Kathryn Ramage, Principal Teacher Pupil Support from Hawick High School provided the following feedback about the C-Pen Reader:

Describe your school

Role of 1000 pupils, deprivation area with identified index of need

Ages 11-18

Semi-rural location in an area where unemployment rates are high and industry has declined therefore job opportunities limited

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

The reader was trialled over a 7 month period originally with pupils in the Scottish BGE phase (secondary 1-3 ages 11- 14)

We used data from the Midyis S2 assessment screener to identify pupils who would benefit from a literacy intervention to support needs

We used data from the start of the project and compared to data at the end of the trial. We also monitored effects on pupil confidence with literacy and increases in self-esteem.

What do you most like about the C-Pen Reader?

Very easy to use and portable. Discreet resource for pupils to use within all mainstream classes.  A real novelty item which pupils were keen to use.

Audio point for headphones were useful as does not distract others when working in a class or group- super for our auditory learners.

Please describe how you are using the C-Pen Reader?

Using with identified pupils within the pupil support department of school (approx. 30 pupils accessing this at differing times of the school day)

Especially useful for identified dyslexic pupils and those that have phonics or decoding difficulties.

Please describe how the use of the C-Pen Reader has affected your students?

Pupils enjoy using the pen and have gained confidence with literacy matters.  Pupils readily ask for use of the pen and see it as a great tool for supporting their needs.

Independence has improved and therefore there is less need for adult support on a 1:1 basis within groups and classes.  The pen will not replace human beings though!

How likely are you to recommend the C-Pen Reader to others?

I have already demonstrated this to my colleagues who are also heads of departments at all Scottish Borders secondary schools.

It was shared at an INSET training day for staff and demonstrated by myself also- we had over 100 teachers at that event in November 2016.

I will continue to recommend this to others and to parents who may also find this a useful tool when doing homework with their young person.

C-Pen Reader Product Review by Sight Concern Worcestershire

Sight Concern’s new Advice and Support Officer for Worcester – Teresa Cox visited Sight Village earlier in the Summer and she was very impressed with the new C-Pen Reader from Scanning Pens Limited. Teresa says “It is a great new gadget for those with some useful vision – it will enable clients to be able to read written text on a page or packet, enabling them to be more independent ” 

The C-Pen Reader pen scanner is a totally portable, pocket-sized device that reads text out aloud with an English human-like digital voice. Simply pass the nib across a word and it instantly reads it aloud. It is also a scanner for capturing lines of text and uploading to a PC or Mac, making it ideal to capture essential information. 

The pen is half the size of other portable pen scanners on the market and at 50g is half the weight. There is no software required, just connect the pen up to a computer with a USB cable and it appears as an external hard drive. Other features include a built-in voice recorder with playback. 

Avril Stockley, Deputy Head (Inclusion) from Derwentwater Primary School provided the following feedback about the C-Pen Reader:

 

 Describe your school: 

3 form entry mainstream primary school with a nursery located in Acton, West London. The school building is over 100 years old. Diverse socio-economic context; large number of EAL and Pupil Premium children. 

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

I trialled the pen at an Optimus conference I was attending. I then purchase 1 exam reader and 1 reader to see how the children would get on with using them in school before making a larger order of 10 additional readers for children in Year 3 – 5 and 3 additional exam readers for children in Year 6. 

During the trial what struck you as a positive feature for your school to go ahead with an order? 

During the trial the children began to demonstrate noticeably increased levels of independence within quite a short space of time. It also improved their resilience and removed some of the behaviours that were associated with their frustration. 

Which areas do you feel the use of the pen will impact upon for your school’s needs? 

We have several children whose confidence is taking a dip as they are finding reading and writing harder / more challenging. For these children, having a useful aid that is perceived as ‘cool’ will really help in the future. 

Have the students expressed any comments or thoughts on the Reader pen? 

The children love using their pens. They do think they’re ‘cool’ – and so do their friends which has helped to boost self-esteem. Parents have reported that the children have been talking about them at home and have come in to find out where 

they can buy / order them from. The Year 6 exam-pen pupil has taken on the role of trainer to other children who will be using the pen next year, sharing his top tips. 

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

Teachers were initially reticent about trusting the children with such an expensive resource. They were worried it would be a hassle charging them, or that they would get lost. The opposite has been true. The children have responded really well to the responsibility that has been given to them. The older children are organising the charging themselves. The younger children are checking with their teachers for charging, but it is not causing any difficulties. Teachers have commented that it makes some differentiation easier, as it is not always necessary to totally rewrite texts etc. 

Would you recommend the pen to other colleagues? 

I would definitely recommend the pen as a tool / resource for children to use to support their independent access to curriculum learning. 

Any other comments you would like to add? 

Because the children are more independent, they have become less reliant on adult support and there has been a reduction in the need for different texts to be printed off for them all the time. Obviously, this has a positive financial implication for the school, despite the initial investment costs. 

Gemma Lightfoot, Specialist Teaching Assistant from Beverley school provided the following feedback about the C-Pen Reader

Describe your school: 

We're a special school in Middlesbrough for children with autism, who range from nursery age right through to sixth form age. 

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

Yes 

During the trial what stuck you as a positive feature for your school to go ahead with an order? 

It gave targeted students more independence when it came to reading across a range of lessons. 

Which areas do you feel the use of the pen will impact upon for your school’s needs? 

It will impact more on older students who may have a greater need for reading support, whilst maintaining integrity, confidence and dignity. 

Have the students expressed any comments or thoughts on the Reader pen? 

Yes, a student in year 10 really enjoys using it in class and during his intervention time. 

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

Yes, a greater sense of independence as well as it being a kind of security/ safety blanket to fall back on. 

Would you recommend the pen to other colleagues? 

