Dyslexia is a learning disorder which manifests itself through difficulty in reading and writing. Dyslexics best visualize pictures hence have a problem using letters. It thus becomes difficult for them to learn as quickly as other students. Several measures have been developed to assist the students. This paper discusses Kurzweil 3000 a computer program used to assist such students.
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Kurzweil 3000 is a computer program which allows user to scan a page and view it on a computer screen. It reads the scanned text aloud therefore the user can read and hear the text at the same time. It also offers critical study skills, file management as well as editing skills. This is very helpful to a student who cannot read or write fast as it combines the two senses of hearing and seeing to improve clarity and speed (Kurzweil 3000 Para 2)
The program is run on a computer. All the available features are clearly displayed on the top bar of the default screen supplemented with pictures. When the document is scanned, it appears on the screen. The user can then opt to read through the text continuously or at a comfortable pace with the help of the voice features. Each word when voiced out is highlighted on the screen. The user can also choose the reading unit. A reading unit could be a phrase, line, sentence, Heading, word or a highlight. In addition, the software understands words in French Spanish, German, Dutch and Italian. The program even has the options of using different regional inflections in speaking the language. Schools can use the server based version which is able to support different needs for hundreds of students (Kurzweil 3000 Para 3).
Interestingly, the software is very adaptable and can be used by children in the school starting age as well as adults. The cost of the Kurzweil 3000 software ranges from $ 1,995 to $ 1,495 depending on the additional features in the software. This may be considered costly but considering the programs ability to help learners, the investment is very viable.
The program has been very successful in assisting dyslexics especially children in the school going age to keep pace with other students. This is very important in boosting their self confidence.
Williams performed a review of the software and was stunned to realize the extreme simplicity in use of the software. The user is able to perform all tasks easily and very fast. He concludes that the program adopts a multisensory approach to the process of learning and has the ability to improve reading speed as well as comprehension for dyslexics and other people with learning disabilities (Williams, Para 4).
Joyce Johnson a mother of four daughters with learning disabilities has used the program and attests to the positive contribution towards her daughters learning. Before discovering Kurzweil 3000, her eldest daughter was to be put in a slow learner’s class as she could not match the learning speed of other children. She however knew her daughter could easily absorb information but could not easily read. The only option was for her to learn by hearing. While in middle school, her two daughters relied on human readers which meant that they had to be isolated from their classmates and put on special schedule which made them feel isolated (Johnson, Para 3).
On discovering Kurzweil 3000, the girls could read and do homework speedily and were not isolated from others. They became happier as they could find time to play with other children an at the same time get hope to pursue their dreams (Johnson, Para 4).
Indeed, Kurzweil has proven to be a very handy tool towards the education of dyslexics and persons with other disabilities and should be made more affordable and available to a wider range of users.
Johnson, J. Mother of Four Daughters Using Kurzweil 3000. Customer Profile Kurzweil Educational Systems. 2006. Web.
Kurzweil 3000. Solutions for struggling Readers. Kurzweil Educational Systems. 2006. Web.
Williams, J. Kurzweil 3000: Pay a Lot, Get a Lot. Assistive Technology. BusinessWeek. 2001. Web.