About Read & Write Gold
Read & Write Gold is an assistive-technology software program developed to improve learning for students with dyslexia. The software reads electronic text from e-books, websites, and documents created in word-processing programs. Read & Write Gold helps writers by providing predictive spelling, word choice, dictionary, and thesaurus features. The program includes voice dictation that also reads aloud what students write and helps them identify errors and much more.
The iPad 3 provides a speech to text option through a microphone icon on its keyboard. This option offers students the opportunity to generate text through their voices instead of typing. Keyboard dictation is usually an option wherever the keyboard function is available (Pages, Keynote, Facebook, Twitter, are just a few examples). However, in order to activate the voice command, an Internet connection must also be present, and Siri needs to be turned on (Settings → General → Siri)
The Livescribe smartpen
The Livescribe smartpen captures everything that you write and everything that is spoken. Inside the pen is a camera that takes a picture of your notes as you write them. It also has a built-in microphone that lets you record what is being said. Once the pen is turned on, which requires the click of a button, the pen will begin taking a picture of the notes that you write. The Livescribe smartpen works with Livescribe dot paper which comes in a variety of sizes. You can print your own paper if you have a compatible laser printer. If you choose not to take notes, you can record audio and replay the session.
If you are a slow writer, have difficulty taking notes, or simply want to record the speaker, tap on the “record” icon at the bottom of the page and the pen will record what is said from that moment on. Stop the recording whenever you want by tapping on the “stop” or “pause” icon. If you choose to record and take notes simultaneously, you can spend more time listening to the speaker and then write only the most important information. Later on you can go back and listen to any part of the audio recording by tapping anywhere on your written notes. The audio will begin from that point in your notes. If when listening to the audio recording you discover you have missed important information, you can add it to your notes at that time.
This is an assistive technology aid that facilitates the note-taking and learning process. Recording classroom discussions and taking fewer notes allows the dyslexic student to spend more time listening and learning. When returning to the material for homework or review, students have an opportunity to listen to important information a second time, add notes that may be of significance, and review what has already been written.
Overall, the sample group really seemed to find the pen helpful and made use of it. We feel that for students in honors-level or college-level courses the Livescribe pen is a very powerful study aid. However, there are students for whom the Livescribe smartpen may not be a useful tool. Someone with significant auditory-processing difficulties who learns little from spoken language may be challenged by listening to the audio playbacks. Although one of the icons on the Livescribe dot paper allows you to slow down the rate at which the audio recording is played back, this feature did not assist the above-mentioned student, but perhaps it may help others.
Dragon Naturally Speaking for PC users and Dragon Dictate for Mac users is another technological aid that facilitates the learning process for the dyslexic student and creates greater efficiency at the workplace. For those who have word-retrieval difficulties, grapho-motor weaknesses, or problems committing ideas to paper in a timely fashion, Dragon may be just the tool needed in order to improve writing skills. Dragon is a speech-recognition program that can be used to, among other things, dictate answers to homework questions, a five-paragraph essay, or even to write a novel. You can dictate an e-mail, surf the web using voice commands, or dictate on your Blackberry, iPhone, iPad or iPad touch.
Users dictate ideas and watch their words appear on the computer screen. Put on your headphones, load Dragon software onto your computer, and follow the required series of steps to create your own user profile. As part of this process you will need to read for roughly five minutes so that the software recognizes your voice. This is an important step because it establishes your initial accuracy. You are allowed to choose from a menu of readings that range from easy to more challenging. If your dyslexia negatively impacts your ability to read the selections, it is recommended that someone preview challenging words with you, so that you are familiar with them and can read them accurately when training.
As a special education teacher who was incredibly frustrated by knowing my students had wonderful, hilarious, and creative ideas that they couldn't express due to the physical act of handwriting or extreme difficulty with spelling and reading, it hurt me to know my students' confidence and enthusiasm for writing would suffer incredibly and that they would grow into adults who only wrote when they had to make a grocery list or send a text--and that even those acts of writing might be painful for them.
Luckily, for students with dyslexia, dysgraphia or other learning disabilities, Co:Writer eliminates the pain of spelling. Simply put, it predicts words. Students enter the beginning sound of the word they want, and it presents a list of 6 words to choose from. If they don't see the word they need, they are able to either enter the next sound or to push the right arrow to see more words that begin with the same letter. When the students find the word they want, they don't need to type it; they are simply able to select the number of the word they want, 1 through 6.