Kurzweil Educational to Offer Customizable Test-Taking Technology

BEDFORD, MA - Kurzweil Educational Systems, developer of reading technology products for individuals with learning and visual disabilities, announced the new Kurzweil 3000 Version 7. Kurzweil 3000 Version 7 is the first product that not only adds reading aloud and visual dual highlighting to the testing experience, but also enables a teacher to selectively link both classroom and standardized tests to a range of additional, customizable accommodations that help assure that ability, not disability is being tested. Depending on individual needs, testing purposes and IEP requirements, educators can provide access during testing to a selection of writing and decoding tools. These tools include annotations, voice notes, definitions, personalized toolbars, word prediction and more. All of Kurzweil 3000's test taking innovations, as well as comprehensive tools for more accessible reading, writing and studying continue to be included in a single integrated package - no additional software purchases are required. "Gone are the days when children would score poorly on tests simply because they could not read the questions or have problems writing," said Roger Rachow, Adaptive Technology Specialist, Halverson Regional School District, Iowa. "Using the new Kurzweil 3000, students with reading and writing challenges have access to a range of easy-to-use features that help them demonstrate their knowledge and spend minimum time reading the test or typing in their answers. And it is especially helpful to have a software solution that can be easily customized in keeping with accommodations specified in a student's IEP for test taking, unlike other products that have a one size-fits-all approach. The benefits for both student and teacher are huge." A complete redesign of the underlying image display components of Kurzweil 3000 resulted in the exclusive AccessibleImage technology, which boosts usability and flexibility for students engaged not only in testing but a multitude of reading, writing and learning tasks. AccessibleImage also provides an overall improvement in the clarity of scanned page images, as they are re-presented on the computer screen. Another move forward is Kurzweil 3000's ability to automatically search multiple Websites for electronic text materials. Among the text repositories explored by Kurzweil 3000 is Bookshare.org, the online community that allows people with reading related disabilities to legally download over 10,000 public domain and copyrighted books. In addition to an automated link to Bookshare.org, Kurzweil 3000 Version 7 will include a free 30-day Bookshare.org trial membership for qualified users. Kurzweil 3000 Version 7 new features and product enhancements include: Streamlined test taking: ·Students can now have an electronic experience that closely simulates taking a test on paper, entering their answers directly on to a highly accurate image of a test or worksheet. The enhanced ability to drag-and-drop selected text within image documents also assures that students can borrow sections of questions or answer options and use them to create their responses with less time and effort. ·The text-to-speech and visual highlighting components of Kurzweil 3000 allow students to proceed seamlessly from reading the questions to responding, simplifying the self-checking process. ·To help students focus on the content of their responses, the text field provided is automatically resized to accommodate a short or long answer. Also, to help assure that students respond to all the questions, blanks waiting to be filled are pointed out via a unique color marker and an audible pause. Access to online resources: ·Version 7 revolutionizes access to contemporary and classic literature that can be found on the Web. Students can enter a single author or title to initiate an automatic search across multiple online book repositories. ·Students searching for books online need not be limited to public domain material but can now explore online text repositories such as Bookshare.org, Project Gutenberg, or Baen Free Library, and request books by title or author, then download, open and read them. ·Product upgrades, patches and news, as well as teaching and technical tips, are automatically retrieved online from Kurzweil Educational. Enhanced control over text and image content: ·Educators can now check and correct scanned images more quickly and efficiently with tools for global spell checking as well as search and replace capability that is not limited to text documents. ·Students can drag-and-drop from an image document directly into a waiting notes field or external text document, creating new, simplified note taking options. ·The Page Thumbnail feature is now a vastly improved tool for getting the fastest possible overview of a multi-page document, with expanded page images in vibrant color. "New state-wide standardized tests have catapulted test-taking onto center stage in most schools around the country, and to most educators it is important that it be used to measure, as accurately as possible, a student's abilities. Given that, the very flexible test-taking capabilities included in Kurzweil 3000 are a significant breakthrough in our effort to help teachers unlock the minds of students who have had difficulty demonstrating their knowledge," said Michael Sokol, CEO and President, Kurzweil Educational Systems.
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