1999 Conference Proceedings

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 1999 Conference Table of Contents


A TRAINING MODULE FOR textHELP!

Moon K. Chang, Ed.D.
Alabama State University
P.O. Box 271
Montgomery, AL 36101-0271

INTRODUCTION

Developing a training manual for textHELP! is a part of follow-up activities for Project AIM (Alternative Instructional Methods) which was funded through a supplemental award by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (N133B30025-95A).

Two publications, the major outcomes of this project--

were shared with the interested audience at the 12th International Conference "Technology and Persons with Disabilities" in Los Angeles. These documents, which are available from ERIC present the results of an extensive literature search on ways and means of providing reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 for students with visual impairments, hearing impairments, physical impairments, and learning disabilities.

After disseminating these materials nationwide, we now are in the process of developing multimedia training materials for student teachers and trainers how to utilize these methods and devices more effectively and efficiently in their daily class activities. The aforementioned training module for textHELP! is one of the outcomes of the follow-up activities of the Project AIM.

MAJOR FEATURES OF textHELP!

textHELP! is a software developed by Lorien Systems for Windows application. The major features of this software are: vocalized text, word prediction, and screen magnification. This software is a very useful aid for children who have reading problems due to dyslexia, deficiency in basic reading skills, and low vision.

SYSTEM AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

textHELP! for Windows '95 has a minimum requirement of a 486DX processor running at 66 MHz, 9 MB of memory, and 13 MB of free disk space. Additionally, for speech facilities it requires either a SoundBlaster compatible sound card or a parallel port sound device. The only software required for textHELP! for Windows '95 is a correctly installed copy of Windows '95 and a word processor of some sort.

COMPONENTS OF THE TRAINING MODULE

The training module consists of five parts:

Part 1. Installation
Part 2. A Guide to the Toolbar
Part 3. Use of Vocalized text Function
Part 4. Use of Word Prediction Function
Part 5. Use of Screen Magnification Function

Part 1. INSTALLATION

In this section, a step-by-step visual guide is provided to complete installation.

Part 2. A GUIDE TO THE TOOLBAR

In this section, the position and function of toolbar will be introduced. This includes Check Selected Word, Prediction Toggle, Speak Selected, Quick Help Toggle, Default Hot Keys, and Main Menu Button.

The Main Menu is further expended into submenu, including Spelling, Spell Checking On, Show Spell Panel/Mark Word and Continue on Error, Remove/Ignore Brackets, Edit Custom Dictionary, Language, Word Processor, Speech, and Magnification.

Part 3. USE OF VOCALIZED TEXT FUNCTION

In this section, a step-by-step visual guide is provided to vocalize text using the ProVoice Control Panel. A variety features are learned and practiced, such as controlling pitch, voice type, speed and volume of the vocalized text. Additionally, a way to choose different types of pronunciation, such as U.S. English or British English, is provided. This software is able to speak each letter, each word, or each sentence.

Part 4. USE OF WORD PREDICTION FUNCTION

In this section, a step-by-step visual guide is provided to learn and practice the function of the Word Prediction Panel, including selection numbers, suggested words, selecting words from the panel using either the mouse or keyboard. Additionally, features like phonetic suggestions, automatic error correction, and real time spell checking are learned and practiced.

Part 5. USE OF SCREEN MAGNIFICATION FUNCTION

In this section, a step-by-step visual guide is provided to learn and practice how to move or change the size of the magnification window. Additionally, a way to change the zoom factor is introduced. Although this software is not developed to provide a solution for visual impairment, it serves as a reading aid for persons who have problems reading small print on screen.

This training module, developed basically as a self-study guide, includes a printed manual for trainers, test materials for both a paper and pencil test and demonstration, and CD-ROM . The paper and pencil test has two versions: one for written test; the other for testing on computer screen. The short version of a CD-ROM, which is the slide presentation on computer, is also available. The CD-ROM is expected to be completed by Mid-January, 1999.

REFERENCES

Chang, M.K., Richards, J.S., & Jackson, A. (1996). Accommodating students with disabilities: A practical guide for the faculty.

Chang, M.K., Richards, J.S., & Jackson, A. (1996). Accommodating students with disabilities: A guide for school teachers. textHELP! Lorien.


Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 1999 Conference Table of Contents 
Return to Table of Proceedings


Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright.