Snapverter: the power of accessibility at your fingertips

A buddy of mine, Paul D’Hondt showed me how to use Snapverter with Read and Write for Google .  We were given a hard copy graphic organizer to complete, and Paul used Snapverter to create an electronic copy of the document which we then completed and shared in Google Drive.  I am totally excited about this tool and what it can do to build independence in students for reading tasks.  Since then, I have used it on numerous occasions!  And now, every student in our District has access to both Read & Write for Google AND Snapverter!

So what happens when a teacher distributes a hard copy of a story, article, graphic organizer, etc…and the student would benefit from a highlighting tool, text to speech, notes, etc…?

Well, once upon a time, a student would have to go down to the Core Resource room, have the item scanned and then converted to an accessible document.   OR, the teacher would have had to go to the Core Resource room to arrange for the document to be scanned.  Typically, this did not always guarantee that the text was completely accessible as this is usually dependent on the original document.

With Smartverter, a student can have an accessible copy of that text within minutes–without the teacher having to do a single thing.  A student can simply take a picture with the Google Drive app using a smartphone or iPad and done.  Though the iAnnotate iPad app provides the similar ability to convert PDFs, Snapverter works with the accessibility features of Read and Write for Google and makes it so much better. It’s also more cost effective.

Here’s the description given by TextHelp:

Snapverter uses smart OCR technology to recognize text from worksheets, handouts, book pages, and other printed materials.  It can also convert Bookshare® digital publications in DAISY format to accessible EPUB files, which can then be read aloud with Read&Write for Google.

Snapverter can also handle documents with embedded photos, charts and diagrams that are integrated seamlessly in the converted PDF.

Think about the impact such autonomy can have for students in the classroom!  Before the teacher finishes distributing all of the handouts, a student could have already uploaded it.  And although Google has come a long way with OCR technology, Snapverter still seems to do a better job.

Are you as excited as I am yet???

Now, it does seem complicated at first, so here are two quick videos which you can view at your own pace.  Or, show your students the videos and have them figure it out (and help you!)

First you will need to download Smartverter from the Google Chrome Store.  If you are in my District, you can access it in the YCDSBK12 Apps.  Please note, that you will need to have already installed Read & Write for Google in order for this to work effectively.

And here’s a quick video to show you what to do to get that hard copy into your Google Drive:

Alternatively, you can take any image saved on your laptop or in Google Drive, Upload it to your Snapverter Folder, wait a few minutes, and Voila!  I really love this option when I am assigning infographics to my students!

Here’s a video from TextHelp to show you how to do this.

Once it’s in your Google Drive, you can use all of the features of Read and Write for Google.

Talk about the transformational power of technology: here is a time in education where some of our students who need support with reading text can literally get it in minutes!

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