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Reading Comprehension sites/apps

Recently, five links to sites and apps to help kids with reading comprehension appeared at Free Technology for Teachers.

Here are some of their top picks, along with mine:

Rewordify: Rewordify is a free website that translates English texts into easier English.

From frustration… …to understanding
You will soon speak more eloquently about a greater number of contentious contemporary issues due to your erudition. You will soon speak more beautifully about more argument-causing modern topics due to your (amazing knowledge).

Speak It is a Google Chrome extension that reads aloud the contents of a web page.

Readworks provides research-based units, lessons, and authentic, leveled non-fiction and literary passages directly to educators online, for free, to be shared broadly. The ReadWorks curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the standards of all 50 states. Most importantly, ReadWorks is faithful to the most effective research-proven instructional practices in reading comprehension.

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3D Printing Food

A company in Germany, Biozoon, is printing food suitable for patients with dysphagia on 3d printers. The food is solid and can be modified with spices and colors. Once eaten, it melts in the mouth, allowing people who need to have a modified diet for swallowing to eat it.

I have a fear that it would taste a bit like flavored cardboard.

More here.

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Webnesday

Good stuff happening on the internet this week in speech pathology:

Video

The future of aphasia communication

TED Talk given by Mary Lou Jepsen: Could future devices read images from our brains?

Starting at 5:33, the most exciting part for people with aphasia. Taken from the transcript at TED. You have to watch the video to see why this is so exciting because the transcript doesn’t show the results of the computer’s interpretation of neural activity.

Next let me share with you one other experiment, this from Jack Gallant’s lab at Cal Berkeley. They’ve been able to decode brainwaves into recognizable visual fields. So let me set this up for you. In this experiment, individuals were shown hundreds of hours of YouTube videos while scans were made of their brains to create a large library of their brain reacting to video sequences. Then a new movie was shown with new images, new people, new animals in it, and a new scan set was recorded. The computer, using brain scan data alone, decoded that new brain scan to show what it thought the individual was actually seeing. On the right-hand side, you see the computer’s guess, and on the left-hand side, the presented clip. This is the jaw-dropper. We are so close to being able to do this. We just need to up the resolution. And now remember that when you see an image versus when you imagine that same image, it creates the same brain scan.

This is incredible. Could we train a machine to interpret thoughts into images? And then to interpret images into words? Could we make that machine small and inexpensive? This has been the trajectory of all technology. Soon people with aphasia are going to be communicating without speech therapy if this technology or a similar one becomes widely available. Technology is replacing the field of speech pathology, and that is exciting because it means that more people will be able to communicate well.