2001 Conference Proceedings

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The Electronic Text Boost for Students with Learning Disabilities, Low Vision or Blindness - Scan/Read/Achieve

Margaret Londergan, Manager
Adaptive Technology Center
Indiana University

Reading programs have been in existence for some time providing the possibility of converting printed text to electronic text. But the scanning process was time consuming and frequently produced inaccurate results. After struggling with this for a year and realizing that few students adopted this strategy for accessing printed material, I developed a program for very high speed electronic text preparation that has received a lot of attention. Using the system I devised students can have their textbooks turned into electronic text in about an hour (depending on the size of the book). This removes the tedium of scanning for the student and permits them to focus on the material itself.

The program has been extremely popular with students and includes a software checkout program so that the students can get up and running with their reading assistance program as soon as possible. The checkout program gives the student an opportunity to evaluate software before having to purchase it. The loaner program works well; it is easy for the students to get started. And once they realize how useful the reading program is in conjunction with the rapidly prepared electronic text they quickly become adopters in most cases.

By using the high-speed scanning method scanning errors are reduced significantly from those incurred when scanning page by page on a flat bed scanner. The text provided to the students in electronic format is more readable by a variety of applications. (We use Kurzweil 3000, Jaws for Windows with both speech and refreshable Braille, ZoomText and others.

Students drop their books off and a day latter (or less if the Adaptive Technology Center isn’t busy) they pick up their book and a CD with the book on it in electronic text format. Students who previously gave up because of the tedium of scanning are eagerly using the e-text/reading assistance program. Many have reported that this program has enabled them to improve their grades. Parents of these students have expressed their gratitude for a program that does as much as this one to remove the barriers to academic success faced by their sons or daughters.

In my presentation I will outline the details of the Scan/Read/Achieve program including:

While this program would be valuable to anyone involved in preparing electronic text, it would be especially valuable for those in the field of education.


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