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Hood College student Anika Watley at the new workstation with the KODAK i40 Scanner.
Students With Learning Disabilities “Listen” to Textbooks, Via Solution From Kodak and Kurzweil
Imagine you’re a college student who is blind or visually impaired. Or you have other developmental disabilities, like dyslexia or ADD, that make it difficult for you to read text from a book. While it would be wonderful to have a textbook on CD or tape, that format is usually unavailable. So a system that scans the printed page, then speaks the text aloud would be a very beneficial asset.
At Hood College—a private liberal arts college in Frederick, MD—that was exactly the system that Tom Kranz, Disability Services Coordinator, had configured. Yet even with this system in place, it wasn’t the best of all possible worlds. “As we only had a flatbed scanner, students had to scan one page at a time, so it could be an arduous and time-consuming process,” Kranz says. “We were using an older version of KURZWEIL Software. It was functional, but it wasn’t fast or efficient enough to be truly productive or useful for a larger number of students.”
Students with learning disabilities at Hood College utilize a flatbed scanner to input pages from books for use with their Kurzweil Software, which reads the text aloud. As only single pages can be scanned, the process is tedious and lengthy.
Create a system utilizing a sheet-fed scanner and a newer, faster computer to allow students to scan multiple pages/chapters/books and access them via the Kurzweil 3000 for Windows Software features.
A KODAK i40 Scanner, new PC running an updated Windows OS, and Kurzweil 3000 for Windows Software.
“The students are thrilled with this solution …. I was amazed at how quickly Kodak and Kurzweil got together and made it work beautifully.”
~ Tom Kranz, Disability Services Coordinator, Hood College
Kranz knew a newer edition of KURSWEIL Software was available, but in order to run it, the College needed a faster PC running a later version of the Windows Operating System and a more efficient way to scan books. Fortunately, the father of a new student at the school was familiar with the production scanners from Kodak and soon Kodak’s District Manager Tracy Smith was contacted. After an initial discussion, another student’s family agreed to donate a new PC, new KURZWEIL 3000 for WINDOWS Software was ordered, and an i40 Scanner was provided at no charge by Kodak.
So far, so good, as now a textbook can have pages removed for automatic document scanning, ending the one-page-at-a-time issue. However, it was soon discovered that the solution wasn’t completely compatible, as the KODAK i40 Scanner was not yet integrated with the KURZWEIL Software.
Integrating for productivity
After a call to Kodak, Kurzweil and Kodak got their respective technical experts and engineers together and quickly got the i40 Scanner up, running and fully functional with the new PC and KURZWEIL 3000 for WINDOWS Software. “Now the results are much more satisfying and productive,” notes Kranz. “This is so much better for everyone, especially the students. We simply send the books to the print shop where they cut pages out for feeding as double-sided documents.” The duplex scanning capability of the KODAK i40 Scanner makes it ideal for this application.
Students can now access the files from any computer on campus, or utilize the PCs with the KURZWEIL Software. Other students from the School of Education are also utilizing the system as part of their learning curriculum.
KURZWEIL 3000 for WINDOWS Software offers a variety of access options. Once scanned and saved into the KURZWEIL 3000 proprietary format, the software helps students improve comprehension and makes it easier for them to study on their own. “The screen displays the text, and it’s highlighted as a voice reads it,” says Kranz. “They can choose from a number of voices and can also adjust the speed of the reading. It’s a very effective study tool.” The software also adds/speaks captions under pictures to help provide a more comprehensive sense of the printed page in audio format.
“The students are thrilled with this solution,” says Kranz. “Avoiding the flatbed hassles is a great blessing, and we’re seeing many more students take advantage of what is now available. Overall, they’re much happier with the experience.”
Kranz also appreciates the speed and simplicity of his KODAK i40 Scanner. “First, it’s very fast; more than speedy enough for what we want to do. Second, it’s very easy to operate; you don’t have to be any kind of a genius to get perfect scans. We are very pleased with all that it has allowed us to do in terms of taking the program further.
I was amazed at how quickly Kodak and Kurzweil got together and made it work beautifully.” ~ Tom Kranz
About Kodak, Kurzweil and Hood College
The KODAK i40 Scanner delivers easy, fast, great images from a small, duplex desktop scanner. Rated at up to 25 pages — or 50 images — per minute, the i40 Scanner features renowned image quality from Kodak with Perfect Page scanning for ideal scans time after time. Users can easily select up to nine assigned scanning applications at the touch of a button. The scanner comes bundled with a robust suite of software and offers USB 2.0 connectivity.
KURZWEIL 3000 for WINDOWS Software is the leading reading, writing and learning solution for individuals of all ages with learning difficulties. The program provides students the tools they need to improve their reading speed and comprehension, plus a suite of features that make it possible for them to learn and study independently. In this way, it has helped improve their academic experiences, their abilities to function effectively in the workplace and the quality of their daily lives. KURZWEIL 3000 for WINDOWS Software not only reads questions and answers aloud, it allows students to type answers directly onto the image of a scanned test, thereby offering more independence for both the student and teacher.
Approximately 2,400 students are enrolled at Hood College. Founded in 1893, Hood is located in the Baltimore-Washington region.
To learn more about the KODAK i40 Scanner and other desktop models ideal for distributed scanning environments, contact your Authorized Reseller of KODAK Document Imaging products, call 1-800-944-6171.