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WYNNing Word

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Freedom Scientific Learning Systems Group Presents
The WYNNing Word
September 2007

Image of a SMART Board showing a WYNN file

"This changes everything!"

That was one student's reaction as his class was reading Babe. That might not seem so exciting to many of us, but it is if you are learning disabled and struggling to read the same materials your peers are enjoying.

What inspired this student to such enthusiasm?

SMART Board™ Interactive Whiteboards
High Interest Titles

Bellevue School District special needs students were reading Babe in WYNN format on an interactive whiteboard for the first time, and they were thrilled with their experience. They were succeeding!

This is the opinion of many special needs students in the Bellevue School District in Washington State.

We recently spoke with Cathy Hoesterey, Assistive Technology Specialist for the Bellevue district, about the success the district is having in providing its students with special needs the same general education curriculum as other students. "This has not happened overnight," Cathy says, "but we continue to make steady progress."

Image of Bellevue, Washington's skylineThis district of 16,000+ students, with a special education population of about 1,800, has a superintendent who believes that all students should experience the same curriculum. Bellevue Superintendent Mike Riley says inconsistent curriculum is "at the heart of what's wrong with education in America." He believes that standardization of curriculum will benefit all students in the district.

To achieve this goal with special needs students, Cathy knew she had to match a student's needs with appropriate technology. She researched technology at the Special Education Technology Center at Central University of Washington. It was there that Cathy first saw WYNN. After going to conferences to see WYNN and other similar software in action, she chose WYNN for the Bellevue School District's special needs population which was struggling with reading and comprehending grade level materials. She says, "It was WYNN's ease of use for students and teachers that was the key factor in the decision-making process."

Soon Cathy gave a demonstration of WYNN at Superintendent Riley's Leadership Conference. After seeing WYNN, Dr. Riley said, "I want WYNN software available in every school in the district."

How did they accomplish that?

To help achieve Dr. Riley's goal, every school received a laptop on a cart with WYNN Reader and a desktop computer with a scanner and WYNN Wizard. Soon after that, as part of a district technology initiative, SMART Board™ interactive whiteboards were placed in each classroom. The special needs teachers quickly incorporated whiteboards into their teaching. The result was WYNN could be used for whole group instruction. All students could now be involved in reading grade appropriate novels such as Babe.

One student was so excited about his experience that he called out, "This changes everything!"

Now it was possible to read and discuss high-interest titles with confidence and success both in groups and independently. An example of differentiated learning at its best!

The Bellevue district has an innovative curriculum Web application where course content and lesson plans can be accessed via the Web. Parents and the public have a more restricted view of the content currently, but you can take a look at the Bellevue School District Web site. Click on Departments, then choose curriculum to view. The curriculum Web is part of the process Superintendent Riley is implementing to bring about his plan for a standardized curriculum. The Special Education Technology Department is working hard to put this curriculum into WYNN format. At this point in time, they have a large portion of the district's language arts, social studies, and science curriculums available to all students.

Cathy says, "The consistent use of the same textbooks throughout the district insures a standardized curriculum. WYNN supports this concept for our special needs students who are taking general education courses across the district. Once we scan a book into WYNN, it becomes available to every appropriate student in the district."

To further enhance the success of the plan, Cathy thought it best to focus on grades 5 and 6. "These grades are essential to preparing the students to make the adjustment to the reading and writing demands of the middle school. WYNN is facilitating that process," says Cathy. "Students are meeting those demands, gaining more self confidence and are now becoming more self motivated."

Cathy went on to say that she is happy to see that as students are moving up to the next grade, they are calling the Assistive Technology Center asking for their new WYNN materials. She sees this process fostering independence as students recognize WYNN as a tool they need to complete their curriculum requirements.

Cathy says that elementary students who were among the first users of WYNN are still benefiting from WYNN support in their high school coursework. She also explained that other students are successfully being introduced to WYNN for the first time in high school. One junior was thrilled that she would no longer need her mom to read textbooks aloud to her. "It is the first time I have read a book by myself!"

Teamwork - Trial Use - Accountability

"In order to facilitate this process we primarily take referrals for assistive technology consultations from special needs teachers. They are the case managers and support the special education students who are in general education classes," explains Cathy.

Once a student has been referred for an Assistive Technology consultation related to reading or writing, an AT specialist brings a laptop with WYNN Reader to the site to train the student. They often also work with the teacher, support staff, and parents as well. Students have the laptop and software for a trial period during which they must keep a log of how they are using WYNN - reading, writing, study tools etc. This process helps the AT team to track if students are motivated to use the technology to its full potential. This accountability also encourages the students to take responsibility for their own success. If the trial has been successful, the students are assigned the WYNN laptop on a long-term basis. This not only allows them to continue to use the technology in the classroom, but also at home.

Jared Taylor, Behavior Intervention Specialist & Special Educational Technologist for the district, says, "With an increase in content to more than 1600 WYNN files, 230 of which are books, the demand for access to the content also increased." To meet this need for access, Bellevue is in the process of moving toward the network version of WYNN. They are developing their WYNN books Web application to increase the availability of their materials and to provide teachers with a method of sharing content with other staff members. "This is such an exciting tool that is helping to truly incorporate WYNN into our standardized curriculum," explained Jared.

WYNN 5.1 splash screenTo extend this successful experience, students are given WYNN Reader demos to take home. They can then download materials from the Web or use a CD of a novel that has been given to them from a lending library of WYNN materials. This works especially well for summer reading assignments.

The demo is good for 30 hours or 30 days, so it also puts the student on a schedule to complete the assignment.

