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Independent Learning in the Classroom with Read&Write GOLD Assistive Technology

Author: Texthelp Systems Ltd

Published: 2010-04-15 : (Rev. 2010-07-13)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Lostock College promotes independent learning in the classroom with latest Read&Write GOLD assistive technology.

Main Digest

Lostock College promotes independent learning in the classroom with latest Read&Write GOLD assistive technology.

Teachers at Lostock College in Manchester are using the latest assistive technology to help students with special educational needs become independent learners and achieve their potential. Over a quarter of the students at the college have learning difficulties, ranging from studying English as a second language to students with dyslexia, so making educational technology accessible to all is vital.

The college has recently invested in the latest text-to-speech technology called Read&Write GOLD from Texthelp Sheila Barton, SENCO, Director of Student Support at Lostock College commented: "We are keen to provide every student with the ability to work independently with less reliance on others for support. During a full refurbishment of our SEN department, we decided it was the ideal opportunity to look at assistive software for our new computers."

The Read&Write GOLD literacy support software is designed specifically to address the needs of students with reading and writing difficulties. The software works discreetly in the background on all mainstream Windows applications to assist pupils with their reading, writing and research. The text-to-speech functionality of the software improves comprehension levels and access to the curriculum for students and contains features such as spelling support, a talking dictionary, word prediction, study skills, a translator tool, a fact mapper and talking calculator. It encourages independent and inclusive learning while helping all pupils achieve greater access to the curriculum. Read&Write also improves access to Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and Digital Exams.

Sheila continues: "A key feature of the software is that it promotes independence; students who lack confidence can use the Prediction tools to get started, while those who have ideas but have difficulties with spelling and proof-reading can work without having to signal for support at intervals. Many teachers insist that students proof-read their work before submitting it, but to a dyslexic student formulating their work, organizing it, ensuring the spelling and punctuation is correct and then revisiting their work to proof-read, is very difficult. Read&Write GOLD takes all these problems away and makes reviewing work much easier for them."

Further to supporting independent learning for students, the software is being used by staff - and not just SEN staff. The 'Fact Mapper', which allows users to produce a visual representation of ideas, has been used by the Science department at the end of each module as another way to assess a student's understanding of what they have learned. They do this by asking pupils to present their understanding using the mind-mapping tool.

Sheila continues: "With access arrangements for GCSE examinations becoming more aligned to the increasing use of ICT, Read&Write GOLD can be used by examination candidates. We will be using the software in this way as the demands of providing scribes for a number of students for examinations can be difficult to meet.

The software has promoted the independence of all our students and has helped to reduce stigma for students who do not welcome staff supporting them too closely. It is a tool which has impressed all the teachers and made the whole process of writing, reading and organizing so much easier. Dyslexic students have commented on how easy it is to use and it means a lot of their written work is now driven by the student and not the teacher."

For further information on Read&Write GOLD, please contact Elaine Emerson, Marketing Manager, on Tel: 028 9442 8105, email or visit our website

Texthelp Systems Ltd is the worldwide leader of literacy software solutions provided through three core business divisions: Education, Speech Services and Publishing. Texthelp has been developing assistive technology software for the learning disabled community since 1996. The aim has always been to provide the most comprehensive cutting-edge technology available to provide inclusive education.

Based in Antrim, N. Ireland and with offices in the US, Texthelp is currently experiencing a period of sustained year on year growth. The company has a reseller network covering over 20 countries.

Texthelp has been a Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award winning company for ten years and won numerous product, innovation and marketing awards.

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