Digital Directions #2 – My Top Picks

What the literature (both printed and online) is telling us

Research in Learning Technology

Research in Learning Technology is an international journal of the Association for Learning Technology, and is available free and online. All articles to Research in Learning Technology are posted online immediately as they are ready for publication. The journal aims to raise the profile of research in learning technology, encouraging research that informs good practice and contributes to the development of policy.

An article from the latest volume of Research in Learning Technology that caught my eye related to the use of Facebook by students labeled as dyslexic in the UK. Barden, O. (2014). Facebook levels the playing field: Dyslexic students learning through digital literacies. Research in Learning Technology, 22.

Closing The Gap Solutions

Closing The Gap Solutions,, is published six times a year as an online resource. It highlights assistive technology products appropriate for people with disabilities and explains how this technology is being implemented in education, rehabilitation and vocational settings around the world. Sign up for a free two day subscription trial via

Assistive Technology Resources Roundup

Assistive Technology Resources Roundup, via, provides “websites, blogs, articles, and videos that provide information and tools related to understanding, selecting, and assessing assistive technology and accessible instructional materials”

Technology implementation

Text to Speech

The ability to access text via text to speech technology on a computer or mobile device may seem simple enough, but for some students the combination of text appearing on a screen together with the device speaking that text aloud can be truly transformative. Students who may benefit from text to speech technology include students with low vision and who are blind, students who are not reading in their first language, students struggling with reading, and students with cognitive load challenges.

Where can you find out more about text to speech:

Mac OS — Text to Speech:

Windows – Narrator

Mac iOS — Speak Selection

Android — Text to Speech

Examples of text to speech tools and programs across technology platforms.

iOS apps focusing on text to speech:
Text to speech on an Android device:

NaturalReader Text to Speech

Voxdox — Text To Speech Pro

IVONA Text-to-Speech

Talk — Text to Voice

Accessibility, text-to-speech, & voice settings –

Text to speech software:


Texthelp Read&Write






Ghost Reader Plus

Screenreaders & other text to speech applications:

Text to speech in an exam situation? Auckland’s Sacred Heart College is using this technology to provide a ‘fair and equal test’

Innovations and possibilities

Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR), where the physical, real-world is augmented or supplemented by technology generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data, is increasingly being explored in education to support teaching and learning.

Augmented Reality in Education

Augmented Reality: 32 Resources About Using it Education

See my YouTube Playlist relating to Augmented Reality

We are only scratching the surface of the possibilities this technology provides for students with diverse learning needs.

McMahon, D. D. (2014). Augmented Reality on Mobile Devices to Improve the Academic Achievement and Independence of Students with Disabilities. Available from

That’s it from me. Until next time keep seeing the possibilities,

Cheers, Greg.


Previous Digital Directions

Digital Directions #1

Digital Directions – Top Picks from Greg O’Connor also appears in the newsletter for the New South Wales State Chapter of the Australian Association of Special Education.

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About Greg O'Connor

“I firmly believe that saying “we’ve always done it this way around here” is dangerous! I enjoy disrupting that way of thinking and watching the excitement of teachers being re-motivated. Adding new technologies into the mix is powerful in driving that positive change. Driving that positive disruption”

Greg has been actively involved in supporting the learning of students with diverse learning needs for over 30 years. During this time he has worked as a classroom teacher, school executive, district consultant, regional manager with the New South Wales Department of Education and Training, and Professional and Consultancy Manager at Spectronics.

Greg is committed to exploring the possibilities that exist for ALL students through the use of technology, wherever and however teaching and learning takes place.

Greg presents at national and international conferences, and provides training and consultancy across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. He is a Google Certified Educator, Certified Apple Trainer, and a Certified Texthelp Trainer. Greg is a committee member of the NSW Australian Association of Special Education, and is a member of the editorial committee for the AASE Journal, Special Education Perspectives. He recently became a member of the International Committee of the Inclusive Learning Network of ISTE.

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