This particular case study follows a student named Sophie from the University of Plymouth who has implemented the ReaderPen into her studying on her Politics and International Relations course. She’s in her second year currently and was overwhelmed with all the work she needed to do for her essays. She was often taking upwards of three to four hours to read through a chapter in a book for her studies and taking quotes was a laborious process. She then received the funding from DSA to get the ReaderPen which she initially thought of as a bit of a novelty. But then she began to use it. It quickly became a part of her everyday studies as she realised how useful it was for her. She could now read through a chapter in thirty minutes, a huge difference, and most of the time saved came from how easy it was for her to look up words. Before she had the ReaderPen, finding words in the dictionary was difficult as she didn’t know the first letter or couldn’t spell them properly, but the ReaderPen was an instant support. This proved particularly useful considering the academic books she was expected to read in her course. She could use this function anywhere and didn’t feel uncomfortable using it in front of friends who often marvelled at the pen.
Sophie mentioned how extremely convenient the scan-to-file feature was. She could read a quote herself, or scan it to have it read, and then put it straight into her word document. She didn’t have to worry about misquoting or making mistakes with important quotes anymore. Sophie even mentioned a friend of hers that thought the scan-to-file feature was so good that she wanted a C-Pen for herself, even though she doesn’t struggle with reading.
The student also studied Spanish which she could use the Spanish function to help with the spelling of words. She mainly used the dictionary function of the C-Pen in Spanish to help her understand the word, never having it read out.
She finishes the interview thanking DSA and Scanning Pens for the ReaderPen and saying
“Give EVERYBODY the ReaderPen because I can’t see how it wouldn’t help anybody”
Point of view: Student
Learning difficulty: Dyslexia
Teacher: What university do you go to soph?
Sophie: University of Plymouth.
Teacher: Great! What course are you taking?
Sophie: Politics and international relations.
Teacher: And what year are you in right now?
Sophie: My second year.
Teacher: Awesome, where did you get the ReaderPen from?
Sophie: I got it from DSA
Teacher: You did! You got it from DSA, you got from and assessment.
Teacher: Okay. Why did you receive the ReaderPen?
Sophie: Because I have dyslexia and I was struggling to find words in dictionaries because I didn’t know how to spell them. And it was taking me a really long time to read books and write the quotes out and by the time I’d read it I had forgotten what I wanted to say anyway.
Teacher: Let’s talk about life before the ReaderPen. Before the ReaderPen, how much time did you spend looking up words?
Sophie: I did a chapter the other day and it only took me about half an hour where usually it would have taken me about three or four hours.
Teacher: Oh my god, really? That was the ReaderPen?
Sophie: Yeah! I literally just scanned the bits I needed.
Teacher: And had it read out to you?
Sophie: Yeah, the words I didn’t know.
(High fives eachother)
Teacher: Brilliant. Lost my train of thought there. So that was life before the ReaderPen and of course with the ReaderPen it does that for you. So, what study environments do you use the ReaderPen?
Sophie: I use it in the library, but mainly I use it in my accommodation.
Teacher: Oh really? okay! So at the library, your accommodation, at your desk… There are a couple features you’ve used then, let’s name off a couple. So the first one is obviously the dictionary.
Sophie: Yeah, that (the dictionary) is really useful. Before, if I couldn’t find the first letter or was spelling the word wrong it would take a long time.
Teacher: oh yeah, that would be a pain. I remember when we talked earlier you said you read past some words and tried to take in the general context. Can you tell me what you did before and how that’s improved?
Sophie: I used to just guess words. I didn’t know what they were, and I’d get the meanings wrong. Now I just scan it and listen back to it and use the dictionary if I don’t know what it means.
Teacher: Beforehand, did that impact your studies?
Sophie: Yes, I used to take a really long time. And I used to get feedback on essays saying I hadn’t actually answered the question. Or I misinterpreted a quote because I didn’t understand.
Teacher: I see. Alright, using the ReaderPen in your research then.
Teacher: So what you’re saying is your actual research lacked any robust literary application. Okay, so the second function which is totally cool, tell me your process with the scanning.
Sophie: I scan it in, and first I get it read back to me. So it helps me understand the whole meaning. Then I take out the quotes I want and plug it into my MacBook and select character scanning and I can scan the words I want straight onto a word document. So it’s a lot quicker than typing it out.
Teacher: It’s HUGELY quicker. And then what do you do with those references?
Sophie: I put them into my essays. At least I know they’re accurate.
Teacher: Because before they weren’t accurate?
Teacher: Okay. So we’ve just covered another feature, but there’s another one you mentioned, an oddball you threw me, you said about Spanish. Tell me about that. You’re dyslexic, and you’re learning Spanish so…
Sophie: Well I’m learning Spanish, and I found a Spanish dictionary on there. I’ve been using the translator to tell me what words were and scanning to check the spelling, because Spanish has lots of little accents.
Teacher: Yeah! Of course it does, and you’re writing our strange words as well. So I’ve not used that feature much, how much of an impact has that had on you?
Sophie: A lot better! Because, before I worked out, I could use the ReaderPen for that I was missing a lot of the answers on my recent work as well. And it helps spelling.
Teacher: I see, does it speak it out loud to you?
Sophie: I don’t know, I don’t think I’ve ever used it like that. I’ve just used the dictionary.
Teacher: To look at the word’s meaning?
Sophie: Yeah, and to check the spelling
Teacher: There’s a version in Arabic coming out, do you think that would help with learning another language with dyslexia?
Sophie: Definitely, especially because there’s different characters to English as well.
Teacher: Okay and tell me about your friend. Your friends, who’s seeing you work wonders with this?
Sophie: So I spend a lot of time in the library in groups, with friends. My friend asks me what I was doing, and I explained to her how I was taking the quotes out of the book and she said that she now wants one because when she does her dissertation, she’ll have to spend forever typing out the quotes. So now she said she asked her mum to put it on her Christmas list.
Teacher: Oh okay, so that’s just for scanning things in pretty darn quick. So what about the dictionary or anything like that?
Sophie: she also liked to hear it back.
Teacher: Yeah, hearing it back makes it a million times better. So what would you say to other students in DSA who come through and are a little apprehensive about getting support?
Sophie: Just take it. It makes a massive difference. I think we both thought the pen was a bit of a novelty to start with but then you actually start using it.
Teacher: Right, okay, its evidence based that with these sorts of applications with every pound we invest we get money back because you end up graduating. So is there anything you want to add or say to the funding body with regards to them putting this in place? Which is DSA.
Sophie: Give everybody the ReaderPen because I can’t see how it wouldn’t help anybody. My friend who wanted it doesn’t even have dyslexia and she even said it would help her. So, if you definitely struggle with words, I don’t see any way it wouldn’t help you. Oh, and thank you.