2021 – Day 9 of Google – Accessibility

On the ninth day of Google, we will look into some accessibility features. We are all learners and we all learn differently. Sometimes that means that information needs to be available in different formats or appearances. Did you know…


Voice typing in Google Docs has a been around for a couple of years now. However, an aha moment happened for me a couple of weeks ago. We have students who speak English as a second language. For any student that is struggling, they could use voice typing to speak their thoughts in their native language, then use the translation feature to translate into English. Now, I recognize that things won’t necessarily translate perfectly and I know that some teachers don’t want students to take the easy way out, but there is a time and a place where this could prove helpful. What would the work flow be?

  • Activate ‘voice typing’ under the ‘tools’ menu
  • Change the language in the drop down menu above the microphone button (language that the user would be speaking in)
  • Once content is in the document, the student could then highlight and select ‘translate document’ under the ‘tools’ menu

For those that would like a demo on how to use voice typing, click HERE. Keep in mind that there are several prompts you can give to help with formatting. For example: new paragraph, new line, period (to end sentence), stop listening, etc. For more detailed commands click HERE.

I was speaking with a friend and she was talking about how she worked with someone who was hard of hearing in one ear. In many cases, this person is unable to comprehend everything that is said in a staff meeting. This person could open up a google doc and turn on voice typing while the speaker is talking. Perhaps the person who is hard of hearing would be able to read the content in the google doc (keeping in mind that she would have to sit close to the front to have the computer pick up the words). Another word of caution would be to let the speaker know ahead of time so that they are aware that the words being spoken are in fact being translated.


I was very appreciative of an accessibility session that I attended a couple of weeks ago from Nicole Cassamassino. She spoke about how many students could benefit from using ‘select to speak’ and ‘dictation’ features built right into the Chromebook. These are a great starting point to help students, and it is free. Students have the ability to customize their own settings on their Chromebook. Under accessibility, students can choose to:

  • Select to Speak
  • Dictation
  • High-contrast mode
  • Full-screen magnifier
  • Automatic clicks

How to activate? Watch the gif below.

For ‘select to speak’, students have the ability to highlight a certain section of content on the chromebook and have the chromebook read it to the student. Students can change the voice, change the speed, and change the highlighted word color.

For ‘dictation’, students have the ability to speak their voice and have the chromebook translate into words. This feature can be helpful when needing to add content in a google slide presentation.

I have learned that by turning both of these features on in accessibility menu, their icons appear at the bottom of the chromebook. When a student wants to use a particular feature, they select the icon and away they go. Quick use with a click of the trackpad.


The image below was shared by the Google for Education team, giving some short cuts on turning on/off a feature in accessibility.

If you have any questions, you know where to find me.

And that is my Spiel…

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