Part A--Scanners, Conversion


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PART 1 of 4 for an Assistive Technology PD workshop

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Part A--Scanners, Conversion

  1. 1. Eric G. M. Woo
  2. 2. (1) Quick Access to Portable Documents • Portable Scanners (No, you don’t have to lug around an All-In-One) • Scanning Pens (Yes! These really exist!) • iPads, Galaxy Tabs and Android Phones, oh my! • Cloud Storage (Truly the wave of the future!) (2) Converting Files to Kurzweil • KESI Virtual Printer (This will be one of the most popular tools) • OCR Conversion (Turning a scanned image into text)
  3. 3. • For a variety of reasons, students may need access to all sorts of documents and files • Especially, they will need to be able to access electronic files easily and efficiently Before we start, students with which exceptionalities do you think would benefit the most from this sort of technology? Communication Physical Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Physical Disability Language Impairment Low Vision Learning Disability
  4. 4. • 1920s: Early telephotography input devices are invented, involving a photodetector sending analog AM signals through telephone lines • 1957: US National Bureau of Standards invents a true image scanner, using a drum scanner using photomultiplier tubes • 1976: Ray Kurzweil invents device that could scan text and convert it to speech; incorporates the first flatbed scanner • 1985: Sheet-fed scanners introduced by Microtek, first to be mass-produced • 1990s: Flatbed scanners become affordable and common
  5. 5. What Are They? • Portable scanners are an effective way to turn a paper document into an electronic version • Many companies offer convenient hand-held versions that can be used like a “magic wand” • Other, slightly bulkier versions are up-right devices resembling mini- printers (image from (image from
  6. 6. Why Do We Care? • Portable scanners can be used to quickly scan handwritten notes for students who have poor fine motor skills and cannot otherwise take notes easily in class • Can be used to create electronic copies that can be resized for low-vision students (image from (image from
  7. 7. Example: Hipstreet Handi-Scan Portable Scanner • Specifications • 300, 600 dpi • Windows/Mac OS X Compatible • USB 2.0 connectivity • MicroSD slot • Includes OCR software (More on that later!) • Dimensions: 25.5 cm x 3 cm x 2.5 cm •Cost: $89.99 Source:
  8. 8. What Are They? • Scanning Pens are similar to Portable Scanners, except these are smaller-scale devices meant to scan words and sentences (image from (image from http://www.impress-
  9. 9. Why Do We Care? • Scanning Pens can be used by students who have poor fine motor skills on a variety of note-taking activities, such as when doing research • Can be used by students with learning disabilities affecting receptive language and language processing to take quick notes, look up words, etc. (image from (image from http://www.impress-
  10. 10. Example IRISPen Express 6 Pen Scanner • Specifications • Windows/Mac OS X Compatible • USB connectivity • Built-in OCR functions recognizing 128 languages • Dimensions: 5” x 1” •Cost: $129.00 Source:
  11. 11. … your first instinct may be to confiscate them! But they can be an invaluable tool! Source: Source: Phonegg.comSource:
  12. 12. What Are They? • These devices certainly need no introduction in our classroom! • Our students are bringing in cellphones and iPads with increasing regularity • Many of these devices have cameras and can act as portable scanners! (Image source:
  13. 13. Example TinyScan Pro • iOS App • Turns iPhones and iPads into scanners • Automatically detects document dimensions • PDF output • Colour, Grayscale, B/W • Cost: $4.99 Source: iTunes App Store
  14. 14. The Cloud is what binds everything together, representing the ultimate in portability! Read this article on HowStuffWorks about Cloud Storage first!
  15. 15. • With common access to WiFi networks, using Cloud Storage provides a fantastic way to access all of the documents that you could ever need, eTexts, assignments, etc., without worrying about physical storage space on your end! • Popular (and FREE!) Cloud Storage services: • Google Drive • Dropbox • Microsoft SkyDrive • iCloud (requires an Apple device) • Great for students AND teachers!
  16. 16. On the discussion board, discuss the pros and cons of incorporating either portable scanners, portable pens, Smartphones or all three into your special education department. How can such devices be used most effectively in your classroom? Are the devices and solutions worth the expense? Post in the “Scanning Devices” view.
  17. 17. What is Kurzweil 3000? • A suite of assistive technology programs for people with learning disabilities, particularly focusing on reading and writing • Notably, it is able to read aloud any electronic text sources, producing audible files Communication Physical Learning Disability Blind and Low Vision Students with which exceptionalities would benefit the most from this sort of technology?
  18. 18. • However, files need to be converted before they can be most effectively used by Kurzweil 3000 • There are two situations you may encounter when trying to convert files to Kurzweil 3000 • You are using a print document, in which case you must first scan the document and analyse it using Optical Character Recognition conversion • You are already working with an electronic document, in which case you can use the KESI Virtual Printer
  19. 19. • Kurzweil 3000 is unable to detect and dictate text that is part of an image file – for example, scanned image files of books • In order to use Kurzweil to dictate text from a scanned image, it must first be analysed by an OCR program • Such software scans an image for anything that resembles text, and converts it into text that is selectable
  20. 20. • Most portable scanners and pen scanners have built-in OCR software! • However, there are a number of excellent and FREE OCR software available for download • Microsoft OneNote and Microsoft Document Imaging • Free OCR (Online tool) • Software for purchase is also available, which tends to be more reliable than free options • OmniPage ($149.99) (Source: • Acrobat XI Standard (~$120 US, Student/Teacher Edition) (Source:
  21. 21. • KESI Virtual Printer is a printer driver that is able to take any text file in any format and convert it to a file that Kurzweil 3000 is able to access, read and dictate • Click Here for a guide on KESI Virtual Printer • Click Here to download the KESI Virtual Printer installer for Win7
  22. 22. • Search for a simple image on Google Images that includes mostly text – say, a book cover or a short passage • Download and install one of the FREE OCR programs • Use the program (or OneNote if you have access to it) to convert the file to a text-selectable file • Download and install the KESI Virtual Printer driver • Open the converted image file • Select Print, and select the KESI Virtual Printer to create a Kurzweil 3000 file • Download and install a Free Trial of Kurzweil 3000 • Access your newly converted file using Kurzweil 3000 • Upload your converted files and results to the “KESI Virtual Printer” view!
  23. 23. – Using A Pen Scanner Apple In Education Cambium Learning Technologies (Owns Kurzweil) eHow – The History of Computer Scanners Helium – History of the scanner How Stuff Works – Cloud Storage iTunes App Store KESI Virtual Printer Guide – The Best Portable Document Scanners Samsung (Education) School District No. 71, Vancouver Island, Technology Blog Top 5 Free OCR Software Tools To Convert Images Into Text