Ms.Otto, Special Education Teacher from Chambers County Schools, Valley, AL

Ms.Otto, Special Education Teacher provided the following feedback, Feb 2017

Thank you so much for the trial use of the Reader Pen.

The Reader Pen was a very helpful tool for a student on my case load who has very low reading skills.

This student has assistive technology services in their IEP that states that textbooks will be provided through alternate read aloud versions (CD, online, etc.). This sounds good in the best-case scenario but in reality, some of the books are old and do not have read aloud versions. There also goes for many classroom, homework, and assessment documents that do not have read aloud versions. Without available technology at hand the general education and special education teachers must provide these services via other means such as reading to the student, providing a peer helper to read, or make recordings. This also adds the loss of instructional time element involved in developing these services.

I have been working with this student in the Resource Room to get caught up on history assignments (there is a lot of it) and I have to read everything in order to assure understanding and comprehension of material; often stopping to define unfamiliar words or to repeat text. If I need to assist other students, then the work for this student stops until I return because this student cannot complete the assignment without auditory assistance. The performance in the general education classroom also mirrors this scenario thus resulting in a significant negative impact on his academic performance.

When the Reader Pen was brought to me to try with a student I immediately knew who needed it the most. I introduced the Reader Pen to this student and went over the package directions to assure proper use.

After a few minutes of practice time the student was ready to begin the assignment.

Using the headphone jack, the student used the pen to scan text in the textbook and worksheet, listen to the playback, and was able to answer the questions independently. This was the first time this student had actually given me a solid answer to a question and the first time the work was completed without assistance.

The following day the student returned to my room requesting to use the pen and went straight to work without the need to be instructed.

I thought the pen was an absolutely wonderful way to complete work independently. It is small and inconspicuous which reduces negative attention and with using the headphones reduces student generated distractions for other students.

No matter what text media is presented the Reader Pen would be a tool the student could use for any assignment especially when given assignments that do not have auditory capabilities. The Reader Pen allows this student will be able to function independently which significantly levels the learning field.

OT's with Apps & Technology Review

The C-Pen Reader Pen is a new scanning pen developed by Scanning Pens LTD now available in the US. A recent purchase of the pen found it easy to use, fast and accurate. Trial on a variety of font sizes from dense 10 point textbook print to newspaper ads to worksheet print at 12-15 point found it accurate with all print trial. A light turns on when scanning assisting with guiding the user with text being scanned. Placement for starting and stopping a scan captured all of the print without missed words or letters. Only when I tried to scan very fast with less control did inaccuracies result. I was also able to scan line after line quite quickly, resulting in it reading one line at a time in succession. Controls on the pen also allows the user to move the cursor to prior lines of text to review and use text to speech to read additional lines of scanned text.

The C-Pen Reader Pen comes with a micro USB charging cord, earbuds and a case. It is small, making it easily portable for use in a variety of environments. Although targeted for individuals with sight, it can be used on text that has been highlighted (worked on yellow, pink and orange highlighted text accurately using highlighting pens) by individuals with low vision.

My initial trials found this pen to be highly accurate scanning and reading medical (OT textbook) and news correctly with text to speech output. Fast and easy to use, I would again consider recommending use of this new model C-Pen Reading pen for spot reading for individuals with decoding challenges.

PAT ENRIGHT, LEARNING SUPPORT TEACHER/PRINCIPAL FROM OOLA NATIONAL SCHOOL

Completed by Pat Enright

Learning Support Teacher 2016/2017 -  Supporting Jack who has severe Dyslexia and other cognitive processing difficulties.

Our school is located in a village about 30 km from Limerick City. It is a Primary School in a rural setting with mixed enrolment of about 100 pupils ranging in age from 4 to 12. Yrs.

We were delighted to get the Reader Pen in June as it helped Jack with end of year assessments when he became familiar with its use. It enabled Jack to understand what text the assessment presented for answering.

