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Screen readers that cope with Spanish? Help for VI student?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by westnab, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. westnab

    westnab New commenter

    I am teaching Spanish GCSE to a VI student whose vision has significantly deteriorated recently. She used to be able to cope with font size 36, but now cannot read text at all. She is learning Braille but will not master it quickly enough.

    For all her other subjects (this is a standard mainstream comprehensive - I am not a VI specialist in the slightest...) she has an ipad in class which reads the things she clicks to her, so subject teachers email her work, she clicks on it, it reads it. Problem is, the terrible American accent makes my subject totally inaccessible to her independently. Her LSA has to read everything to her (which is just about feasible when we get the lady who does know some Spanish, but when not...)

    I have done a bit of research but haven't come up with anything that can cope with a worksheet which is in two languages (if she turns a screen reader into Spanish mode (if it has one), then it will read everything she does/clicks in Spanish.

    Any suggestions? Many thanks.
  2. karaka

    karaka New commenter

    I am very interested in this topic too as one of my year 9s who can only read font 24 is taking GCSE. What are you doing re dictionaries?
  3. GordonNome

    GordonNome New commenter

    Can you pre-record the instructions onto MP3? I use my smartphone for private tutoring and record conversation etc onto that. Would not recommend using your own phone, of course, but could you get a simple MP3 player funded so that you can record onto that and she can listen? Also you should then be able to pre-record files and send them to her.

    Think you can do this within Powerpoints as well so that you click on the word and it "reads" it. Actually I think it plays a pre-recorded file. Would be quite a lot of work to set up initially I expect, but maybe you could get someone to help adapt existing worksheets/powerpoints? If you have a 6th form at your school then I would be tempted to set this as a challenge for them for just one class (but I expect that would breach a guideline or two somewhere!)
  4. GordonNome

    GordonNome New commenter

  5. GordonNome

    GordonNome New commenter

    Another thought on the subject of dictionaries and other resources - cant you get a magnifier? My much esteemed and very elderly grandmother has an apparatus which she holds over a book page in order to magnify it. This won't work for the student who cannot read text at all, of course, but may help the one who needs font 24.

    Some of the prices make you wince, but if it were something which could be used by several students, or by the same student in several subjects then it may not seem so bad.


    Much cheaper is this option www.amazon.co.uk/.../ref=sr_1_1 but clearly not so robust and possibly not suited to students with severe VI.

    or this one looks similar to the one my grandmother uses

  6. spellmaster

    spellmaster New commenter

    This may not be of much help but...

    Word on the PC has a Text to Speech feature "Speak".

    On this you have to set the "Proofing Language" for any foreign language sections.to get the text read in the correct language . I would suspect that Apple Pages has a similar feature. Get your IT technicians to have a look

    If anyone is interested in the word version I've put a demo on my site word document here

    To get it to work you need to have Speak installed - instructions

    ...and have installed the languages you are going to use - instructions
  7. westnab

    westnab New commenter

    Thanks to all for your suggestions. I didn't know about the Speak function on Word, so will definitely investigate that - many thanks!

    As for mp3 - I might use the FLA here, as it seems a little too labour intensive for just me to record every text and every exercise in advance. Good idea about the 6th form - that might tick some box for them too, in the voluntary/community experience thing they have to do.

    With regards to dictionaries, Karaka, she simply has to ask someone else to do it for her. We do have a large print dictionary, but it is still far too small for even what she used to be able to see. She can't see letters at all now, so even a magnifier is out of the question. It used to have to be Arial Black too, as most fonts were not bold/thick enough. I rarely use the textbook with that class as it meant having to type the whole page out so I could blow it up in the correct font. The lack of dictionary means she is totally unable to expand her vocabulary independently, nor is she able to record it in a particularly useful way. This is really holding her back.

    She is an unusual case I suspect, as most people with her lack of vision will be Braille readers, but this deterioration has come on too quickly for her to learn in time. I imagine this is why I am struggling for solutions.

    My major concern is that I have heard via the SEN dept, that AQA will not allow her LSA to read the texts in the reading exam to her, but I need to check this myself. If a computer has to read it to her, it's going to be like a mega hard and artificial listening exam...! I really hope my SEN dept are wrong...
  8. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    On your behalf I asked another forum about Visual-Impairment-friendly foreign-language text-to-speech software and received two suggestions so far:

    Penfriend: http://www.penfriend.biz/

    Dolphin: http://www.yourdolphin.com/productdetail.asp?id=5&z=24

    Both come with a wide choice of languages. If you're interested in the professional literature relating to MFL learners with VI, follow the link "Documentation" next to "Foreign language learners with additional needs" on my website at http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/home/languages. It includes a list of MFL/VI references, a case study and MFL-specific advice from RNIB.

    Hope this helps.

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