Scientific Learning Systems Group Presents
Happy New Year!
"Training Teachers and Students Together!
What a Wonderful Experience"
Elaine Huot, Freedom Scientific Group Training Consultant
Recently, Elaine Huot had the opportunity to conduct a WYNN training session with a group of teachers in the Morrisville School District in Pennsylvania. These educators teach high school ELL (English Language Learners), ESL (English as a Second Language), and Special Education students whose first language is Spanish. What made this training unique was the fact that the students were included in the two-day training session. This presented a unique opportunity to teach both teachers and students how to use WYNN effectively to enhance teaching and learning.
“This was an exciting chance for me, as an educator and trainer, to watch ELL students work on Web sites in Spanish and then, with help from their teachers, develop English text using WYNN’s Writing Toolbar and the Dictionary feature,” explained Elaine.
After a brief introduction to WYNN’s four color-coded toolbars and how to access the Web from within WYNN, the students slipped on their headphones and went directly to the school-approved sites. Students then accessed information on various topics in Spanish. Elaine was astonished at the ease with which the students found the sites, listened to the text, and selected and copied the paragraphs into WYNN documents.
There were many smiles as the students heard text in their native/first language.
Happily, the students from Costa Rica heard the text in their Spanish dialect, and the students from Mexico listened to their selections
in the Mexican-Spanish voice. Instead of having teachers read English text and supply the Spanish translation to increase comprehension, the students now had control over the text in their own language.
“For me, this was a new way to use WYNN. Students were working productively within the first 90 minutes,” exclaimed Elaine.
Elaine guided the students through attempting to write in English with the help of the WYNN Word Prediction tool. This tool predicts what word the student may be typing and can read the list of choices so that the student can select his or her correct word. Having the predicted words read to them as they type will broaden the student's word choices and support a more accurate and grammatically-correct word selection. The student is guided to choose the correct word with each and every word typed. Often students will learn one vocabulary root word, such as "work," yet not be fluent enough with the new language to generate related words. The Word Prediction feature can provide several choices, in this case: "working, worker, worked" for the student to choose from. If the student is unsure about the correct selection, he or she can use the Dictionary tool to check for the most accurate word choice. Not only does this support fluency with writing, it also provides an excellent opportunity to increase vocabulary knowledge.
Everyone was excited about this new opportunity. What a benefit for students to independently read and comprehend material in their native language. Finally, researching, studying and writing in English across the curriculum was within the students’ grasp. They could understand the material in Spanish, get the facts and begin to reproduce the material in English with the support from
the Word Prediction tool, and the WYNN Dictionary.
"This software support for teachers and students will facilitate a student's comprehension of subject matter, and open the lines of communication and discussion between teachers and students. This should simplify second language training," foresees Elaine.
One of Elaine's training participants, Kimberly Worrell, a Middle School Learning Support Teacher in the Morrisville School District, has put WYNN into action with several of her students. These students have had extraordinary success using WYNN. One in particular is James, an ELL student with serious learning and language difficulties. He actually uses WYNN during his advisory time almost every day. Using WYNN to access the Internet has proven to be invaluable to him for research purposes. This is particularly true in Social Studies since his required textbook is too difficult for him to read and comprehend. Kim further explained that James also incorporates Google Earth™ mapping service into the Social Studies curriculum using WYNN to compose, proofread, and revise before copying and pasting his writing into Google Earth. Google Earth would not be an option for him without WYNN.
KidBiz® is another Internet application James enjoys now that WYNN has given him the tools needed to meet the goals of the program. WYNN allows him to go back into a KidBiz story to reread sections of the text so that he can locate the answers to any question. He is excited because he is reading
and finding answers independently.
Kim states that James literally calls across the room, "Teacher, I got another one right," with his fists raised in victory.
"James absolutely loves doing KidBiz through WYNN," exclaims Kim, "and the best news is that he has gone from 0% correct, when unaided, to 88% using WYNN."
Kim is also very enthusiastic about the success another student is having self-editing within WYNN. This student had been struggling with composing and editing essays. Kim explained that Paul has a very short attention span and cannot attend to the proofreading process successfully. She copied and pasted his essay into WYNN, put headphones on him, and had him listen to what he had written. Paul stopped the Read-aloud function after each sentence, self corrected the document, and then used the Read-aloud function to start over from the beginning. He continued this for every sentence in his two-paragraph essay. He did this on his own with little prompting from the teacher. Kim and Paul were both very proud of his finished product.