Yes 

Any other comments you would like to add? 

The C-Pen has given our older students who struggle with reading due to a number of reasons, independence and confidence as well as a new found pleasure for reading. It is used for a number of reasons within school, to promote independence during lessons and as a security net within intervention time. 

Review supplied by private tutor Claire Frost on behalf of her year four son Noah.

Noah has written this review for you (or that is to say I have been allowed to do the typing but the words are his!) 

Noah Taylor

Year Four

C of E Combined School, Milton Keynes, Bucks

My School is a primary School for people aged between 5 and 11. 

I am in class 4EH.

My mum met someone who taught her about the C Pen [Reader and Exam Reader] at a conference for helping children who have difficulties with their reading. The man said Mum could borrow two pens. My mum knew that I would be the best person to test the pen because then she could make sure it was good enough to talk to other Mums about and, because she’s a teacher she could see if it would work for the children in her school. She also knows that I would test it really well and then she would know it was indestructible!

I’m not allowed to use the pen for reading my reading book. My mum said I could use it for reading about Doctor Who though. I have lots of books on Dr Who but mostly the words are very hard for me so I just look at the pictures ordinarily. BUT with my pen I can read the pages. I put my headphones in and listen to the voice in the pen and I have learned so much more! 

I also like the pen for maths. Sometimes there is a maths Question and I know the answer to the maths but it is a long question with the maths hidden in it so it takes me a long time. The pen makes it quicker.  I can read a lot better because of the pen instead of me struggling in my brain! 

I’d like to change the buttons on the front because sometimes when I hold the pen my finger pushes the buttons when I don’t mean to. I would like it if there were special cases too.  The carry case keeps it safe and makes sure it won’t get damaged but you could make this more fun with superheroes or the Minions.  

Otherwise I think the pen is a very great design.

When I have a book that I can’t really read I grab the C Pen and it helps me along the way! People who have reading problems like me would really like this pen. It has helped me so much. I am confident I can read everything now! 

As a Private Tutor working in North London I have demonstrated the pen to a lot of parents concerned that their child may have dyslexic tendencies. I was confident that if my son could use it so easily it would be a doddle for the older students I tutor for GCSE and A-level. Parents were especially keen once they understood their child could use the C-Pen Exam Reader and that it was JCQ approved. It has helped students no end with reading passages on English as well as sources in history and has meant they could work at greater speeds, which not only, meant they completed the exam in the allocated time but also made them feel more confident and empowered. It really is a remarkable tool which has already sparked the imaginations of so many parents and young people - GCSE students who were contemplating not attending 6th form because they simply couldn’t envisage the volume of reading are now beginning to realise that the C-Pen Reader could really help them with the content of their course as well as their anxiety around the exam itself.

A revolutionary piece of assistive technology which really can make a difference to the confidence and capabilities of children and young people wrestling with dyslexia

Clare Frost

Founder & Director

Purple Satchel Tuition Limited

AMANDA UDEN, ASSISTANT HEADTEACHER T&L FROM RIVERMEAD SPECIAL SCHOOL PROVIDED THE FOLLOWING FEEDBACK ABOUT THE C-PEN EXAM READER & C-PEN READER

Describe your school:

Special Secondary School with learners from 11 - 19 based in Gillingham Kent but with a wide catchment area across all of Medway and into some of Kent. All learners have EHC plans, majority have ASD diagnosis and Speech and Language difficulties.

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

Picked up a C-Pen Exam Reader at the TES Special Needs London show in October.  Have used it with several year 11 learners in my maths group to see how they found it in test situations rather than having a 'stick on lady' at their side to complete any necessary reading. It made them feel more independent and they felt less self conscious about not being able to read bits of text. 

What do you most like about the C-Pen Exam Reader?

Compactness and ease of use, that gives learners autonomy over what they need to read. 

Please describe how you are using the C-Pen Reader & Exam Reader?

The C-Pen Exam Readers will be used with year 11's in preparation for their public exams in June 2016. They will be trained in its use during the year, this frees up  staff as individual readers will not be required.  The C-Pen Readers will be used in year 10 for creating their own podcasts of notes ready to turn into wave files for those who struggle with writing their own notes. 

What do the students say about the pens?

Those that trailed it really liked it, saying that it helped them and was easy to use after a bit of practice.

Please describe any other areas in school you feel the C-Pen Exam Reader have helped?

It will impact positively on my timetabling for all exams as I will not need to find so many rooms and staff to work with the learners who require a reader as they will be able to take the exam in the same room as the majority of the other learners except those who require a scribe. 

How likely are you to recommend the C-Pen Reader & Exam Reader to others?

Very likely.

ANDREA DISTEFANO-POWER, HEAD OF LEARNING SUPPORT

30 October 2015

Dear Jack,

Many thanks for the use of the C-Pen Reader and C-Pen Exam Reader.

The boys here have found the C-Pen Reader to be a valuable learning tool. The functionality of scanning to memory so that quotes can be captured to support research ‘on the go’ has been fantastic, and has been a significant help in reducing the time spent copying from texts and handouts.

The recording function has been of particular use to boys with slow processing speeds who are not able to copy from the board within limited timeframes, and therefore miss content. They are, with teacher permission, able to record the lesson and update their notes at the end of the day, which has been exceptionally helpful.

As a reading tool, we have found both the C-Pen Reader and C-Pen Exam Reader to be a significant improvement from previous models of pen reader in its ease of use and functionality. It has allowed pupils with reading difficulties to scan and listen to extensive quantities of text which allows for more meaning to be gained in the scanning and listening process.

Many thanks again for allowing us to use these fantastic devices. Yours sincerely

Yours sincerely 

Andrea DiStefano-Power, Head of Learning Support