Wednesday, 24 March 2010


Sorry but due to Specific Blogging Difficulties (personal) I have been unable to update this past week. I hope to return shortly.

# end

Thursday, 18 March 2010

18. Note taking

As the website so clearly puts it, "A.nnotate is an online annotation, collaboration and indexing system for documents and images, supporting PDF and MS Office formats. Instead of emailing different versions of a document back and forth (e.g. with a tutor) you can now all comment on a single read-only copy online. Unlike online word processors, the document is displayed in high quality with fonts and layout just like the printed version. It is easy to use and runs in all common web browsers, with no software or plugins to install." I have no more to add (except I am curious about that "magnifier"!)


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

17. Dyslexia friendly

I decided to look up "dyslexia friendly" on the internet, just to see what appeared, thinking there may be something with respect to ICT. I am delighted to say that I found this - the section on "Using ICT to support dyslexic pupils" in the BDA's Dyslexia Friendly Schools pack.

Dyslexia Friendly ICT

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

16. Useful websites

Most of us take YouTube for granted. But it can be a little daunting for some. So here is a very brief introduction to how to get started in what is often seen as a sea (see?) of confusion.

Using YouTube

Monday, 15 March 2010

15. Search and research

Intute is a great site for researching subjects, putting a lot of material in one place. Unfortunately, there is a question of sustainability beyond August 2010. But at least until then, it should be a good source of information. In particular, look at the Internet training.


Sunday, 14 March 2010

14. Computer hardware - Monitors

While many are heading for smaller and lighter laptops, do not dismiss the joy of using large screens. The latest from Dell is a a 24 inch high spec screen for $339 (£260/€290)with a massive 1920 x 1080 resolution. We are not talking about size for the sake of it. To me this is equivalent of having the floor space to spread everything out and see it (every document) all at the same time. So I no longer have to remember what is where.

Of course I did see a computer lecturer with three 24 inch screen last week. But that would be greedy, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it?

Dell 24 inch monitor

Saturday, 13 March 2010

13. Supporting students

I was desparately looking for a video to recommend which had ideas about study and support. I reviewed far too many which were just inappropriate. Then I suddenly realised that I was going about it the wrong way. Instead of having them watch a video, why not ask the student to make a video on "Study Tips for Friends" or similar. That will require planning and understand what they need to do. So use it as a method to help them understand themselves better. Here is one short example.

Tips for studying

Friday, 12 March 2010

12. Books to download

According to the Guardian, there are now more ebooks to download onto the iPhone (27,000) than there are games (25,400). And with the iPad set to launch next month, are we going to see the start of the accessible book age? A nice thought, but there is still a long way to go from 27,000 books that are mostly free and fiction to the provision of school and university text books that are mainstream. But while luddite authors and publishers talk about protecting their profits in a world where their products can be more easily photocopied that you can copy a music CD, it is easy to see the author of the future writing for an e-publisher, and then you can pay for and download a technical book in the same way as you do with music. And the author gets paid the same way as a musician. And illegal reproduction? If I pay for it, watermark it with my name, and that will limit any urge to pass it on.

Here is another budding ebooks site - Getfreebooks

Thursday, 11 March 2010

11. User preferences

Here are ten tips about preferences, from Dyslexia in the Digital Age:
1. Where the e-learning environment can be changed, change it.
2. Provide feedback to designers and content managers about the dyslexia-friendly nature (or not!) of their website.
3. Where modifications cannot be made in the learning environment, see if it can be copied and pasted into another program such as Microsoft Word.
4. Talk to other users of the program.
5. For chat and messaging, try composing in Microsoft Word (with their spellchecker) and then copying into the chat zone.
6. If the site is password protected, make sure it is written down in several obvious places.
7. Make printouts wherever possible. These are often easier to annotate.
8. Use text-to-speech to access content, if necessary copying the text into another environment.
9. If it does not work, do not assume that it is only you that has the problem.
10. Do not assume that everything has to be done by the computer.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

10. Comments - Policies

I do get some feedback from readers, but not a huge amount. But today I would like to make a specific request. What do you think should be in legislation with respect to technology and dyslexia that would be fair and easy to implement? This is not an empty questions, but one that will feed a project I am looking to pull together with respected friends and colleagues across Europe.

You can either email me direct, or post a comment here.


Tuesday, 9 March 2010

09. E-Readers

This website does a short review of a series of e-readers, asking if the iPad is overprices and has a place.

Lifehacker E-reader comparisons

Monday, 8 March 2010

08. Website of the week

I almost put this into the text-to-speech section, but decided that web of the week may be a better description. Basically it is a huge resource for, yes you guessed it, text to speech. Sorry, but you just have to look!

Text-to-speech comparisons

Sunday, 7 March 2010

07. Speech to text 2

There was a lot of fanfare last week about the wider introduction of speech-to-text as captioning on YouTube, and finally I found a website that explained it! Unfortunately the service is not available on all videos. But, I hear you say, why would a dyslexic individual be interested. Because this is a step along the technical path. Imagine that instead of watching somebody's video, you uploaded a lecture and you then had access to that text! At the moment, from what I have seen so far, you cannot download the wording, and the text quality is very dependent on sound quality. But the principle is there and worth following.

YouTube Speech to text

Saturday, 6 March 2010

06. Text-to-speech

Ever wondered where you could find some more voices for your text-to-speech, or maybe run it in a different language. Here is a website that give you the change to download free (or commercial if you want) voice for your tts software.

Text-to-speech Voices

Friday, 5 March 2010

05. Speech to text

I confess to being slightly confused by this one! There are five peices of speech-to-text software reviewed on this page. Yet to get to it, I went past their reveiw of the Windows 7 speech-to-text, which is not included.

Five reviews

Windows 7 speech-to-text

Thursday, 4 March 2010

04. Organising - Evernote

Evernote, the way to "remember everything" has undergone a number of transformations recent. It is well worth another look.


Wednesday, 3 March 2010

03. Dyslexia in different languages

This is both a signpost to information, and a request. For some time I have had this webpage with information for parents in different languages. If anybody can supply other languages (currently in Brazilian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Polish and Romanian), I would be grateful.

WDNF About dyslexia

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

02. Transcription

I tend to avoid trying to transcribe a sound or video file as I can never keep up. But I have just been told about a piece of free transcription software that could help type up lecture recordings. It works by slowing down the playing, having an auto-rewind function (for when it gets too far ahead) and cue points.

Monday, 1 March 2010

01. Writing

As the website says "Ghotit intelligent, context spell checker developed by dyslexics for dyslexics" It also says "Spelling is an integral part of the writing process. Confidence in spelling often has a profound effect on a writer's self-image. With Ghotit, you can write confidently, continuing to misspell as you always have, but with the confidence that Ghotit is there with you to review your writing and offer the right spelling text corrections."