Austen is a proactive and motivated student who uses Kurzweil 3000 effectively to support his learning. Austen is a grade 10 student at Dawson Creek Secondary School – South Peace Campus, in Dawson Creek, BC. He was referred for SET-BC services due to challenges with reading and written output because of tremors in the muscles of his eyes and spasticity of his muscles within his hands.
Even though he had always been able to successfully participate in the regular curriculum outcomes for his grade with adaptations, he had reached a point in Junior High where he could no longer keep up with the demands of the grade 8 and 9 curriculum.
Austen’s grade 8 teachers were beginning to feel that the adaptations were becoming so all encompassing, that there was question about how to continue to support him in the regular program. He was referred for service in cycle 2 of 2011, because his team felt that if he had access to a laptop with Kurzweil 3000 and Co:Writer 6, he would be able to independently meet the reading and writing demands of grade level curriculum.
Our expectations for success for Austen have been greatly exceeded, as not only is he able to keep up with the demands of the Grade 10 curriculum, he is also acting as a peer mentor and technology specialist for many other students who need assistance with the use of Kurzweil 3000 and Co:Writer 6 in grades 8 – 12. Austen has offered to demonstrate during Kurzweil Kamps, and is often called upon within his new school setting to demonstrate a procedure, like extracting notes and highlighted text, or just to help trouble shoot for a new user who needs guidance within the tools of the program. Since School District 59 has purchased 30 networked copies of Kurzweil 3000, there is a definite need for shared expertise with the use of this program. Austen is also called upon by teachers and support staff alike, who need assistance with these and other programs.
The team has noticed a marked improvement in Austen’s confidence and self-esteem since his mastery of these tools, and his ability to share his knowledge with staff and students. His friendly nature and intuitive sense of how to demonstrate these tools, has made him an invaluable part of the Kurzweil team at SPSS. Peers are more willing to accept assistance from Austen because he is very approachable, laid back and yet gifted at demonstrating this to others. Peers often tend to accept assistance more readily from each other and this fact has made this model so powerful within the South Peace Campus.
Austen has found creative ways to use technology to support his learning and appears to have found an incredible strength within as he shares his expertise with his SET-BC Tools for Success.