Ricoh-developed solution helps Rutherglen High’s vision-impaired students
Two vision-impaired student of Rutherglen High are enjoying improved access to learning resources since the School implemented a Ricoh ESA TransFormer solution.
For the brother and sister students, Nathanial and Emma-Mae Schmidt, being blind is something they refuse to let stand in the way of a future university education and subsequent career. The reality, though, is that it represented challenges both to them and the School.
Their main challenge – transferring the large amount of hard copy learning resources required into Braille – was labour intensive and time consuming. Although Nathaniel and Emma-Mae were also able to use JAWS for Windows® to read aloud text documents to them, the workflow was limiting to both staff and students.
The School, located near the NSW and VIC border, spoke to their local Ricoh Business Partner, who was able to provide a solution – Ricoh ESA TransFormer – a locally-developed OCR (Optical Character Recognition) application, which can transfer hard copy documents at a Ricoh MFD into a file formats such as PDF, Word or Excel.
These files are then able to be read to the students using their existing software, enabling the two students access quickly and easily to resources, such as study notes, text books, photocopied document extracts.
It’s now a quantum change. “Even minutes before a class, if I come across a document or some printed material that I want to use in the class, I can take it to the Ricoh MFD, press just a couple of buttons on the control panel and have it ready in text or even spreadsheet form in about a minute,” said Michael Leverett, IT Coordinator and teacher.
“For Nathaniel and Emma-Mae, it means they’re not being disadvantaged and finally have access to the same material the rest of their classmates have,” he said.
With limited available finances, Rutherglen has introduced what is arguably one of the most cost-effective document OCR and transformation solutions available in its class. ESA TransFormer has allowed the School to bypass the need for a per-seat OCR licence model while still providing full functionality across the entire school.
As a result, the use of the solution has extended well beyond its initial purpose, bringing with it an increasingly dynamic approach to the development and preparation of teaching materials.
“Ultimately, the Ricoh solution has done more than help learning for our sight-impaired students, it is providing all staff members with a new tool to help them do their jobs even better,” said Leverett.
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