Part B--Reading, Writing, Dictating


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Part 2 of 4 of an Assistive Technology workshop.

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Part B--Reading, Writing, Dictating

  1. 1. Reading? Writing? Really? Assistive Technology for High School Students… more tips for secondary teachers Liz Hashim - program resource teacher
  2. 2. At a glance: 1. Reading and Writing Assistive  Kurzweil 3000  WordQ 2. Dictating and Listening Assistive  Dragon Naturally Speaking 3. Audibooks/Textbooks Assistive  AERO(Alternative Education Resources for Ontario)/W. Ross MacDonald
  3. 3. Reading and Writing Assistive
  4. 4.  Kurzweil is a text-to-speech, literacy software program that supports struggling readers and writers. It provides support in the areas of reading, writing and test-taking accommodations.  Recommended for students who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia; for those who are blind or vision impaired; second-language learners.  Optional: view video clip: overview.html What is
  5. 5. What Kurzweil Looks Like
  6. 6. Research on Kurzweil  Kurzweil provides students with a multi-sensory approach to reading and writing.  There is a vast amount of research supporting the use of assistive technology like Kurzweil.  It is currently used and recommended in school boards across Ontario (St. Clair Catholic District School Board, Thames Valley District School Board, etc.)  A summary of research supporting the use of Kurzweil can be found by clicking on the following link: 000.pdf  The results of one study from the summary provided by Kurzweil (as it pertains to secondary students): “The use of Kurzweil 3000 allowed post-secondary students with an attention disorder to read longer, faster and with less fatigue than students not using assistive software. Because students were able to complete assignment in less time, they experienced less stress and developed a more positive attitude toward their studies.” L. Hecker, L. Burns, J. Elkind, K. Elkind, L. Katz (2002). Benefits of Assistive Reading Software for Students with Attention Disorders. Annals of Dyslexia, Vol. 52. Is it an effective tool ?
  7. 7. Kurzweil’s Main Features  Dual Highlighting: it will read in one color and highlight in another  Quick Access to Reference Lookup Tools  Use Bubble Notes for Powerful Instructional Support  Time Saving Study Skills Tools  Flexible Writing Tools: check spelling-while-typing and speak-while-typing features  Reads the Web Using Mozilla Firefox  Reads print and digital documents  Magnification functions What does Kurzweil do?
  8. 8. How can I use Kurzweil in my class? Watch the youtube video (click on link below): Kurzweil 3000: How Blake Middle School uses Kurzweil 3000 in the Classroom Video 1. Allows the teacher to accommodate a broad range of physical, language, and learning challenges 2. Supports inclusion in the classroom 3. Teacher can integrate English language learning 4. Differentiate instruction without differentiating curriculum 5. Promote independent reading, writing, and learning 6. Teach and support effective research, study skills, and writing strategies 7. Provide test taking accommodations
  9. 9. Useful Links:  (this is Kurzweil’s official page)  00v13_mini_tutorials.html (this is an amazing how-to resource) Where do I find more information?
  10. 10. Reading and Writing Assistive
  11. 11.  Word Q is a word prediction and spoken program used to assist students with writing and reading.  Traditionally, this software was developed to help students and non- students with physical disabilities (not having to type as much)  However, this tool is recommended for any student who struggles with writing.  This software can help students with learning disabilities, autism, limited movement, ADD/ADHD and any student who wants to improve their writing. What is WordQ?
  12. 12. What does WordQ Looks Like
  13. 13.  Official WordQ website provides a section on current research supporting word prediction programs  Anna Evmenova’s (2006) study demonstrated word prediction software to be more effective on various aspects of the writing process for students with writing difficulties as compared to word processing software*.  Furthermore, she found 4 out of 6 students performed better with WordQ word prediction program*. *(as cited from software-for-students-with-writing-difficulties/ ) Research on WordQ Is it an effective tool ?
  14. 14. WordQ Features  In a nutshell, it allows a student to write, edit and proof read. Specific Features:  Learns which words you like and predicts them faster  Predicts words even if they are spelled creatively or missing parts  Offers a list of words with similar meaning to add variety to your writing  Uses clear and pleasant spoken feedback  Gives examples for words that sound similar by using them in a sentence  Reads aloud any text you can highlight, including websites, emails and instant-messaging  Reads exactly what you write, so poor grammar sounds off and bad punctuation disrupts the rhythm  Lets you modify word prediction to use specific vocabulary or topics  Works with all commonly-used programs  New: iwordQ app for ipad/ipod use What does WordQ do?
  15. 15.  Useful Links:  (wordQ official website – video tutorials)  (demonstration of WordQ) Where do I find more information?
  16. 16. Dictating and Listening Assistive
  17. 17.  Dragon Naturally Speaking is speech recognition software  “YOU TALK, IT TYPES”  Allows students to use their voice to complete writing assignments  Recommended for any student who struggles with writing as well as for students with physical limitations or learning disabilities What is Dragon?
  18. 18. What does Dragon Looks Like
  19. 19.  There is some evidence that indicates that Dragon can be a successful tool for students*.  However, there are limitations: student must be able to articulate words clearly; student needs a fairly quiet setting (not always achievable); time-consuming process to set-up  Optional – watch video presenting the results of 4 case studies on student’s use of Dragon over a nine month period, titled Dragon Naturally Speaking: Looking For a Fit click on the link below: Is it an effective tool ? Research on Dragon *(as cited from )
  20. 20. Dragon Features Using Dragon Naturally Speaking, students can  Create text  Edit text  Navigate through documents  Control the computer’s operating system  Students can focus on their ideas and thoughts without having to be slowed down by the writing process The following video provides you with a great demonstration on Dragon in action (optional): nAction12_1&h=390&w=630&p=naturallySpeaking/dns12/&fileTy pe=mp4&autoPlay=false&videoPage=true What does Dragon do?
  21. 21. Useful Links:  (official website)  d_speech_recognition.html (quick reference tutorial on Dragon)  (instructional video) Where do I find more information?
  22. 22. Audibooks/Textbooks Assistive
  23. 23.  W. Ross MacDonald is a school for the blind and deaf-blind. Their homepage is found on the Ontario Ministry of Education website.  Resource Services Library/AERO (Alternative Education Resources Ontario) houses materials for students in  Elementary  Secondary  College/University  Approved Private Vocational Schools  Largest collection of alternate format materials including:  Braille  Large Print  Digital audio  E-texts  Materials are FREE of charge AERO
  24. 24.  Any teacher can request materials from the library but you must register first!  Go to to fill out the on-line application  Application is a quick 3 step process: 1. You need to provide your school information (you must use your school email; they do not accept other email addresses i.e. hotmail) 2. Fill out personal information 3. Space for special comments is provided; submit button  Once you are registered, you must then register your student - students entitled must have a perceptual disability (LD, language, vision, etc.) Can I access this library? AERO
  25. 25. Audiobooks: W. Ross Macdonald AERO
  26. 26.  You may order material directly from website (browse on-line catalogue)  If a book is not available in format requested, send in a print copy of the book and they will produce the requested alternate format.  Items are on loan for the academic year  YOU are responsible for returning loaned material, NOT the student. (No cost for mailing items – delete downloaded items) What else should I know? AERO
  27. 27. Useful Links:  (E-text website offers frre e-text books including: the bible, Shakespere, Thesaurus, Alice in Wonderland, etc.)  (this is where you register)  Make sure to check with your own board’s website for information on assistive technology and links to free downloadable AT software. Audibooks/Textbooks Assistive What about other resources?
  28. 28. AT Library Employee Portal Example: TVDSB AT Library
  29. 29. References       e_services_library.html