Thirteen students from grades 4 to 12 attended a Kurzweil Camp recently in Kamloops. The students came from seven elementary schools and two high schools. Some of the students have used Kurzweil 3000 for years; others were using it for the first time. The purpose of the camp, besides having a lot of fun, was for students to become as independent as possible using the Kurzweil 3000 software.
Kurzweil helps students with decoding, reading comprehension and writing. In this full-day workshop, students learned how to adjust the reading speed and voices in Kurzweil; how to scan handouts into Kurzweil; how to create and answer comprehension questions using Kurzweil’s footnote and voice note tools; how to use the bookmark and definitions tools; how to set up the program so that two documents will appear on the computer screen at the same time (this allows questions and the source material to be viewed simultaneously); how to use highlighting as a study and review technique; and how the Hyperlink tool can be used to take a student directly to a web page to find more information on a specific subject.
Students were particularly excited about two of Kurzweil’s many features. First they were delighted to find that they could drag and drop text between documents in Kurzweil 3000. This means that students can use selected text from a textbook to assist them in answering questions in teachers’ hand-outs or questions from the textbook itself. Secondly, the students enjoyed using the Voice Note tool. Voice Notes allow students to record their own words and embed the recordings right in a scanned document.
Throughout the day, the students worked through challenging, hands-on tasks. Although each student came to the camp with an adult support person, the students were encouraged to do as much of the work as they could on their own. Not only did the students learn a lot about Kurzweil 3000, they also learned about specific topics of interest (Cats, Dinosaurs, Saturn, Bald Eagles and Porcupines). When asked what they thought of the camp, students and adults alike responded that “it was great”.
Kurzweil Camps are one type of student activity days that are being offered throughout the province. If you are interested in having your students attend one of these popular days, please contact your regional SET-BC consultant.