Student-Built Technology Helping Low-Vision Students

Posted on July 07, 2011

A new report from the National Center for Learning Disabilities says too few students with learning disabilities graduate from high school, recipe and some racial and ethnic groups are still disproportionately represented in LD programs, discount but early intervention strategies appear to be reducing the overall number of students who are identified as having a learning disability.

While graduation rates for students with learning disabilities have increased in the last decade, rising from 52 percent in 2000 to 64 percent in 2009, once a new method for calculating the graduation rate under new federal regulations is applied, that perceived progress may evaporate, said Candace Cortiella, the report’s author and director of The Advocacy Institute. The percentage of students with a learning disability who received certificates of completion—showing they met minimum requirements but didn’t qualify for a diploma—has also risen, from 7 percent to 13 percent during the same period.

“Students with learning disabilities must have a chance to achieve a regular diploma,” said Laura Kaloi, the center’s public policy director. The organization has developed a series of recommendations on how to change public policies to better support these students.

The report also found that Hispanic and black students were disproportionately identified as having a learning disability. For example, 3.4 percent of black students are found to have a learning disability, as are 3.1 percent of Hispanic students, compared to 2.8 percent of white students. The high school dropout and race data come together in a stark manner, Ms. Cortiella said.

Author: Nirvi Shah,

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One of my favorite teams participating in the recent Imagine Cup 2011 Finals was Note-Taker, thumb a team out of Arizona State University. Like all the teams in Microsoft’s student technology competition, health Team Note-Taker has developed a tool that tackles a real-world problem. And as with several of the teams, that problem was understood intimately by one of the team members.

Note-Taker is a tool designed to help visually-impaired students with, as the name suggests, taking notes in class. None of the products or services currently on the market, including the legally mandated support personnel that schools must offer, really suffice.

Team Note-Taker’s David Hayden would know. He is legally blind. When he enrolled in math classes, he found it impossible to keep up with the note-taking in class. Hayden had two choices: drop the math major (unacceptable) or solve the problem. He chose the latter.

Although there is equipment that can magnify the blackboard — including a rather cumbersome headpiece that low-vision students can wear in class — those who use it can’t switch to the up-close reading and writing necessary for taking notes. So what Note-Taker’s alternative does is make it possible for students to do both: see the notes written on the board at the front of the class while simultaneously providing a tool for students to take their own notes.

Read more HERE>

Author: Audrey Watters,