Students hear all the time about how technology makes their studies easier. Parents and teachers go on and on about how lucky this generation is to have the Internet, and how when they were kids they had to GO TO THE LIBRARY and look something up in a BOOK!
But there is a level of truth in what they say. Technology is making education easier day by day, bringing more and more ways to study and learn.
One of these tools is what is known as ‘text to speech,’ or TTS. It’s a techy-sounding name for the practice of creating ‘synthetic’ or man-made voices from a string of text. This technology is often used to compliment digital text by reading text out loud. In some educational technology tools this is paired with highlighting so that the text is read out loud while it is followed along with highlighted text.
This practice of pairing voice with text respects a concept known as ‘Universal Design for Learning’, which is a fancy way of saying: the idea of giving students various ways to consume content. We also know from the ‘learning pyramid’ that the more ways you interact with content (reading, listening, interacting, teaching, etc.), the better you assimilate the concepts. Traditionally those with reading challenges have used these types of tools, but students of all sorts are now finding these tools effective for their studies, and a way to make studying more fun!
Text to speech can be used for all types of coursework including, reading for school or leisure, writing, math, assessments, science work, research, note-taking, and studying.
Where Can You Find Text-to-Speech Tools?
You can often find these tools for free on different devices in the accessibility section. However, you get what you pay for, and the quality of the voice as well as the breadth of the tools and how you can use the speech-enabling, are important criteria in choosing the right tool. The more extensive tools, such as ReadSpeaker, do not use robotic voices and allow for creating a much more personalized and effective reading experience where you can choose the font, colors and contrast, reading speed, voice, and more.
Universities can supply this tool for all of their students and integrate it into the school’s virtual education system, which means that all coursework is speech-enabled. Or individuals can have their own personal version using tools like ReadSpeaker TextAid.
How Can You Use TTS for Your Studies?
Here are 5 ways to use ReadSpeaker’s text-to-speech tools to make your studies more enjoyable, effective and improve your results:
1. Streaming Lessons
Stream your lessons to hear an audio version, or download an MP3 file to listen offline. This allows you to multitask and do your reading wherever you are, even if you are on the bus or walking to class, especially when you have a lot of content to get through.
2. Typing Difficulty
By using the dictation tool, your speech is dictated and converted into text. Grammar and punctuation can then be edited.
3. Writing Research Papers
You can upload articles, make annotations, collect and organize highlights, and review writing to check for clumsy sentences and mistakes.
4. Increasing Vocabulary
The Translate and Word Lookup tools can be used to see and hear translations and definitions, improving your understanding, and expanding your vocabulary.
5. Eliminate Distractions
By using the Simple View tool, you can display content in a plain text format. You can also use Page Mask, Screen Mask and Reading Ruler to eliminate distractions.
Why not give it a try? You can sign up for a free trial of ReadSpeaker TextAid, a personal reading, writing, and studying tool, and see how text to speech improves your learning experience.