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. Imagine having to go to the library and look things up in books!
While we may chuckle at stories that begin with “back in my day,” these narratives do hold a kernel of truth. Technology has changed education, expanding learning opportunities. A powerful example comes from the implementation of text to speech, or TTS, to empower students to use audio in studying.
TTS has simplified the process of reading for learners of all ages and backgrounds. This technology creates ‘synthetic’ or man-made voices from strings of text, and is often used to complement digital content by reading text out loud. This helps many students — who are expected to gain 85% of their knowledge by listening — better comprehend the information on the pages of their books and learn new concepts with ease.
Let’s dive further into how you can use audio to make studying more efficient and enjoyable, with the help of text to speech.
5 Ways to Use Audio in Studying
Pairing voice with text respects a concept known as Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which embraces the idea of giving students various ways to consume content. We also know from the learning pyramid that the more ways a person interacts with content (reading, listening, interacting, teaching, etc.), the better they assimilate the concepts. TTS adds diversity to your learning methods. By turning text into audio, TTS makes learning more effective and fun.
While audio in studying was once primarily used by people with reading disabilities, students of all ages and abilities are now realizing the benefits of TTS for general learning. It can be applied to many types of coursework — such as writing, math, science, assessments, and research — whether they’re reading for school, their career, or leisure.
Here are five of the best applications of audio in studying, using ReadSpeaker’s text-to-speech tools.
1. Stream your lessons.
Many students have busy lifestyles that don’t mesh with spending hours in a study room or behind a desk. When you’re constantly juggling other priorities like extracurricular activities, work, or a rich social life, it can be difficult to make time to sift through a textbook or click through a 20-slide presentation.
With ReadSpeaker, you can stream your lessons to instantly 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’re on the bus or walking to class. You’ll be able to get through a lot of content without having to stop and look at your screen, as your TTS tool will read out loud the information you need.
2. Alleviate typing difficulties.
While you may have an advanced vocabulary, typing difficult words when you’re doing homework or writing an essay requires different skills than saying them out loud. After all, words like “Wednesday,” “facade,” and “colonel” aren’t spelled like they sound. Spelling out long, technical terms — like “eukaryote” or “monosaccharide” for biology class — can stump any adult.
Avoiding hard-to-spell terms is the best way to avoid errors—a tactic that may seem to work but that actually makes your comprehension appear below grade level when completing assignments. However, demonstrating the full breadth of your vocabulary can be simpler than you think.
You can alleviate the demands of typing by implementing the inverse of text to speech: speech to text. ReadSpeaker’s dictation tool helps you convert what you say into text, so the most difficult typing job is complete. Grammar and punctuation can then be edited to perfect your assignment.
3. Write research papers.
Using speech to text is only one way to utilize assistive technology to improve your papers. Once you’ve written a paper, you can upload your work and listen to it being read aloud to check for clumsy sentences, flow issues, and other potential mistakes.
To further support students, ReadSpeaker allows you to make annotations as you use audio in studying.
4. Improve your vocabulary.
Decoding—the ability to sound out written words— is an essential reading skill. Educational technology tools like ReadSpeaker support decoding development by pairing text to speech with highlighting capabilities. When ReadSpeaker reads your content out loud, it highlights the corresponding text on your screen so you can connect spellings to pronunciations (and vice versa).
You can also use ReadSpeaker’s Translate and Word Lookup tools to see and hear translations and definitions, which improves your understanding and expands your vocabulary.
5. Eliminate distractions.
Distractions never feel more prominent than when you’re trying to focus on your studies. However, when you use audio in studying, you can put on your headphones, read along on your screen as you listen, and drown out the world. Audio makes your learning experience fully immersive.
By using the Simple View tool, you can display content in a plain text format to simplify what’s on your screen. You can also use Page Mask, Screen Mask, and Reading Ruler to eliminate distractions.
Where can you find text-to-speech tools?
You can often find TTS tools for free in the accessibility settings of your device. But remember—you get what you pay for. The quality of the voice, as well as the breadth of the features available, are important criteria in choosing the right tool.
More extensive tools such as ReadSpeaker don’t use robotic voices and allow you to create a much more personalized and effective reading experience — one in which you can choose your desired font, colors, contrast, reading speed, voice, and more.
Universities can support audio in studying for all of their students by investing in advanced TTS software and integrating it into the school’s virtual education system, which makes all coursework speech-enabled. Or, individuals can have their own personal version of this software using tools like ReadSpeaker TextAid.
Why not give it a try? Sign up for a free trial of ReadSpeaker TextAid, a personal reading, writing, and studying tool, and see how using audio in studying improves your learning experience.