My Simple Show – Presentation Tech Tool

I came across https://www.mysimpleshow.com/  when listening to a podcast from https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/ 

I made a quick video to check out how it works. Here’s the gist. It’s an online platform that converts your PPT or written script into a movie. The software reads your script or PPT and adds the words to a storyboard. The software then reads the words and searches for images that relate to your words and auto-populates the picture part of the storyboard. You can modify sequences and pictures easily throughout the process. Once your text and pictures are set you choose audio features and finishing touches. Audio features on the free version include selecting the type of voice, the speed of the voice, and some background music, for example. The paid version includes the ability to embed subtitles, but I wasn’t able to explore this feature. I could definitely see this working in any class that involves student presentations. You could use it to change up the style of presentations and/or an option for those students who aren’t able to produce oral English yet, or those that are too shy to present. Just another tech tool that could add some extra student engagement into your classroom. Let us know if you have any questions and we’re happy to help you try this out! Thanks for reading! Trish

 

 

Read Aloud Any Text in Mac!

Have you ever wonder what is the use of the “Speech” function in Preview? Well, literally, it can read you the selected text of the document.

 

Why should I listen to a text?

It may because you are tired of reading after a whole day’s work or you just want to try something new. Listen to a text activates a different part of your brain for decoding and comprehension. Listening to something also requires you to be focused in a different way than reading.

Why should my students listen to a text?

Although the computer-generated voice may not be the ideal choice for mimicking, students can adjust the speed, volume, gender and many more features of the sound so that they can follow along.  Also, if you ever have encountered a situation that after a whole unit of study on a certain topic, students still can’t say the key vocabulary out loud – it is reminding you to create more listening and speaking practice opportunities. The Speech function is easy and quick – when switched on from the system setting, the computer can read any selected text in Word, Preview, Browser, etc. It allows students to figure out the pronunciation by themselves in a very short time. Not even necessary to copy, open a dictionary app, paste, click for reading aloud. The keyboard shortcut can make it possible in a second.

How can I enable Speech function?

Step 1: In System Preferences, search Speech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Click on Speech, then enable the function by selecting the box. The default shortcut is Option+Esc, which I personally feel very easy to use. You can change to your preferred combination by clicking on the Change Key button.

Step 3: Select your preferred voice feature. Gender, region, speaking speed are all changeable.

Now, select any text on this page and try it out! Once you press the shortcut to speaking, you can switch to a different app/page and the text does not need to remain selected.

Endnote: If you have a student who struggles to speak any English, show him/her this feature and encourage him/her to use it outside the class. Language production requires a massive amount of input.

Happy reading/listening!

Teach with Real-time Captions in Powerpoint!

If you use Microsoft Powerpoint Online to teach, you NEED to try this feature. What you say in class will be automatically captured and shown on the screen. A good tool to use if you know some students are struggling to understand English instructions.

To use this function,  you have to save your Powerpoint slides in your OneDrive or Sharepoint.

You will then need to change the settings for the slide show:

 

Choose English for both the Spoken language and the Subtitle Language.

You can choose Chinese as well! Just remember to select Chinese for both Spoken and Subtitle language.

Then choose where you want the subtitle to be – below slides works perfectly.

 

 

 

When you present the slides, click the subtitle button down in the left corner:

A confirmation page will show up the first time you use this function. Now anything you say will be transcribed on the screen!

 

Pros:

Scaffold Listening

If you have students who may shut-down for verbal instructions but do just fine with readings, this function may help them to process and decode spoken English.

Student Engagement

The time when Palacios and I accidentally switched it on, the students were amazed by being able to “see” what they hear. They paid close attention to what we said and were definitely cross-referencing that with the captions on the screen.

Easy Set-up

Since every teacher at NCPA has an Office 365 account, this function is ready to use. No need of registering /authorizing/linking your account with another website!

Go Wherever You Need

You may think you will have to stand right next to the computer so that it can pick up your words. However, real-use in the classroom has shown that the computer is able to detect utterance from the other side of the classroom (AQ1). Depending on your own setting, the situation may be slightly different – be flexible.

Cons:

Possible Longer Processing Time

Bilingual students process language in different ways – seeing English words may trigger Chinese translation on their minds. It is possible to cause some students a longer time to fully understand the whole situation because of the bi-sensory circumstance.

Only on Office 365

If you are not a fan of Microsoft Office, or if you prefer to use the app version of Powerpoint, you can’t use this function.

One Mic

You need to make sure you are the only person talking otherwise the subtitle will not make sense. Your computer is very sensitive to noise. It also means that if a student answers a question in English, Powerpoint can help to transcribe it.

 

Give it a try to see if it works for your class!

 

Acknowledge:

Thanks to @Palacios to notice this Powerpoint feature!

Resources:

Present with real-time, automatic captions or subtitles in PowerPoint