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Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students

New Learning Technology Suite Available to UMD Community

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UMD students, faculty and staff now have access to Read&Write Gold software, which has the capability to help improve learning for everyone regardless of ability or learning style.

Logo: Read and Write GoldThe Campus Accessible Technology Team has purchased a Read&Write Gold (R&WG) site license. R&WG software was developed primarily to assist students with print disabilities, but has the capacity to help all individuals succeed. It provides a customizable toolbar, which integrates with other applications. This toolbar "floats" on your screen, or docks to a locked position, offering help as you work. It can aid reading, writing, study skills, and research. Features include:

Reading Tools

  • Built-in Text-To-Speech (TTS) synthesizer reads aloud documents, PDF files, and Web sites to you.
  • Assists with proof reading documents. It is easy to miss some errors when visually proofreading. The brain sees what you meant to say. TTS isn't going to lie. It's going to read exactly what's on the page.
  • Different voices (male and female, accents) are available as well as options to tailor pitch and speed.
  • Offers options to highlight only the text you want read aloud.

Writing and Self-Editing Tools

  • Assists with beginning to write research papers and documents
  • Dictionary and picture dictionary
  • Vocabulary list builder, verb checker, and a sounds like/confusable words feature, i.e., write and right
  • Fact folder feature can keep the facts a person has found while researching and then create a document that can be saved.
  • Fact mapper feature can aid in brainstorming and organizing a paper

Study Skills and Research Tools

  • Collects facts for a paper or assignment by using different highlighting colors
  • Colors are used to categorize information, e.g., blue for presidents, yellow for time in office, pink for vice president
  • The "Speech Maker" tool can convert digital text into audio files. You can turn text documents to MP3s and bring them to the gym to listen to them.

Read&Write Gold Usage

Institutions such as Southern New Hampshire University are using R&WG with:

  • English Classes
  • Tutoring
  • International Students
  • Education Majors
  • Jump Start (an early college boot camp program)
  • Continuing Education

Read&Write Gold is being used in work environments to help employees with daily tasks. As Daniel Atubo, Ground Maintenance Supervisor at Epsom and Ewell Borough Council (EEBC) has explained:

When I was promoted to the position of supervisor, I wanted to ensure I didn't make mistakes in my work especially when sending emails. After having a conversation with my manager, who is also dyslexic, he suggested that I may be a visual learner and I should try to visualize how words are spelt. He also mentioned he was using Texthelp's Read&Write Gold text-to-speech literacy support software. After seeing him use it I had it installed on my computer and it has made a big difference. EEBC has a site licence for Read&Write Gold which means it is available on all computers within the organization...tested the software to make sure it worked and I am really happy with it. It helps improve productivity throughout the council, even for those without dyslexia.

How to Get Read&Write Gold

Read and Write 11 Gold Toolbar by texthelp

Read&Write Gold has been installed and is available on all ITSS lab computers and on Library 122, 124, and 126 computers. ITSS is in the process of making it available in Active Directory. Read&Write Gold may be installed on any UMD owned computer. If you run a lab in partnership with ITSS and would like to install it there, please contact Greg Mattsen, gmattsen@d.umn.edu.

How to "Take Home" Read&Write Gold

All UMD students, faculty, and staff may download a "Take Home" version for their personally owned computers.

If you need assistance please call or stop by the ITSS TechCenter Help Desk (218-726-8847, Kirby Plaza 165).

How to Use Read&Write Gold

The vendor, TextHelp, provides extensive documentation and Webinars regarding how to use Read&Write Gold.

Demo

The following video by the Bismarck State College Student Accessibility office provides an introduction to some basic features of Read&Write Gold for Windows.

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