Monday, September 21, 2009

Free OCR Programs for Print Disabilities

I have been using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software for quite some time to work on ways to accommodate student learning and help students be able to access printed text when they have print disabilities. I wrote a review of Top OCR and Access Apps last spring and I have been demonstrating Top OCR to sped teachers, assistants and SLP's to use with their students.
I have grappled with all the intricate issues of copyright but I just show teachers the tools, advised them on what is within reasonable limits of the law balanced with what we are mandated to provide in AIM, and leave interpretations up to individual teachers, administrators and districts.
I have used Access Apps in several downloadable versions (it installs on a jump drive). The line up has changed as far as the tools RSC has included over the past year. I was disappointed to find Top OCR was gone. I had referred a parent to it after an inquiry on text to speech tools that were supportive with scanned text. I recommended Kurzweil 3000, but cautioned on the price. If a person is willing to give up some of the cadillac luxuries, a lot can be said for free open source tools.
I stumbled across a great review on the Top 5 Free OCR Softwares and thought I would pass it on. Hope it helps some of you as you sort your way through the many options for those with print disabilities.
All the best to you!


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