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Independence Through Technology

Scanview Enlargement system

The Scanview system is one of the most successful solutions developed by CSB for children with severe low vision. This system, developed over a period of two years, is a targeted solution for elementary school age children from 3rd grade and up.

Low vision or dyslexic students are challenged in many ways. They cannot read their text books or worksheets, and cannot read what they themselves have written. Consequently, they cannot keep up with the material being taught in class.

Some such challenged students employ a CCTV (color video magnifier), which is a device that enlarges texts that are passed beneath its camera. Experience has shown, however, that 3rd graders struggle with the CCTV device. Furthermore, a CCTV is impractical [for users of all ages] in the case of complex textbooks which contain various compartmentalized bodies of text in each page. Thirdly, writing is very difficult with this method.

CSB developed its Scanview system in response to these difficulties. CSB had been working with a second grader by re-typesetting and enlarging all her school materials. While this solution was effective through second grade, by third grade the volume of material made this impossible. The Scanview project was developed as a response to her challenge.

This system allows CSB to scan a student’s textbooks in their entirety before the school year begins. The software is used on a pen-based tablet computer similar to an Ipad, but controlled by a pen. When the teacher announces, “Open your math books to page 110,” the visually impaired child types “M110” into a specially designed keypad, which brings up the desired page. The page can then be magnified to any size. Additionally, there are dozens of special keys provided, which allow the user to bookmark parts of the page, read across multiple screen widths of text easily, and easily navigate within the page and between pages. [There is also much time saved and frustration averted since the visually impaired individual does not have to find the book, nor need locate the page by using the CCTV.]

The beauty of the system, however, lies in its pen. Students worksheets are scanned into the system and the student can write his or her answers on the tablet in whatever size is necessary for them to read their writing. Once they complete their work, they print out the page at the standard size. Their worksheet now appears like every other worksheet in the class. When the student needs to return to the worksheet, it is automatically enlarged to the necessary size.

Here is a quote about the CSB Scanview System from Dr. Christine Roman of the Western Pennsylvania Hospital, a world renowned expert on cortical vision impairment:

“Sara has received direct instruction from Computer Services for the Blind (CSB). They provided a Tablet Writer, which Sara has been motivated to use. The instruction on this computer device is intended for both reading and writing. The device allows Sara to access information from books used in class as well as for producing written assignments. Sara demonstrated her use of the Tablet Writer during our session today. She primarily used her left hand to activate keys and an accurate look and reach for most activities. It is clear that the Tablet Writer is an appropriate device for Sara and one that does permit her the greatest access to literacy. Like any child with special needs, it is critical that Sara’s instruction not only provides her with specialized adaptations but also permit methodologies that ensure future vocational skills. Individuals who have cognitive capabilities similar to Sara’s find technology to be a critical factor for their future success. It was encouraging to also learn that an instructor from CSB provides direct instruction to both Sara and to her teaching assistant in order to provide smooth transitions from learning to application of the Tablet Writer.”
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