Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Webinair : Free Assistive Technology
Last week I participated my first Webinair which was organised by Dyslexia Action. Dr Ian Smythe talked about the free assistive technology available on the internet which can help dyslexic learners.
A Webinair is an interactive public lecture with a Powerpoint presentation but it has no video.It is interactive in the fact that you can submit written questions and also the speaker can ask questions of the audience in the form of an opinion poll.
130 people from 22 different countries took part in the webinair I listened to .The webinair is recorded so if you miss one you can listen to it another time by going to the Dyslexia Action website.
Please note : You can register with the Dyslexia Action and then they will inform you on up and coming talks via youe email.
The talks are aimed at parents as well as professionals.
Here are some of the things I learnt from the talk :
Dr Ian Smythe talked about and demonstrated the use of a free text to speech software called Balabolka.
It is available in a number of languages eg English, Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese , Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian.
It seems fairly early to use .Unfortunately Turkish is not listed.
Highlighting – free within word
Dr Smythe said that dyslexia students could highlight written text but he advised that it is best to highlight not by a single word (as this could be distracting) but by sentence or paragraph.
On screen ruler
The onscreen “ruler” can be used to help follow lines when reading.
Adobe Acrobate text to speech facility
It is not widely known that Adobe Acrobat has a built in text-to-speech reader called Read Out Loud. That means that you can ask the program to read any PDF to you .Go to drop down menu after select View – after ‘ read outloud ‘
Also you can change the background of the text – make a different colour, change font size –
Go to preferences – accessibility
Reminders and Organisers
Stickies are reminders that you can put on your desktop.
Many dyslexics find it difficult to read text on bright white backgrounds on a computer screen so they could use a coloured overlay.
Dr Smythe has produced a free overlay called Smart LP ColourMe –
See link below for details.
You can use technology to help you proof read written text – eg spelling, grammar.
Some word processing systems have the ability to spot and automatically correct spelling errors as you write. In Microsoft Word, for example, this facility is called AutoCorrect.
These are good to help dyslexics plan writing and for revision purposes.Need to give a dyslexic person a structure to work with. You can draw a circle – in the middle of a page for your central theme with six circle questions around it .
Ikon Maps is a free site which is very easy to use where you can make concept maps.
Free study skills booklet from the Dessdy Project.Available in a number of languages.
There are various other Eu projects with free information such as Embed /Isheds etc .See the link below for more details.
Dyslexia Action org uk ( webinars )