Recently we attended an assistive technology workshop run by Catherine Brills and Tomas Roberts, from DTSL. They showed us different types of technology that can be used in the classroom or workplace by people with dyslexia. These are the notes from that workshop.
Technology discussed included;
- Word Q
- Mind mapping - Inspiration
- Speech to text
- Funding options
- Other informative websites
- The C-pen “reads and speaks” what the user scans (pictured above)
- Can download what has been saved in the C-pen to Google docs (save to file on menu)
- You can scan directly into a Google docs document.
- It has a recorder that saves the audio file in MP3 format.
- Can get one for a free trial, contact DTSL.
- Provides word prediction for spelling.
- Some schools have this software.
- You can change the settings to suit your needs, for example,
- How many words are shown on the predictive list
- Can set up topic lists (copy and paste off Google)
- Change the type of voice.
- Provides text-to-speech feedback by letting users hear letters, words, and sentences aloud as they are typed.
- It can also recognize and correct creative, or phonetic, misspellings.
- Provides usage examples for easily confused words and homonyms.
Can get a free trial.
Inspiration and Kidspiration
These are mind mapping tools.
- Use for visual mapping, outlining, writing and making presentations, using text, symbols and pictures to represent their ideas.
- Very good for brainstorming and has a Rapid Fire button to make this happen easily (This rapid fire button is an excellent feature as you do not spend time formatting the mind map and therefore losing your train of thought).
- Do not have to set up text boxes etc – all done automatically.
- Features a built-in text-to-speech function,
- Has one-button transfer to a word processor
- Can convert the mind map to bullet points (excellent!).
Neo Smart Pen
- This is used for notetaking and transferring direct to the computer.
- Have to use special paper (this can be photocopied in the format needed)
- What you write is transferred to the computer from the paper.
- It can transfer drawings, writing, whatever is written on the paper.
Speech to text – Dragon Naturally Speaking
This software converts speech into text on a computer so no writing is required.
- For best results use a headphone with a microphone. Also, best if the plug on the headphones is a USB port.
- Dragon Naturally speaking works on all other programmes eg Windows, Office
- It has the facility to read back what has been typed.
The presenter talked about Dragon Naturally speaking being used in the classroom.
- Kapiti College has found that the students need to have a digital recorder to use in the classroom and then use Dragon Naturally speaking at home.
- Just using Dragon Naturally Speaking didn’t work well in the classroom.
- The info from class is recorded by the students.
- The recording can then be transferred into word using Dragon Naturally Speaking.
- There is no tool (apparently) that can do this process in one go so you will need a digital recorder and Dragon Naturally Speaking.
Other speech to text options
Windows has the facility direct into is documents. Google Docs has it as well. These are ok but Dragon Naturally Speaking is more finetuned and easier to use from what I can gather.
Funding support for adults
- Can apply for funding through Workbridge to purchase assistive technology tools.
- Criteria is a C Grade assessment report. No expiry date on that report.
- Application form is on line- download and complete. Local Workbridge office can assist with the application.
Support Funds Central Processing Unit
Funding support for children
The C-pen can be used by students for internal exams for NCEA as part of their special assessment conditions. Talk with your school about how this can be accommodated for.
MOE funding using the Assisted Technology process
To get the funding support with an Assisted Technology application to the Ministry of Education an assessment by the school or RTLB’s, such as Lucid LASS, in conjunction with the on-going assessing within the school can be the evidence needed to meet the process requirements. Work with your school to discuss this potential option.
Informative websites for assistive technology
Chris Cole, Learning Differences Adviser