Saturday, May 24, 2008

Kurzweil 3000: Restoring a Sense of Independence

Kids care. It doesn't matter what you think is wrong with kids and their motivation, when they get behind and can't do the same work as the others in their class it deteriorates their self-esteem and causes them to lose the motivation to try.
In order to see students succeed, we have to find a way to help them experience some initial success - bringing the necessary tools and opportunities to them where they are. Their success in that moment can become a launching pad to greater achievement.
That is why I appreciate the tools that Kurzweil 3000 and other learning support and access tools give to students - they not only give students the tools to succeed, but also give them their independence and self-worth again. As a parent, I would pay and do anything to see that in my child's life - just like the credit card commercials...priceless.
We had another breakthrough this past week with one of our CP students. He is in high school, very bright, and has had a scribe/assistant with him. He has been using a Click n type on-screen keyboard on a school-purchased laptop for him to do his work. The problem is that he has not been able to do the study sheets, questions and tests with everyone else.
I took our all-in-one scanner/printer and a demo copy of K3000 over several weeks ago and helped get it loaded on the laptop and practice scanning in some documents to work with. The student was able to hear the text read to him, use his head array and the virtual keyboard to type his answers on the document, and then print it off and hand it in.
The assistant worked very hard to train the student and get the materials scanned and prepped for him. She said, "When we printed out his science folder of work and handed it in, I was teary-eyed. It was the first time he has been able to do everything with his class."
I have heard this from several students, teachers and assistants since we have used the demo of K3000. We just purchased a full version for our lab that we can use with our scanner and a laptop to have as a mobile demo to go out for extended check-outs to trial. I am beginning to promote free print disability and access tools and some pay tools like K3000. There is a lot going on right now to make accessibility and student-driven accomodation begin to happen in our districts. I am excited to see what this next year will hold for our students. My goal is to see a greater level of independence, higher achievement and self-worth with our students.
I would encourage you to explore the options that a lot of these free and pay tools can provide your children and students. If you want to read more on these tools, please refer to my posts:
"Assistive Technology for All Students" which shares on the article by Ira Socol, "Planning for Access"
The other post, which has links to many of the free tools is: "Amazing Convictions of Conscientious Teachers".
I also have a print disabilities free resource list on my work blog I use for professional development that I am planning to make available for a free download. You can link to it HERE for now. I have been working behind the scenes to get a site up with archives of my past posts, tutorials, videos, Mp3 archives, articles and links to other goodies - all under a search engine so I can provide a source for a lot of my work and information. It is coming along, I am looking forward to summer so I can have some uninterrupted time to get it finished and up. There are a lot of fun things in the works so keep visiting and let me hear your input. I also want to sya "thank-you" to you as readers. Your visits,emails and comments let me know my efforts our impacting others. Thanks for that.
I hope you can take some time to explore the links I provided today, and that they impact you to make some positive forward momentum in your services or parenting so students get the access they so rightly deserve.
All the best to you!

No comments: