachers as well as students’ personal reading interests and needs. With this $9.99 app, students could be less likely to have to switch between various text-to-speech apps or screen readers in order to have different material read to them.
Other noteworthy features of Voice Dream Reader include a large selection of both free and premium voices, ability to change voice speed, OCR capabilities, and the capacity to highlight text and create and save annotations. This last feature especially can create more of an engaged and purposeful connection between the text-to-speech function and the user. In addition, it also encourages students to be more involved with text as reading comprehension skills and annotation have become more important and utilized across various classroom content areas in recent years.
Ok, M. W. (2018). Use of iPads as Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities. TechTrends, 62(1), 95–102. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-017-0199-8.