[Athen] Alternative To Kurzweil 3000 for STEM

Gaeir Dietrich gdietrich at htctu.net
Mon Feb 24 12:10:41 PST 2014

Remember that Learning Ally records STEM materials with human narration.
Although the student would have to follow along in the book, rather than on
screen, the equations would probably be read more accurately.


Gaeir (rhymes with "fire") Dietrich
408-996-6047 or 408-996-4636


From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailmand13.u.washington.edu] On
Behalf Of Alexa Schriempf
Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2014 11:55 AM
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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