Technology fair shows that not all people learn the same way

Shantae Rollins

Student Accessibility Services kicked off disAbility Awareness Month yesterday afternoon with its Assistive Technology Fair, called “Great Minds Don’t Learn Alike.”

Assistive technology is designed to level the playing field and help students with disabilities succeed in the classroom. The technology fair consisted of four stations demonstrating some of the most innovative adaptive technology.


Brian Hoover, junior marketing major, demonstrated a software studying program called ReadPlease.

“It’s a great program because you can write a paper, copy and paste it into the program and it will read it back to you,” Hoover said. “I like it because it helps the reader to maintain focus, so its beneficial to students with ADD or ADHD.”

The program is available in two versions. The first, ReadPlease, reads text from the clipboard through a copy and paste function, highlights the text while reading to maintain the reader’s focus and has adjustable voice speeds. The second version is ReadPlease Plus, which has added additional options. Hoover said the first version may be downloaded for free from the Web site, and the second may be purchased for $59.95.

“When we read something, it takes our brain longer to process its meaning,” said Molly Miller adaptive technology coordinator for Student Accessibility Services, “but when we hear and see it, our comprehension is increased.”

Kurzweil 3000

Andrea Kunkle, a graduate assistant with Student Accessibility Services, demonstrated Kurzweil 3000, another adaptive premiere software studying program. Kurzweil is similar to ReadPlease, but it can be purchased for a home computer or for the student on the go. The portable USB for Windows can be taken to any Windows computer without installing any software.

The basic version of Kurzweil can be purchased for $395.

“It’s most beneficial to students who have a learning disability with reading or spelling, have ADD or ADHD or are visually impaired,” Kunkle said.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dominic Malcolm, sophomore physics major, explained Dragon Naturally Speaking, a voice recognition software program. The program allows users to speak into a microphone and have their words appear on a computer screen.

Dragon Naturally Speaking is three times faster than typing and up to 99 percent accurate. It has the capabilities to search Web sites such as Google, Yahoo, eBay, Wikipedia and YouTube by voice.

He said if you say the word “know” but the program mistakenly types the word “no,” it will make the correction and remember the context the word was used in for the future.

The software can also record someone speaking into the microphone and be uploaded to an mp3 player so users can listen to their notes on the way to class. It is $100 with the standard headset, and $200 with the bluetooth headset, which allows for cordless voice recording.


Miller’s son, Kenny Miller, volunteered to demonstrate the Pulse SmartPen from Livescribe.

The SmartPen is a pen and a computer that records exactly what is being said as someone is writing on specialized paper. For example, if a student writes only key words on the paper, they can later tap the pen on the word and hear the full context of the lecture.

“I think it could really help students with ADD, but it could help anyone with note taking,” he said. “If presented to a freshman orientation class, it would be a great introduction to college.”

The SmartPen has the ability to transfer the audio and images to a computer and search handwritten notes. The 1 GB sells for $149 and the 2 GB costs $199.99.

The device, which hit the shelves in March, currently has no competitors, and is available at Target, and

Contact student affairs reporter Shantae Rollins at [email protected].