Once Jack became familiar with the C Pen his confidence grew as he was enabled to hear the question read back to him by the C pen. His esteem heightened as this was a new step in his independent answering. Without the device, Jack would not have been able to read the text in the questions on his own.

The pen was easy to use once charged with simple menus for ease of operation. The protection case is a great storage facility as is the whole packaging box to store the charging device. The female voice is clear and concise but the text has to be accurately scanned for best results. Size wise it is good for a pupil’s hand but a tad too small if operated by an adult. It is light in weight which again is advantageous for a pupil.

Jack uses the C pen mainly to read and decipher difficult text. His third week back at school and he has begun to the Dictionary facility. A big advantage is the volume control which can be reduced if he is doing some independent work in a group situation.

Less teacher contact time has resulted as Jack manages more on his own to work independently. As he faces his final year in Primary School he is facing more word problems in Maths and I’m sure this will benefit him greatly in his understanding of the problems.

The C pen has been of benefit in the school office as paragraphs of text do not have to be cut and pasted and copied to reduce the amount of text. Now Jack uses the pen to read the marked paragraphs with the salient points.

Other pupils are keen to use the C pen as they see Jack working independently and they are only too eager to use the device to help with their Literacy issues.

I consider the C pen to be an innovative device with great facilities and easy to use. So far it has helped mainly Jack and also some other learners to become independent and so open up the great world of learning to them.

It is a wonderful learning tool with many pupils eager to use it to assist with Literacy and Numeracy.

Heather Minton, Head of Learning Support from Beau Soleil, Switzerland


Beau Soleil is an International boarding school situated in the Swiss Alps. The school has a French section and the students are working towards the French Baccalaureate (lessons taught in French) and an International Section in which the students are working towards IGCSE and International Baccalaureate exams (lessons taught in English). The age range is from 12 to 18 years old and there are 240 students in the school, the majority of whom are boarders. The school attracts mainly attracts students whose mother tongue is not English.

I first saw Reader Pens at the ECIS conference in Nice where I was given a demonstration of the pen. My initial reaction was how the students would be able to use it discretely in class and also its use in exam situations.

We ordered a number of pens over the year after trialling a couple. Students were very positive about the pens and found them very easy to use. Initially I found them a bit fiddly, trying to move my way around the different options, but the students soon showed me what to do! One student was so delighted with the pen that he purchased his own.

One feature I found very useful was that I was able to go back and look at which words the students had ‘read’ using the pen. I was then able to use these words to practise their reading at another time.

We used one of the reader pens for an IGCSE maths exam in place of a human reader. It saved us time and money in that we did not have to use a member of staff to sit with the student to read the occasional word that came up. We are planning to use the pens more frequently in exam situations this year and are hoping that the IB board will recognise them so we can use them for the IB exams [The C-Pen Exam Reader is now approved for use in IB exams, please contact us for more information if required]. This would have a big impact on our staffing. As the exam pens are orange they are easily recognised in exam situations.

Students were allocated a pen and asked to sign a paper to say what condition it was in and that they would pay to replace it if they broke it. In fact, the pens were returned at the end of the year in excellent condition.

Staff have found the pens to be useful and do not disrupt the class. Students like to use them when doing independent study when there is no one around to help them.

An improvement for me would be to do similar pens in French and Spanish [The C-Pen Exam Reader now (Sept 2016) supports English, French, Italian, Spanish & German, The C-Pen Reader currently (Sept 2016) supports English & Spanish.].

I would definitely recommend reader pens to other colleagues.

Gillian Sams, Head of Learning Support (Senior School) from Tanglin Trust School, Singapore provided the following feedback about the C-Pen Exam Reader & C-Pen Reader:

Describe your school:

TTS has more than 90 years’ experience of providing British based education to the international community in Singapore, we provide a unique learning environment for children from Nursery right through to Sixth Form (3-18 years).

Did you have the opportunity to trial the pen before purchase?

Yes, we trialled the C610E Exam Reader and C610R Reader Pen scanner with students from Y7-13 before purchasing some exam pens.

