Provide wider learning resources
The Customer: Rutherglen High School
A state school located near the NSW/VIC border, Rutherglen High School clearly demonstrates a commitment to providing all students with an equal opportunity education experience. That commitment is evidenced by in the School’s innovative application of a Ricoh document scanning and transformation solution implemented by the region’s local Ricoh Business Partner.
For two of Rutherglen High’s brother and sister students – Nathaniel and Emma-Mae Schmidt – being blind from birth is something they refuse to let stand in the way of a future university education and subsequent career. The reality, though, is that it does represent challenges both to them and the School.
According to IT Coordinator and Teacher Michael Leverett, the main challenge is in providing the two students with a practical alternative to the enormous amount of printed material – study notes, text books, photocopied document extracts, etc. – that are par for the course for today’s students.
“We actually have two staff members who manage the conversion of documents to Braille,” he explains. “In addition, both Nathaniel and Emma-Mae use a software application [JAWS for Windows®] on their notebook computers that can read aloud text documents.
“The main problems we were facing were that Brailled documents are incredibly bulky and time consuming to produce, and we had no means of quickly transforming hard copy documents to digital text documents.”
Ricoh’s Better Way
Ricoh ESA TransFormer to support scanning, conversion and distribution workflow
It was during a meeting with the School’s local Ricoh Business Partner that Michael put forward those challenges; and within two weeks, a solution had been tried, tested and proposed – Ricoh ESA (Embedded Software Architecture) TransFormer.
A product developed entirely by Ricoh Australia software development specialists in response to market demands, ESA TransFormer is gaining a strong market presence throughout the Asia Pacific Region.
Embedded within one of the School’s Ricoh multifunction devices (MFDs), the software intercepts scanned documents, runs them through advanced OCR (Optical Character Recognition) then transforms them to a digital file in a selected format prior to storage in a nominated folder. These files are then able to be read to the students using their existing software.
From days to a matter of minutes – that’s a typical cut-down in lead times for Rutherglen teachers preparing “printed” materials for Nathaniel and Emma-Mae.
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. This is being realised by the fact that 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,” Michael said.