I wrote a brief review for each of the software products in the discovery exercises. My software selections will be posted in the discussion board. I hope this is what we were supposed to do for the blog!
Inspiration: The Inspiration software is created by the Inspiration Software company. The price is $69.00 for a single license and $895.00 for 20 licenses. This software is designed to be used primarily for educators to assist students by providing visual tools that can help students learn in a variety of ways. The software is designed for students in Grades 6-12, although Kidspiration is also available for students in grades K-5. This software seems like a great resource for teachers. It helps teachers to create story maps, graphic organizers, charts, pictures, exercises, etc. that will help students to learn in a variety of ways. I really liked the various options it has and the website provides examples of lesson plans that help teachers get an idea of what the software can do. I am going to look into purchasing this item for my own use. I think it can help teachers become more creative and appeal to the varying learning styles of our students.
Kurzweil 3000: The Kurzweil 3ooo is a software that is created by Kurzweil Education Systems. This product comes in three different versions. The learn station is $395.00 and allows the students to open documents from the Internet or those that are already on the computer. The Color Learning pack is $1495.00 and allows students to scan items into the computer in black and white or in color. The Black and Write Learning pack is $1095 and allows the user to scan items into the computer in black and white only. This is tool that allows students to instruct the computer to read documents aloud. I am going to be requesting a similar tool to this. I think that this is an excellent tool to have for students who are visually impaired or students with learning disabilities. It helps students to make meaning of text and decipher unknown words.
Windows Demonstrations: These assistive technology devices are provided by Microsoft and are mostly included in Windows packages. I never knew that there was an Ease of Access section in the control panel. This area helps users who may have disabilities that impair how they are using the computer. This section has a tool that allows the user to input information about themselves. The tutorial then goes through and recommends settings that can help the user. This includes magnifier, adjusting displays and settings to make the screen easier to see, changing text sizes, having words read aloud, functioning with the keyboard and the mouse, functioning without the keyboard and mouse, speech recognition, and much more. I was amazed to see how many adaptations are available on my computer. I tried some of these out and found that they were actually useful to me. Sometimes more advanced software may be needed, but it is helpful to know that these are available if necessary.
Infoeyes: This is a free program that allows users with visual impairments to contact a librarian and ask him or her anything. The system uses iVocalize software to allow the user to make contact with the librarian. This seems like a useful tool for students who may have visual impairments. It allows the user to speak with someone and ask reference or other important questions. I thought this was a great tool that every educator should know about.
After looking at a few options available, I can see how these tools would help students with various disabilities. I was glad that we got the chance to examine some of these useful tools!