Information Technology can make life much easier for Dyslexic Students during their time in the College, and providing these facilities can be a massive competitive advantage to Bradford College. It will not only enhance Dyslexic Students performance, it will also increase their enrolment into the several courses in the College. There are a lot that can be done using some pieces of software and hardware available, some of the softwares I used during the placement. One of such software is Mindgenius, according to Dyslexic.
com, MindGenius is a sophisticated mind mapping program which gives you the flexibility to draw a variety of concept maps and then export them to a variety of applications. Its innovative approach of displaying the map, the map explorer (which displays the text outline of your map in a hierarchal tree arrangement) and the notes editor, where students can enter, edit and format notes associated with your map, makes it an ideal tool or both mind mapping and or planning essays, projects, presentations or even web pages.
Unlike other mind mapping programs MindGenius enables students to change the layout, spacing and style of your map, with more than 15 different layouts available, including an outline layout. There are also a number of options or attaching files, maps, images and icons to a map. Another pieces of software is Texthelp, the software will not only help the students but teachers as well.
It provides the ultimate support tool for dyslexic students and adults, Read and Write offers users speech feedback and word prediction for practically any Windows program – for example, word processor, spreadsheet, DTP, encyclopedia, web page, Help file or an educational program. Read and Write has been specifically designed for users with dyslexia and provides many tools to help access and compose written material. Features include high-quality speech feedback, phonetic spell checker, word prediction, dictionary and talking calculator.
The Teacher’s Toolkit enables teachers, administrators or parents to customize Read and Write to meet the requirements of the individual; including turning on or off functions (such as the spell checker during exams) and monitor spelling mistakes and usage logs. The style of the toolbar can be customized to be appropriate to the age of the user. Users can chose whether they want basic or advanced word lists and definitions in the dictionary, word prediction list and homophone checker. (Dyslexic. com, visited: 01/05/07) TextAssist(r) 3.
0 – this is a program that not only can perform some of the functions of HELP Read, but also some extra functions like ability to read any form of Windows applications like HTML, or Word, or emails. It also has increased text size and ability to highlight text as it reads. HELP ReadTM this program reads web pages and texts. The program supports English language and can perform a number of functions like customizing the pronunciation of mispronounced words, highlighting words or sentences while reading, looking up definitions, linking through the net to classic works of literature and many others
Speech recognition. Speech recognition program such as Dragon Naturally Speaking or IBM ViaVoice may be the answer. This program will type what you say to it – word for word. As you can imagine, the program needs some time to learn your particular speech patterns and accent, and there is a training program which allows students to read a couple of chapters of a simple book. It is advisable to read more than the suggested number of short chapters, as the more the program hears student’s voice, the better it will be at recognizing their speech. (Dyslexic at College website, visited: 01/05/07) (600 words)
Inspiration Software is a powerful visual mapping tool inspires users to develop their ideas, while planning and structuring workflow. Interactive diagrams, charts and reports help organize and prioritize concepts and information. Use it in the classroom for making notes, understanding concepts and drafting essays, reports or presentations. Creating and modifying concept maps, webs, idea maps and other graphic organizers is made easy, with an intuitive interface that focuses on the creation and delivery of work. ‘The Kurzweil 3000 is the greatest tool to benefit the dyslexic student.
Students can bring in a library book or an article, etc. and scan the material one class period and listen/follow along the next period. Students can also use bookmarks and change the voice and speed that it reads to their individual tastes. The Kurzweil also comes with a CD with numerous works available to be read without scanning. With the CD student can just find the author and click; locate the story he/her needs and click; and start listening. This helps the students because they stay on schedule. The “Kurzweil 3000” scans text, recognizes text, reads the text with voice options, and highlights the text – each word as it reads it.
It has highlighters that can be used to extract and make notes from the text and therefore is useful in summarizing. The voice control and speed of speech can be set and it sometimes reads words out of context, but very rarely. It is an excellent asset for dyslexic students However, its greatest drawback is that scanning each page of text when reading a book is extremely time consuming and takes a large amount of computer space. (Dyslexia Teacher website, visited: 01/05/07) ConfidentReader is the assistive reading software designed to help people with dyslexia improve their reading and spelling skills.
ConfidentReader turns written text into natural sounding human speech. Students will find their comprehension and reading improves as they hear the material, simultaneously see the words highlight on their screen, and read along. This plays to strengths to help students boost their performance. ConfidentReader can read electronic textbooks, PDF files, Microsoft WORD documents, and web pages. There is no doubt that Bradford College will have a competitive advantage IF the above mentioned Information Technologies are made available for the students concerned