Digital Accessibility Tools
Texthelp's New OrbitNote Adds Accessibility Functions to PDF Files
- By Kristal Kuykendall
Texthelp, a provider of literacy and accessibility technology, has launched a new web app called OrbitNote that adds accessibility features to PDFs, including the ability to type, highlight, and leave voice memos on documents, the company said in a news release.
“OrbitNote will allow users … to create an accessible, dynamic, and collaborative space that works for everyone,” Texthelp said.
With the growth of education technology and its myriad uses in classrooms, accessibility solutions for digital learners have become a key focus for Texthelp, whose suite of products includes literacy support tool Read&Write, digital math tool EquatiO, WriQ, Fluency Tutor, ReachDeck, and SpeechStream. OrbitNote is also compatible with Read&Write and EquatIO, the company said. A 30-day free trial of OrbitNote is available.
OrbitNote works with Google Classroom and Schoology, the company said, and over the next several months, Texthelp will expand support for additional learning management systems such as Canvas and Brightspace, according to the news release.
Key features of OrbitNote include:
- Makes PDFs more accessible and actionable: OrbitNote provides accessibility tools such as text-to-speech, highlighting, and vocabulary support across all class content. If a PDF is image-only or unreadable, OrbitNote has a built-in scanner that will find the text and read it aloud without having to leave the PDF.
- Provides multiple ways to demonstrate knowledge and give feedback: OrbitNote allows students to express their understanding in multiple ways. Users can type or draw their thoughts on the page, or add shapes and images to their work. Users can also highlight the key points in a comprehension piece or when studying. In the classroom, both teachers and students can use their voices to share ideas and feedback.
- Boosts productivity, connections, and collaboration: Teachers are able to leave a quick voice note for students, providing feedback and identifying areas for improvement mid-project, rather than waiting for students to turn in the final piece. Students can use a range of tools to ask teachers for help and garner support before problems arise. Any project can become a digital space for working together, allowing collaboration between teachers and students, as well as group projects.
“We have seen education change drastically in the past two years. Many subjects and tasks that relied on pen and paper are now becoming digitized,” said Texthelp CEO Martin McKay. “I am excited for OrbitNote as it will help educators and students continue to collaborate in this new digital space. The tool will also be very helpful in regards to accessibility and eliminate barriers that often arise while using PDF files.”
For more information on OrbitNote, visit www.texthelp.com/products/orbitnote/.
Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can
be reached at [email protected].