Tips for Creating Accessible Online Learning Environments

Ensuring that learning is accessible for all students is critical in the online environment. Learn about some accessibility features of Chrome and G Suite tools.

Google Docs

Ways to make your Google Docs accessible:

  1. Use Headings

  2. Add Alt Text to Images

  3. Clearly Describe Hyperlinks

  4. Add Bullets and Numbered Lists

  5. Use Tables

  6. Create a Table of Contents


Grackle Docs is a free and easy-to-use Google Docs add-on. It outlines what changes you need to make in your document to make it more accessible. The add-on will help you generate docs that can be read by a screen reader while making better-structured documents overall. In addition to checking a Google Doc’s accessibility, the add-on is also a wonderful step-by-step process that teaches accessibility rules and best practices.

Source: Grackle Your Google Docs

Google Slides

Closed Captioning in Google Slides

Closed captioning can help meet different students’ learning styles. It will also support your students who are second language learners. And of course, always providing access for students with disabilities is a must.

  1. Open your presentation in Google Slides. You must be using the Chrome browser.

  2. Click Present.

  3. Click CC to turn on captions.

  4. Begin speaking. As you speak, captions will appear at the bottom of the screen.

Source: Closed Captions in Google Slides

Chrome Apps and Extensions


  • Mercury Reader – This extension makes websites easier to read by removing ads and distractions. Helps students that are easily distracted.

  • BeeLine Reader – This extension creates a more readable version of a website by removing all of the ads. An open dyslexic font is available as well . Read my blog entry about it here.

  • High Contrast - This extension make webpages easier to read by changing the colors to increase contrast, invert the colors, or switch to grayscale.

  • ATbar – This extension provides a toolbar that has many features including color overlays for web pages, a dictionary, text to speech, word prediction, and more.

  • MagicScroll Web Reader – This extension turns web pages into a flippable ebook. This makes it easier to read long articles without being distracted.

  • Magnifying Glass - This extension is a magnifying glass that shows a zoomed image within its radius, without disturbing the rest of the page. Simply press Alt+Z.

  • Stay Focused - This Chrome extension limits the time you spend on each site. This can be a huge help for students with ADHD.

The Immersive Reader chrome extension is a full screen reading experience to increase readability of content. It is designed to support students with dyslexia in the classroom, but can support anyone who wants to make reading on their device easier.

To use with Google Docs, publish the doc to the web.

Reading Comprehension

  • Newsela – This Chrome app features current event articles covering many subjects, each written at five different Lexile levels. With this extension, students can read the same material at an appropriate level for themselves.

  • Read & Write for Google - This extension allows students to hear words, passages, or have whole documents read aloud with easy-to-follow dual color highlighting. Within Google Docs, students can have words and passages read aloud to them. Teachers can get a FREE premium subscription to Read&Write for Google Chrome. To register and activate your subscription, go to after installing the Read&Write for Google Chrome trial.

Text to Speech

  • Announcify - This text to speech tool not only reads a webpage, but also removes distracting elements from the site. The only drawback is the inability to select specific text to read, as the entire page is read aloud.

  • SpeakIt! - This text to speech tool reads any selected text on web pages or PDF’s that are opened in Chrome. Options that can be adjusted include speaking rate and choice of voice.

Speech to Text

  • Voice Recognition - This app allows the user to dictate the text of a document, then save the text to Google Drive or send as an email.

  • Voice to Text Notebook - This app allows the user to to enter text using a microphone. It can also convert audio files to text.

  • VoiceNote - This app is a simple and functional notepad that allows users to type with their voice.

  • Voice typing in Google Docs



Additional Resources


Google Drive

Google Search

Search and navigate the web, open apps, get directions and more, all hands-free.

Get your own copy of "Google Tools for an Inclusive Learning Environment" - Google Doc link