Is WYNN Helping to Achieve the Goal of Standardization?

Cathy feels that the facts tell the story. The district is very proud of the success rate of their special needs students in Advanced Placement courses. “ In 2001, we had four special need students enrolled in AP courses, and none of them attempted the exams. Although more students enrolled in AP courses the next year, the pass rate in 2002 was only 10 percent. In 2006, 80 secondary special needs students were enrolled in one or more AP classes with a 46 percent pass rate on AP exams by the College Board." Cathy continues, "We feel an important way to support these students is in the use of universal design principles such as providing curriculum in WYNN format."

It must be working; 40 percent of the special needs secondary students are taking at least one AP course during high school!

We Salute You

WYNNing Word would like to salute the Bellevue School District. The implementation of WYNN has been a real team effort. Cathy works with another assistive technology specialist, Hugh Lackie, who brings his special education and psychology expertise to the district's secondary students and Jared Taylor, who shares the vision for making WYNN materials more easily accessible to staff and students with the WYNN books project.

This team, the support of the Superintendent, the Special Education Director, the Information Technology Department, the Curriculum Department, and, of course, Bellevue's great teachers have made the assimilation of WYNN into the curriculum a wonderfully successful project. All of their efforts are making a difference in the education of Bellevue's special needs students.

We will be revisiting Bellevue in the near future. We, like you, will want to hear more about how Bellevue is progressing with WYNN as the centerpiece of their curriculum standardization plan for the students with special needs. We are sure that our readers will also want to hear more about the "WYNN Books Web project."

Such creativity! Congratulations Bellevue!

Image of an eye Keep an Eye on the News

WYNN 5.1 Includes Support for Microsoft's Windows Vista™

In order to be ready for the new school year, many educational systems migrated their IT infrastructure to Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system during the summer. To support that effort, Freedom Scientific has made Windows Vista support an integral part of WYNN, its flagship product. "We are pleased to offer support for Vista with WYNN," said Roberta G. Brosnahan, Vice President & General Manager of the Learning Systems Group. She continued,We recognize that many schools will continue to provide Windows XP and Windows 2000 computers, so we will continue to support those operating systems, too."

Closing the Gap banner

Powerful Access to the Internet Using WYNN 5.1

Thursday, October 18, 2007, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm at Closing The Gap

This presentation will demonstrate the power of using WYNN 5.1 with the Internet as a tool to support students with diagnosed learning disabilities. Using the WYNN 5.1 software from Freedom Scientific with the Internet, we will explore tools that support information gathering and strategies for reading, comprehending, and learning Web-based information. We will demonstrate reading information from Web sites using WYNN's bi-modal reading approach, highlighting information on live Web sites, extracting information from Web sites, and using a variety of study tools to learn the information. We will demonstrate WYNN's patented WebMasking feature that aids in reading concentration on Web pages. At the end of the session, attendees will have gained an understanding of how to use the power of WYNN 5.1 with the Internet to enhance learning and research.

Want an excellent overview of WYNN and TestTalker?

"I appreciate hearing the clearly defined benefits and the succinct explanation of these two products," says Elaine Huot, D. Child Study M. Ed., Success Stream Learning. Hear Peggy Dalton, Head of LSG Professional Development, during a business trip to Australia interviewed by an Australian Radio Station. Peggy's Interview. (The audio for this interview is no longer available.)

WYNN 5.1 Training Module

The CD provides an overview of the product and defines the educational benefits of WYNN’s features. This multimedia training program is a self-guided training tool that enables users to successfully use WYNN. The WYNN training module can be used to introduce new users to WYNN or as a refresher for more experienced WYNN users.

Price: $25 Contact: Loni at 800-444-4443 Extension 1032.

Tip of the Month - Bright idea balloon
Tip of the Month

Changing WYNN's Homepage

Gold star

Option 1:

To change the homepage setting for one student:

  1. Log in using the student's log in name.
  2. Access the Web using the WYNN Web browser.
  3. Go to the Web site of your choice.
  4. Click Settings from the toolbar, choose Web Settings.
  5. Do one of the following:

    Click the Use Current button


    Copy the URL (address) for the page you want and paste it into the Address field in Web Settings.
  6. Click Apply, and then OK.

    This setting will automatically be saved for that student when you log out.

Gold star

Option 2:

To change the homepage setting for a particular group of students or ALL students:

Web Settings dialog box in WYNN

  1. Log in using the name Shared.
  2. Access the Web using the WYNN Web browser, and set the Web site of choice (see Option 1).
  3. Click Settings, and choose Save Settings.
  4. Click Web Settings, and then click More.
  5. Give the setting a name, perhaps the Web site's name.
  6. Click Web Settings and Save.
  7. Broadcast these settings to all students.

After students log in, they must activate these settings:

  1. Click Settings, and then Retrieve Settings.
  2. Scroll and select the name of your setting.
  3. Click Yes when asked if you want the retrieved settings to be part of your default settings.

    Since you named this setting, it must be retrieved before becoming available. Only the homepage will be changed. It will not change any of the other settings students may have set for themselves.

    As you can see from the dialog box above, you have other choices that you may want to broadcast to students.
  4. Click the desired settings and follow steps 1-7 mentioned earlier in the Option 2 instructions.

    This will also work if you want ALL Settings for a particular group of students. Again, follow the steps in the Option 2 instructions.

If you have any questions about Bellevue or our Tip of the Month, please e-mail WYNNing Word.

Want to view past issues of WYNNing Word? Please go to Archives of WYNNing Word Articles.

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About Freedom Scientific LSG:

Freedom Scientific, Learning Systems Group, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, 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

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