[Athen] Alternative To Kurzweil 3000 for STEM

Ron Stewart ron at ahead.org
Sun Feb 23 12:29:18 PST 2014

Kurzweil 3000, is not really appropriate for this type of situation.
Kurzweil is ineffective if not totally unsuitable for dealing with
formalistic content and for this type of disability is not going to get you
what you need.

First option would be to try screen magnification with speech, but that is
still probably not going to provide the needed level of access to the
mathematical content since it still needs to be edited to get it to read
write. To provide the appropriate level of equivalent access the documents
are still going to need to be converted and then edited preferably with Word
and MathType. That is true of all the document types you have mentioned
since none of them provide adequate access to mathematics and other symbolic

Unfortunately there is no easy answer here. I would be more than happy to
discuss this with you if you would like to contact me offline.

Ron Stewart

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailmand13.u.washington.edu] On
Behalf Of Alexa Schriempf
Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2014 1:55 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] Alternative To Kurzweil 3000 for STEM

Hi All,

I have a student who, due to concussions, has a visual convergence disorder
in which her eyes struggle to focus on printed text and images. She is very
successfully using Kurzweil 3000 to both zoom in and listen to voiceover

However, many of her textbooks are STEMs, and quite a few of them have
scientific notation within each line of text. Our scanning services are too
under-resourced to edit each line, and Kurzweil can't voice each line
gracefully enough such that the student could ignore the garbled voice.
Essentially, each line boils down to sounding something like, "The
coefficient variable of X *garble* multiplied by the coefficient Y
*garble*..." It should be saying X squared, and Y factorial. This is just a
small example of the problem -- in reality, magnify this by 30 or 40
instances per page, per book.

Some of her books are available in ePub, and I'm working closely with those
to make them formatted and readable more fluently by Kurzweil. Others of her
books however are in our most favored PDF format. With those, Kurzweil is
simply not an option. I am having the student test out our CCTV to magnify
the book onto a very large flat screen monitor. By increasing the size and
adjusting the contrast, I am hoping that she'll be able to read the texts
without inducing the usual fatigue and migraines.

My question to the list: what other technologies/solutions/workarounds have
been used in these situations? Voice over audio would be helpful but getting
the text enlarged is most key.



Alexa Schriempf, Access Tech Consultant

Office for Disability Services
Teaching and Learning with Technology: Accessibility Group

Adaptive Technology Services, University Libraries
Penn State




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