The Arkansas Technology & Curriculum Access Center Commits to Supportive Technologies for Students with Disabilities
From the elementary to the university level, we are all faced with meeting the challenges in education today. The following article highlights how WYNN’s easy user interface and short learning curve enable educators to assist students with one of the most important challenges: to be more productive with their studies.
Understanding Textbooks for the First Time
“This is bigger than a school, district, or state issue; it’s a global issue,” said Heidi Scher, M.S. CRC, Counselor/Coordinator of Disability Services, Arkansas State University at Beebe. Scher is talking about the need to improve literacy rates across the country. “The United States will not continue to lead and have an impact worldwide if we are not an educated society. The key to an educated society is the ability to read and comprehend.”
Scher’s job at Arkansas State University-Beebe (ASU-Beebe) is to prepare students for their future. This includes making sure they comprehend academic material needed to develop skills, as well as have the tools necessary to be self-sufficient. This is a significant task and one that becomes particularly complicated when supporting students with learning disabilities.
Five years ago and way ahead of their time, ASU-Beebe purchased a software program called WYNN™ that reads text aloud to students while simultaneously highlighting words on the computer screen. It’s called the bimodal method of learning, allowing students to see and hear words at the same time. Students who had been struggling to read due to learning disabilities reported remarkable breakthroughs in comprehension while using the software. For many, it was the first time they were able to actually understand and get information from their textbooks.
Today, students with reading disabilities at ASU-Beebe can access digital information by using the software provided in the university’s library and resources labs on three campuses. In addition to improving literacy and comprehension, updated versions of the software also help these students with writing, developing study skills, and test taking. Students can have classroom materials – textbooks, handouts, and tests – scanned in to the software and then have the material read aloud to them. For greater convenience, they can take their school material with them on their MP3 player or iPod®. WYNN can also read Web pages, helping students access the information online that is necessary for today’s extensive university level research projects.
Increasing Student Retention, Graduation Rates, and Higher Ed Enrollment
Despite this success, Scher remains frustrated that students who come to the university level have never used supportive software. “Imagine the success they could have had if they had the support of products like WYNN during their elementary years,” said Scher. Scher is convinced that, because of the success students are having while using this technology, this tool can have a significant impact on the state of Arkansas through increased student retention, increased graduation rates, and more students going on to higher education.
As chair of the Arkansas Association on Higher Education and Disability (ARK-AHEAD), Scher is urging everyone involved with serving students with disabilities to leverage this uncomplicated solution to solve a very complex problem. WYNN offers a presentation and a process to which students can relate. Due to its uncluttered, easy interface, students are up and running within a few clicks. They spend their time learning their course work, not learning a new technology. Scher also claims that her university students gravitate to WYNN because it reads Web pages without any hassle.
Technology Demonstrations and Training
Bryan Ayers, M.Ed., ATP, Director of The Arkansas Technology & Curriculum Access Center (TCC), joins Scher’s commitment to supportive technologies for students with disabilities. The TCC is a collaborative effort between the Arkansas Department of Education, Special Education Unit, and Easter Seals of Arkansas. Together, they disseminate information through training and professional development concerning supportive technology and universally designed curriculum. Special education teachers and coordinators are welcome to visit the TCC for training and demonstration of the latest in assistive technologies. The TCC also provides onsite demonstrations to individuals, school districts and other agencies.
Ayres has recently updated the TCC computer lab in Little Rock with a wide variety of assistive technologies, including 21 new wireless laptops complete with WYNN software. To learn more about the TCC or to make an appointment for a demonstration or training, call the Arkansas Easter Seals Technology & Curriculum Access Center at 877-533-3600 or visit Arkansas/EasterSeals/TCC
For more information about WYNN, contact a regional manager.
WYNN Nominated for 2006 eSchool News Readers' Choice Awards
Yes, WYNN has been nominated in the following categories:
- Reading Comprehension Young Readers
- Reading Comprehension Old Readers
- English as a Second Language Young Readers
- English as a Second Language Old Readers
Voting will take place in June for Reading Curriculum Software.
You will hear more about this wonderful honor in future WYNNing Word newsletters.
Tip of the Month:
Don’t want to import a whole document? Only want some text and graphic from a Web site? Use our Freedom Import Printer to import that selection directly into WYNN:
- Select text and graphic.
- Access the Print command.
- Choose FIP as the desired printer.
- WYNN will automatically open with the selection on your screen.
To sign up for this FREE subscription, valued at $249 a year, go to the NewsCurrents One on One link on the www.newscurrents.com page, and sign up for One on One, using your WYNN serial number as the promotion code. For more detailed information, call (800) 356-2303 or view the informational flyer (PDF).
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