Review: Snapverter

I have previously shared with you all reasons why I love Read&Write for Google in the classroom – I share it with so many people, they should probably give me commission. Recently Texthelp has released Snapverter, an add-on for Read&Write for Google that enhances its capabilities. It too can be found here on the Chrome Webstore.

One of the features of Read&Write was the ability to read aloud text on the web and in documents found in your Google drive, but this feature has limitations. Some documents like pdfs don’t read well if at all, and there is so much more text our students are exposed to than just what we see online.

Snapverter allows you to use your smartphone to take a picture of a text and it will convert it to a pdf that can be read aloud. What this means is, potentially anything can be read aloud to students. Worksheets, posters, notes, books, anything! And everything is done right inside your drive. This means that everything is easily saved and shared.

Being the skeptic I tend to be, and unwilling to promote a product that is not quality, I have tested it out. I took a picture of an old copy of Night, by Elie Wiesel, that I had laying around in my office. Using just the camera function on my phone produced a nice quality photo, but when it went through Snapverter, the recognition was off and fragmented, in many places it broke words into the letters and made the text incomprehensible.

Needless to say I was disappointed, but undeterred. I remembered I have a nice scanning app on my phone CamScanner. This is another product that allows free upgrades for education users, so of course I am going to support them. For more information you can go here. When I used the scanner to take photos of articles I use in my workshops and random textbook pages, Snapverter converted them really well.

I went back and used CamScanner to scan a page from Night. I allowed it to smart enhance the photo which reduced much of the yellowing of the page. Doing it this way, I uploaded the new pdf to my drive and Snapverter handed it really well. There are a few places that still produced errors for example it read tarce instead of farce, and bodies instead of Boches. Despite the errors, this proves to be an invaluable tool.

Currently for individual users this is limited to a trial account only, which means 10 conversions and then limited to 1 a week. I think this is adequate for an average user, because it counts documents and not pages. 

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