2006 Conference General Sessions

COMPARING TEXT ACCESS APPLICATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES

 

 

Presenter(s)

Renee Clark
Western Regional Manager
Freedom Scientific Learning Systems Group
Day Phone: 888—2 23—3344, ext. 127
Email: reneec@freedomscientific.com

Presenter #2

Martin McKay

Texthelp Systems
Day Phone: +44 28 944 28105 C N.Ireland

Email: m.mckay@texthelp.com

It is always best to match the strengths of a particular product with the needs of a specific individual, even if many situations will call for trying to make one application work for the needs of many different individuals with similar disability characteristics at the same time. For someone trying to select an appropriate text access application for a person with a learning disability, it may be confusing to try to match up the many diverse capabilities of a particular product and the specific needs of a user. This job only increases with difficulty when a person then attempts to make a comparison between two or more competing products which each has their own array of differing capabilities.

As an aid to anyone who would find themselves in such a difficult situation, this presentation will attempt to demonstrate an initial comparison between three excellent text access applications on the market today: Kurzweil 3000, Read & Write Gold, and WYNN. Presenters from each product company will be asked to highlight the strengths of their products, and demonstrate to the audience how a person with a learning disability would benefit from using this technology.
The design of the 90-minute session will be as follows:
0:00 0:05 Introduction by Norman Coombs and Christopher Lee
0:05 — 0:30 Kurzweil Presentation
0:30 — 0:55 Read & Write Gold
0:55 — 1:20 WYNN
1:20 1:30 Audience questions an wrap—up

Presentations will be timed by the moderators in the interest of fairness to all presenters. All presenters will be supplied with the same examples of text content in different file formats well in advance of the session and asked to demonstrate the use of this content during their session. Presenters are also free to use other content of their own individual choice as time allows.

The primary focus will be on how these applications can be used to support students. This session will not be a “competition” between products, but rather a means of highlighting the strengths of each product so that an educator can begin to understand how a particular product’s strengths could make for an excellent match for the needs of a particular student the educator is working with, while perhaps another product may be a better match based upon a different setting and needs of a different student.

Rather than doing any real-time scanning, the presenters will all be supplied with the same pre—prepared for use with all applications. The content will be obtained from excerpts of publisher textbook files and edited files from college campus DSS offices. Examples of formats to be used will include PDF, Word, RTF, and ASCII. Presenters will be asked to agree on final plans before the session is conducted so that a degree of uniformity between presenters will be possible. However, each presenter will have some flexibility to talk about something that he/she believes is important to understand about their product.


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