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Using a Pen Scanner

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Iris Pen
Iris Pen ©
Pen scanners have been around for a number of years now, however, the current technology has had a positive impact on the accuracy of the pen scanners and they have improved tremendously. The pen scanner is used the same way you use a marker highlighter. Simply take the pen scanner across the text. The pen scanner will let you scan, store and transfer your printed text as well as smaller images to your computer. It's ideal for taking notes or scanning text for students that use a text reader. Many of the newer pen scanners also have synthetic voice and read the scanned text. Many teachers claim that the use of the scanner pens aids children with dyslexia.

If you are making a decision as to whether your student will benefit from using a scanner pen, consider the following:

  • fine motor control is essential
  • responsibility (the student will need to keep the pen with him/her)
  • auditory discretion is important as many of the pens read but the voice is synthetic which can be frustrating for many students
  • confidence, these students need to be comfortable using their assistive devices around their peers
The student can benefit tremendously from the use of scanner pens for test taking, note taking, greater access to materials, auditory support and overall productivity.

Some Features of the Scanner Pen

  • The scanner pen is relatively easy to use
  • It is much faster than copying or typing
  • The text can be quickly transfered to a computer for editing or auditory use.
  • Currently the pen will reads fonts from 6 to 22 points in size
  • The pen recognizes over 50 languages
  • Most pens read at a 1000 characters per second
  • Reads wavy and distorted characters as in cursive writing
  • Reads text, numbers, and bar codes
    • Assistive technology provides equity of access and our students have a right to the technology that best meets their needs. The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) was designed to enhance and support the availability and quality of assistive technology (AT) devices and services to all individuals with special needs in the United States.

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