If you did trial the pen what was the main reason for going ahead with an order?

The C610E Exam Reader pen was superior to another model of exam pen that we trialled.

Have the students expressed any comments or thoughts on the Exam Reader/Reader?

The reading pens have been a big hit with our dyslexic students. They love the discrete nature of them and the increased independence that they offer.

Within the classroom environment have teaching and support staff noticed any positive outcomes for the students?

Teachers and learning support assistants have been very enthusiastic about the introduction of the reading pens. They like the fact that the students can use headphones and work independently.

In what capacity is the pen mainly being used for?

The pens are being used to access text in class. They are also being used for internal tests in KS3. Next year, we intend to use the reading pens for mock examinations and if they are successful, where permissible, for external examinations.

How would you describe your students’ emotional well-being and independence in relation to the Exam Reader/Reader pen?

For students who have specific difficulties decoding text, the exam pens have been invaluable in raising their self-esteem, as the pens have allowed them to understand the subject content independently. They have not been useful for those students who do not understand the meaning of the written word.

Has the pen had any direct business/financial impacts on the school? I.E. staffing, time management etc?

The reading pens have made the logistics of staffing internal tests easier. Before the introduction of the reading pens, support staff were pulled out of class to act as readers.

Would you recommend the pen to other colleagues?

Yes, I already have! The junior school learning support team is conducting its own trial.

Any other comments you would like to add?

One of our sixth formers has persuaded her parents to buy her a pen. She feels that it will be an invaluable tool for university!

Reader Pen Trial by Stephanie Connolly, Learning Support Teacher (Primary) at Kings School Al Barsha

 

Describe your school?

British school within the Middle East following the British curriculum, international student population, located in Dubai, school ranges from FS to secondary.

Did you trial the Reader initially, if so, what “review process” did you follow and what conclusions did you draw?

We trialled the Reader pen as we thought this would be very beneficial for the majority of our dyslexic students. We trialled it within classroom settings, 1:1 work and during standardised assessments. We reviewed the comments of the children about the Reader and also took into consideration the practicality of the pen during assessments and whether results differed from when the assessment was done without the pen.

The conclusions we drew upon were that the pen showed successful integration into the work environment in both classroom and assessment settings. The pen was easily managed by the children and provided a confidence boost for those children who struggle with de-coding, reading long texts and also for those children who are new to learning the English language. The Exam Pen is also being trialled within secondary on the lead up to GCSE’s, this has been successful so far and will be implemented during GCSE exams.

What do you most like about the Exam Reader/Reader?

Its compact style, the manoeuvrability and adaptability within various settings and the confidence boost it has provided those children we have used the pen with.  

Please describe how you are using the Exam Reader/Reader?

Within the classroom, 1:1, reading groups, specialist lessons such as dyslexia intervention sessions and with assessments.

Please describe how the use of the Exam Reader/Reader has affected your students?

The Reader automatically boosted our children’s confidence, it almost allowed them to relax when provided with the pen. Our students within our LS department have shown a high level of comprehension knowledge when provided with a reader but struggle individually with reading fluency, speed and de-coding and will most often avoid reading activities. The pen took away those stresses that they have built up with regards to reading, within one particular standardised assessment the child showed a significant increase in his results when re-assessed with the reader pen; the comprehension standardised score went from 82 to 124 when the pen was implemented.

What do the students say about the pen?

Students have said how helpful the pen has been, how it allows them to highlight one piece of text and then go back and listen back to the whole text, providing them the ability of ‘re-reading’, the children also said that they were happy to do a reading activity when the pen was provided.

Please describe any other areas in school you feel the Exam Reader/Reader has helped?

Standardised scores for in school assessments. GCSE exams within Kings.

How likely are you to recommend the Exam Reader/Reader to others?

I would highly recommend the reader pen to any school who is aiming to become a dyslexia friendly school. I would also recommend the pen to parents who have children with reading difficulties to increase their confidence and comprehension ability.