Jacob is a lively and passionate grade 7 student at École North Oyster Elementary in Nanaimo. He has a diagnosis of autism but what defines him most is his unique sense of humor and his passion for technology. He has an inquisitive mind and enjoys learning but his written output rarely matches his knowledge and capabilities. Staying on task and focused is another challenge.
Jacob’s teacher, Helen Fall, approached the school’s Speech-Language Pathologist, Madeleine Ware-Jud, at the beginning of the Grade 7 year inquiring if technology could open that door for this promising youngster. During a trial session, Jacob took to Kurzweil 3000 like a fish takes to water. His mind was focused and sharp like a steel trap, and he independently figured out how the reading and writing tools work. His enthusiasm, focus and technology skills made him a perfect candidate for the kind of support that SET-BC provides to districts.
In March 2015 a plain brown box arrived. What wasn’t plain was the contents. The box contained the SET-BC laptop loaded with Kurzweil 3000; a helpful tool that would support his writing.
Next came the training session with the SET-BC consultant. Within an hour, Jacob learned to use the KESI Virtual Printer to print articles into Kurzweil allowing him to highlight main and supporting ideas, extract those ideas into an outline, and use split screen and word prediction to write his own text. Jacob was on fire! The team brainstormed ideas on how the computer could be used as a whole class teaching tool. They decided that while brainstorming or reviewing a topic, the computer would be hooked up to a projector and Kurzweil would be projected onto the screen. Jacob will use a blank brainstorm template to record the class’s answers on a topic/theme they are working on as a whole group.
The computer has now been in the classroom for just over a month. His classroom teacher reported, “Jacob has had his computer working so hard that most days he runs the battery dry before the end of the school day. He is busy finding many ways to use his new found technology and skills to show what he knows and feels very good about it. The technology has motivated Jacob to complete many tasks that he was unable to do in the past. I am so thrilled to see Jacob so happy and tuned in to learning at school. This is a true success story!”
When asked about the technology Jacob said, “I think the computer is very useful to me because I am able to use it to work anywhere also my writing isn’t that good and the computer helps me by making the letters perfect so everybody can understand what I am trying to say. I hope more kids get this kind of technological advantage in the future.”
The technology allows him to WRITE. REREAD. EDIT. REWRITE with ease. With amazing ideas and super technology skills a writer is (being) built! We can’t wait to see what Jacob writes next!