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**Dr Abi James Product Manager iANSYST Ltd**

How Can Technology Be Used To Help Students With Dyscalculia And Dyslexia Overcome Their Difficulties? Dr Abi James Product Manager iANSYST Ltd

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**Introduction Why use technology What is the problem?**

Reading and writing skills still needed in maths subjects Technology is available & widely used in other areas Technology should save time and remove in-authentic labour What is the problem? Current technology solution not developed to cope with scientific notation Existing solutions may need to be adapted or used taking a different approach Technology should save time and remove inauthentic labour should in the important thing here. It doesn't always when it comes to science subjects. Therefore using basic tools becomes a problem.

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**Problems experienced by dyslexic students**

Problems experienced in mathematical subjects Problems experienced by dyscalculic students

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**Problems experienced by students**

Using technology to help with reports, assignments & exams subject specific words will not be accepted by spell checkers difficult to proof read scientific notation speech recognition and concept mapping can help some students Student's issues - students have to learn to recognise a much wider range of symbols. - sequence is important both in interpreting and correctly writing notation (e.g. putting a - sign in the power component instead in front of the numerator) - at HE students are expecting to pick and use this new language without any help. Newer get a course in the Greek alphabet....

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**Problems experienced by students**

Note taking during lectures or seminars Difficulties with accuracy and speed Limited technology to help with taking down scientific notation quickly and accurately Non-medical helpers for note taking rarely have a scientific background Unable to use audio recordings to back up notes Student's issues - students have to learn to recognise a much wider range of symbols. - sequence is important both in interpreting and correctly writing notation (e.g. putting a - sign in the power component instead in front of the numerator) - at HE students are expecting to pick and use this new language without any help. Newer get a course in the Greek alphabet....

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**Technology solutions: Subject specific Spell Checkers**

Spellex adds subject specific terminology into MS Word’s spell checker (£82 + VAT for a single user). UK versions available for medical, pharmaceutical, legal, biotech, botanical, technical, geographical Various medical dictionaries available (e.g. Brody’s) but many are American.

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**Technology solutions: Word Prediction, Banks & Text Expansion**

Word prediction can quickly learn terminology and phrases to be reproduced when needed. Read & Write and Penfriend also include text expansion tools Words banks (Wordbar) can used to quickly enter phrases or keystrokes.

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**Technology solutions: OCR Software**

OCR software is needed to convert scanned in images to editable text. Packages can not convert equations into editable/readable text – they remain as images. Abbyy FineReader can recognise some programming languages

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**Technology solutions: Text-to-speech**

Speech engines will attempt to pronounce terminology using phonetic rules Can not read-back equations represented as images or in PDF files Limited read back of Equations - MathML & Math Player with Read & Write Equations need to be read-out non-linearly. So although simple equations and expressions may be read aloud e.g. x+y=z, anything more complicated will have problems.

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**Technology solutions: Talking calculators**

Read & Write Gold and ClaroRead provide speech-enabled software-based calculators Handheld talking calculators are available but expensive : £200+ Designed for visually impaired

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**Technology solutions: Speech Recognition**

MathTalk with Dragon NaturallySpeaking enables scientific notation to be dictated. Good for writing reports but not note taking User needs to be fluent in terminology and symbols Suits auditory learners and disadvantages visual learners MathTalk demos

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**Technology solutions: Concept mapping**

Used to explain concept and plan reports or projects. Good for overcoming sequencing & organisation difficulties Inspiration includes basic maths symbols but aimed a secondary level. More advanced drawing packages can provide equation builders but more difficult to make maps – SmartDraw; Visio

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**Lagrangian Equation example in Inspiration**

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**Quicklink Pen Elite & SuperPen Professional**

Scan a word or line of text and hear it. See the definition of the word. QL Elite Transfer text and images to PC SuperPen Professional: Comes with dictionaries covering medicine, finance, computing, geography, science & a thesaurus.

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**New solutions for note-taking: Digital Pen**

IO Pen saves an image of pages written in a special notebook to a PC. Can use handwriting recognition but problems with: Spelling errors Terminology & equations But could be used be a note-taker or for saving notes as an image.

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**New solutions for note-taking: Graphics Tablet**

A graphics tablet can be used to enter diagrams or equations graphically alongside a PC. But requires good co-ordination skills. Still slower than writing by hand

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**New solutions for note-taking: Adapted word banks**

Project to develop a method of creating equations quickly in Word by Developing word banks to control the equation editor or maths word processor Provide shortcut to symbol tools within Word.

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**Question & Answer session**

What solutions are you using with your students? What works? What do your students need?

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**Dr Abi James Product Manager iANSYST Ltd**

Fen House Fen Road Cambridge CB4 1UN

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