"WYNN has definitely increased his success rate for completing the task of composing and editing," explains Kim, "and his self confidence is growing with each task accomplished."
Elaine and the participants in the Morrisville training agreed, learning a second language is very tiring and drains the ELL student’s mental energy. ELL students who are also special education students face even more difficulties. These overlapping challenges often lead to less time on the task. This is especially true when students need to learn new vocabulary to comprehend even the basic concepts in a subject. Struggling students need to be able to sustain focus on the fundamentals of vocabulary. This focus enables them to access content areas where these words are read in context. Increased time on task also increases their reading speed, as well as their comprehension and fluency.
As we can see from the success Kim Worrell is having with her students, WYNN can help students hurdle the barrier of sustained focus. These wonderful moments of success increase opportunities.
Elaine realizes that these benefits apply to other non-English-speaking students. She has had experience teaching in French Immersion programs in Canada. "From early elementary grades, when students are first exposed to French, with WYNN they can listen to stories, learn vocabulary and read expository text on French Web sites in both the French Canadian voice and the Parisian voice choice."
Peggy Dalton, Director of Professional Development, International, and New England Regional Manager for Freedom Scientific Learning Systems Group, demonstrated WYNN reading a French Web site in French at Learning Disabilities Association Quebec, a conference held in Montreal, Canada. At LDA Quebec, Daniel Demers, Special Education Consultant for the Department of Education in Nova Scotia, first heard WYNN's French voices.
Daniel commented, "I like the accuracy of the pronunciation of the words being read. I am very impressed with the quality of the voices."
All the educators who stopped by the booth were excited by the possibility of WYNN reading their students’ favorite Web sites in French.
WYNN 5.1 software includes RealSpeak™ Solo voices on the US WYNN program CD and the RealSpeak voices CD. There are many language choices available to the user. Please see WYNN 5.1 languages and voices for a complete list of available voice synthesizers. If you would like to know more about the WYNN languages, please e-mail WYNNing Word.
Keep an Eye on the News
If you would like more information about using text-to-speech software for making reading more sustainable for longer periods of time, read a recent study published in Perspectives on Language and Literacy Summer 2007 by the International Dyslexia Association.
Remember the WYNNing Word article, "This Changes Everything," about Bellevue School District's creative use of WYNN across their curriculum? The district's success has made the news once again. "It’s a Wynn-win for Students Who Need Reading Help" recently appeared in the Bellevue Reporter. Check out the story of Remi and how WYNN’s tools have made a world of difference for his self confidence and success in school. (See BellevueReporter.com for more information.)
Why Dyslexics Make Great Entrepreneurs
Charles Schwab believes the ability to grasp the big picture, persistence and creativity are a few of the entrepreneurial traits of many dyslexics.
Software Strikes a Chord for Disabled Students
Here is a very interesting project: a University project that enables physically-challenged students to create music using technology. (See eSchoolNews.com for more information.)
Tip of the Month
Accessing the many languages available in WYNN
This graphic shows the RealSpeak Solo synthesizer voices that are included on the US WYNN program CD and on the RealSpeak voices CD.
There are additional choices using the SAPI 4 voice synthesizer. For more about WYNN voices, select WYNN 5.1 languages and voices.
To access another language from within WYNN, do the following:
- From the Settings menu, choose Speech Settings.
- Choose a language from the Language list box.
- Choose a voice from the Voice list box.
- Click OK.
If you are teaching spelling patterns in a foreign language, the SPELL button is an invaluable multisensory tool. Listen to WYNN say the word, spell the word, and say the word again. This is an excellent method used to teach spelling and automatize spelling patterns, which is extremely helpful when learning a new language.
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About Freedom Scientific LSG
Freedom Scientific, Learning Systems Group provides products that are acclaimed for
their easy-to-use interface, innovative technology, and flexible
but powerful features. Designed by educational experts to enhance
the learning process for struggling students, WYNN provides reading
and writing solutions. Freedom Scientific LSG also created TestTalker,
which provides test-taking preparations and worksheet completion.
To find out more about our products, please visit us at www.freedomscientific.com/lsg.