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/


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

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3b – Note Taking Technology

There is low technology and high technology.

Low technology could go all the way back to the caveman chipping pictures into stone, but more than likely it’s pencil and paper. Simple, no power needs and available almost anywhere. Sometimes the simple solution might be the best. Higher tech from this would be substituting a pen for the pencil. We’ve been trained to use this type of technology for most of our lives. Downsides would be the inability to easily share, legibility and durability.

High technology solutions would include laptops, netbooks and tablets. Dependent upon the type of software, note-taking could be done in outline format, visual mapping or some combination. Pro’s would be easily shared, legible and easily backed up. Downside would be ease of use, loss of power and unfamiliarity with the technology.

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3a – Note Taking

Lecture review using a digital recording by simply listening is one method of review. Tying the audio with self-generated notes gives more reinforcement.

Generally there are two types of note-taking – Linear and Visual. There will be further posts about these as well as using technology vs. hand-writing to generate your notes.

Some guidelines summarized from Writing@CSU


  • Review your notes from the previous class.
  • Keep up with your reading/homework so you’re not lost when class starts
  • Prepare questions for the teacher based on your reading/homework/previous class notes.

During the Lecture

  • Write on one side of the paper. (Use the back for sketching graphs/charts/pictures/timelines, writing questions, summarizing, making notes to yourself later.)
  • Don’t worry about creating elaborate outlines–just keep main ideas and examples together.
  • Don’t worry about spelling or handwriting (as long as you can read it).

After the Lecture

  • Instead of recopying your notes, review them within 24 hours. (Short-term memory deteriorates quickly, and you lose 50%-80% of the material if you don’t review.)
  • Annotate your notes. (Mark what’s important, add page numbers from textbook, etc.)

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 3 – Digital Recorders

Actually recording a lecture can help with the review and learning. Knowing that there is an audio backup available, can allow the student to concentrate on the lecture and the concepts and fnoormulas being presented. By focusing on making sure the formulas are recorded on the note-taking device, the recording can be used to further review the material.

There are several different types of recording devices, a straight forward portable digital voice recorder and a device keyed to the notes (LiveScribe).

Portable Digital Voice Recorder

Look for the following features: ease of operation, ability to transfer to a computer, an index or bookmark feature, folders, fairly long battery life and memory enough to hold at least eight hours of recording.

In the past, I’ve use the Olympus WS-310 recorder (built-in USB connection, one AAA battery, able to operate single handed…). That model may not be still available, but look for similar features in whatever device you look for.


The LiveScribe is a digital recorder but also allows you to key the recording to your written notes. It does require special paper (which can be printed on your own printer), but has the flexibility of indexing and rechargeable.

Rather than having to scan through the recording to locate the instructor talking about the specific problem, you can tap the LiveScribe on the note and it will automatically begin playback at that point.

Using the recorder(s) does mean that the student needs one additional skill – we’ll save that for Part 3a

September Unemployment Report – A look at disabiltiy rates

Disability Unemployment September 2015

On the First Friday of every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases an updated employment situation for the previous month. A more in-depth look at the data not usually reported by the MSM.

Almost 80% of the population with a disability are still not in the Labor Force versus 30% for the population without a disability.

September Unemployment (NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED)

Persons with a Disability

Participation Rate 19.1 (2015) vs 20.1 (2014)
Unemployment Rate 10.4 (2015) vs 12.3 (2014)

Persons without a Disability

Participation Rate 68.2 (2015) vs 68.5 (2014)
Unemployment Rate 4.7 (2015) vs 5.5 (2014)

Table A-6, Employment Situation September 2015

Further Thoughts on Math Sequencing and Dyslexia Part 2 – Flowcharting

Flowcharts for math problems are one way to define a solution to a generic problem. In “traditional” use a flowchart is used to program a computer. But in general terms, if a machine can be taught to solve a problem over and over again, there is no reason a student cannot use the same steps to solve the problem. One added benefit for the “human” student is that the teacher can help them apply the steps to a series of increasingly complex problems that are similar but follow the same algorithm.

An example of a flow chart lesson plan for problem solving can be found here: Flowcharting: A Method of Problem Solving


Some programs which can help with flow charting

Microsoft –PowerPoint, Visio



A number of programs designed specifically for flowcharting can be found here