A few weeks ago, we attended a demonstration of the C-Pen Reader, a tool designed with students with dyslexia in mind. This device, with its pen shape and an OLED screen with text to speech output, assists those with literacy difficulties to read.
It is a simple to use device, whereby the reader runs the tip of the pen over the word or words that they wish to hear spoken aloud. Using realistic speech synthesiser software, the student can hear the text read aloud by the inbuilt speaker or by using ear phones.
There is also the option, when a single word is scanned, to hear an Oxford English dictionary definition of the word, and to have the word magnified on screen, useful for those who may have visual impairments.
There is also the option to scan and save text to the internal storage in the pen and transfer to a PC or Mac computer for use later, a handy option for those who may not have access to a scanner.
While there is a separate version of the pen available, the ExamReader, with limited functionality (i.e. no internal storage or dictionary features) that will meet the criteria for State Exams, the standard pen can be turned into an ExamReader by choosing a locked mode.
The C-Pen also works in French and Spanish, while the ExamReader can read German and Italian in addition. There is also the ability to record voice notes on the C-Pen.
While there are many differing options, both hardware and app based, available for those with literacy difficulties or using English as a second language requiring text to speech functionality, the C-pen has its niche market in the education sector where the use of mobile phone apps or bulky hardware may make the use of text to speech difficult or impossible. The c-pen is a user-friendly option that is easily transportable and can be personalised.
More information can be found at www.readerpen.com, and schools and colleges can arrange for a free trial for their students. The C-pen costs €225 ex VAT.