BALABOLKA – Low Vision Aids

There is research showing that using color patterns other than the traditional black font and white background can help not only low vision readers but those with dyslexia.

Text Customization for Readers with Dyslexia

Balabolka has a very simple dialog box to change the background color, the font type and color, the selected color and the highlighted color.

The short video below, show how to use these options.

 

It has been my experience, working with students with dyslexia and those with low vision, that the color choices are best left to the person using the program.

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3g – High Tech Note Taking Utensils

Laptop

Choose a laptop that meets your needs – try the keyboard by typing a short document. In math and science courses, look at either a built in or usb numeric keypad.
For taking Pictures of the board when the lecturer is wiring formulas – a front facing camera (selfies don’t go the lecture review much good).
Look for adequate battery life – will it last through at least two back-to-back lectures without dying?
Number of USB ports – probably at least four
External microphone – most built-in laptop microphones are totally inadequate
Digital Recorder

Ease of use – optimally look for single handed operation
Features – Ability to index/bookmark, fast forward, variable speed playback, USB connectability
Size – portability and weight can be a huge factor if you’re also carrying a tome of books
Need for external microphone – test it in a classroom environment to see if it’s necessary. It might also be possible to have the recorder place with the lecturer or closer to the podium.

LiveScribe Pen

Review the different models – at the high end, you might not need the Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity
Here’s a comparison sheet for the different Livescribe models
Ensure you have sufficient quantities of either purchased or printed Livescribe paper.
Make a habit of keeping your pen charged.

 

Tablet

If you’re taking notes, a keyboard is a must.
Be familiar with the operating system and keyboard shortcuts
Make a habit of keeping your tablet charged.
If you plan to use the tablet to record, test it,
Make sure you have a front facing camera
Know how to backup to your preferred system, whether it’s the cloud or another device.
If you’re using a touchscreen, make sure you have stylus pen

SmartPhone

Have the appropriate apps loaded and up-to-date
Be familiar with their usage
If recording, check to see if an external microphone is needed
Make a habit of keeping your smartphone charged
Know how to use the front facing feature of the camera
Know how to offload your recording/notes – smartphones have a limited amount of storage

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3h – Low Tech Media

Simple paper – if you use a spiral bound notebook for different classes, ensure that you have the correct one with you. As a personal preference, I prefer three hole punch paper. This permits me to also place any handout received along with the class notes.

For copying and writing math formulas, I find that unlined paper works best. If you are creating a mindmap, you definitely want unlined or at least a graph type paper.

Write only on one side when taking notes. If when reviewing the notes there are additional annotations, they can be made on the blank side of the turned sheet. It’s possible to overlook material written on the back of a sheet when reviewing

Number each page – sequence is important.

If using a pen, ensure that the ink won’t smear or smudge as you write

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3g – High Tech Note Taking

Develop a system for taking notes. As obvious as it seems, make sure electronics are charged or the batteries are fresh. Just in case, have a charger with you and get a seat near an electrical outlet. In older classrooms, plugs may be at a premium so having your own plug you can share with others. Oh, and make sure they’re TURNED ON when the lecture starts.

Be proficient with the software or device(s) you’re using. Practice in a non-threatening environment, using your camera, digital recorder

Then review the topic the instructor is covering that day. If you’re outlining, a pre-prepared topic sheet with plenty of blank space will allow you take adequate notes. If the instructor hands out a topic sheet at the beginning of class, use that for your basic outline.

If you’re creating a visual map, you can follow the same steps as the outline; review the material beforehand and use any written materials the instructor may provide as a guide for your map.

Listen and condense what the instructor is saying – Don’t attempt to write everything verbatim

Use special abbreviations for terms that will help you speed up the physical note taking process. If you’re using a word processor, learn how to use autocorrect to expand repeated expressions. If you’re not using a word processor – look for an app that has the same functionality.

Stick to keywords and very short sentences

If taking an academic class, look for key phrases

Sit up front so if there are formulas or solutions written on the board, you can get a clear picture with whatever camera device you’re using. It will also improve the audio quality if you’re recording the lecture.

Dictater Adds Controls to Your Mac’s Text To Speech Function

Not being a iOS person (don’t own or know how to operate Apple products) I have to take this report at face value.

Dicater is an add-on app to extend the functionality of the Text to Speech function in Mac’s.BY adding the interface, the user can now pause, play, fast-forward and rewind. The most significant control, especially for those with learning disabilities, is the “Teleprompter” control.

This control adds tracking or highlighting of the words as spoken, adding a visual cue to the audio. There is a setting to font color and size. The default voice can also be changed to any other voice already installed on the system.

Dictater can be found here – http://nosrac.github.io/Dictater/

www.nptraining.net

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3f – Low Tech Note Taking

Develop a system for taking notes. As obvious as it seems, make sure your pencils are sharp and your ink pens actually have ink and you have the correct notebook or writing medium (lined/unlined paper)…etc.

Then review the topic the instructor is covering that day. If you’re outlining, a pre-prepared topic sheet with plenty of blank space will allow you take adequate notes. If the instructor hands out a topic sheet at the beginning of class, use that for your basic outline.

If you’re creating a visual map, you can follow the same steps as the outline; review the material beforehand and use any written materials the instructor may provide as a guide for your map.

Listen and condense what the instructor is saying – Don’t attempt to write everything verbatim

Use special abbreviations for terms that will help you speed up the physical note taking process.

Stick to keywords and very short sentences

If taking an academic class, look for key phrases

Sit up front so if there are formulas or solutions written on the board, you can copy them correctly

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3e – Linear vs Visual Note Taking

Linear vs Visual Note Taking

In both types of systems, during the note taking process, the verbiage should be concise – not an attempt for a transcription. Additional elaboration can occur during the post-lecture review of the notes.

Linear note taking is the process of writing down information in the order in which you receive it. The most taught technique is the outline. Starting with a main topic, indenting for a subtopic and additional indents to further layer. In traditional outlining systems, The main topics are indicated by Roman Numerals, with subtopics indented and changing to Arabic numeric, Uppercase Characters and Lowercase Characters.

Linear notes are quick and relatively straightforward to produce and reproduce. For this reason they are often used for recording information at meetings, lectures and talks.

Visual Note Taking is the process of mapping notes to resemble a tree and branch structure with ideas (lines) radiating from the main topic. It is good for visual learners and making visual connections.

Use of color to emphasize different concepts and important points can enhance the visual learners learning process.

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3c – Note Taking Low Tech

Note Taking Utensils

Sharp pencils
Ink pen – sharp or medium points – your preference
Colored Pencils – useful for emphasizing points and for visual mapping
Colored Markers – useful for emphasizing points and for visual mapping
Note Taking Media

Loose leaf 3-hole punch lined paper
Loose leaf 3-hole punch unlined paper
Spiral bound 3-hole punch single subject
Spiral bound 3-hole punch multiple tabbed
Moleskin books
Journal Book Lined
Journal Book unlined