Four ways to kick start your new school year

We know that you’ve spent the majority of your summer vacation planning your new school year. During that planning, we’re sure that one thing that came up over and over again was how to make sure everyone in your classroom can access your resources and learning materials. Whether that’s digital files or paper resources, it’s often tricky to make sure they can be read and accessed by each different learner in your class.

While you’ve been making sure you’ve covered all bases during your planning the year ahead, here at Texthelp we’ve been working to make sure all of our popular education products can provide you the support you need to create accessible, dynamic, and collaborative resources and workspaces.

Here are four ways you can bolster your efforts this school year with our education tools.

Read about: Read&Write | OrbitNote | WriQ | Equatio

1. Make Google Slides even more collaborative

Google slides are a great classroom resource, whether you’re using them to present new topics and lessons, or as a collaborative space for students to work together. One of the most requested Read&Write feature enhancements we’ve gotten is adding Voice Notes to Google Slides.

Now that this is available you can pop in a recording of up to one minute into the slide of your choice. The voice note will appear as a comment in the slide. You can use this to add additional instructions for students, or simply give them another medium to understand your instructions. You can also use voice notes to leave students feedback in their own slide deck. Students working together on a slide deck can also use the feature to leave quick comments for each other, or for you.

2. Create more accessible and collaborative PDFs

Here at Texthelp we’ve been working to make sure OrbitNote, our tool that makes PDFs more accessible and actionable, can provide you the support you need to create an accessible, dynamic, and collaborative space that works for everyone.

Check out this recent blog for a full rundown of all the ways we’ve supercharged OrbitNote to make sure the premium offering is supporting you and your students in the best way possible this school year. This includes:

  1. Support for OrbitNote users in the D2L Brightspace LMS
  2. The ability to add images to your PDFs
  3. Digital signatures in PDFs
  4. Split and merge your PDF documents
  5. Embed your OrbitNote annotations

3. A power-up for student writing

We’ve spent some time working on WriQ this summer to make sure it’s the powerful tool both you and your students need.

We’ve really centered a lot of the work around the student, and their experience with WriQ. The latest updates really help them to get the most out of the tool, without needing teacher intervention.

Students now have access to their own custom dashboard where they can view analytics from all of their scored docs and see a data chart showing their progress over time.

We’ve also added a Self Assess Mode to WriQ. This means that students can now check their work for mistakes before they submit it to you. Students can toggle this feature on to give their work a final check before they hand it in.

Reluctant writers can now get a head start on their writing tasks. WriQ now includes an extensive bank of writing prompts to help generate writing task ideas or inspire your students to write. Whether you have students that enjoy creative writing or not, this WriQ update is going to help their writing follow a theme and flow and improve their WriQ score as they go. All the details on how to use this feature are in this recent blog.

4. Robust support in your math classrooms

Now that math can compete on a similar level in terms of tech usage, we wanted to make sure we’re supporting you and your students with Equatio in the most comprehensive way possible.

Equatio already integrates with a lot of Learning management systems, but during the summer months we worked with Coursera to make sure there’s now a seamless integration available for that LMS. Partnering with Coursera means that users can create STEM and math content easily right inside their own platform. The integration is a bit deeper than a standard LTI so when Coursera users need to create math content, they can simply click on the Math icon within their Rich Content Toolbar and Equatio users can access lots of UDL input methods that Equatio has to offer.

Lots of you create and use awesome mathspaces. And we wanted to build a bank of these and share them with your peers. That’s why there is now the ability for you to share your mathspaces with us, and in turn we can share them with others through the Texthelp Academy.

And to make sure you’re getting the most out of Equatio mathspace, we’ve also made some enhancements to that area. We’ve added lots of new shapes and the ability for teachers to use the lock and clone feature. This is great when you’re teaching your small groups or rotations. It means that you can work on a mathspace with the five or six students around your device, rather than having to share the mathspace out to every student.

We’ve also been working with Respondus to integrate Equatio with their Lockdown Browser. Respondus is widely considered one of the most popular Lockdown Browsers on the market today. Because the browser is locked down, we are typically unable to run Chrome Extensions through them. We’ve been working with the great people at Respondus to whitelist Equatio for Desktop to allow students to use it over the top of the Lockdown Browser.

Making sure our tools are up to scratch

We’ve also been doing some housekeeping over the summer months and have added some additional enhancements to our tools. You can find all of these enhancements on our Academy Product Update pages for Read&Write, OrbitNote, WriQ, and Equatio.