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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DigiMemo-- Digital Writing-recognizes handwriting

A friend told me about DigiMemo--a new tool that has jumped into the technology scene. She uses it for her low vision students. When the teacher is writing notes on the board, a sighted student can copy the notes on this computerized pad, because the low vision student rarely can see the board. After class, the DigiMemo can be hooked into a computer and uploaded as an image for the low vision student to read.

Well, I have taken this tool and added a very important component: The ability to read handwriting and transfer that handwriting into text.

When I first tried the DigiMemo, I could only get an image which talking software does NOT read, I was incredibly disappointed. So, I thought surely we have come far enough that software can read handwriting. Well, we have. Just a bit more sleuthing and I found what I was looking for. I loaded the handwriting software and did another copy of notes on my DigiMemo, transferred the information to my computer--did a couple simple tricks and viola...text that Jaws talking software could read.

What a powerful tool. The sighted student is not doing much more than they typically do. They write their notes, which are stored in the DigiMemo, then transfer the information into text, which requires using a mouse. I believe, in time, the DigiMemo software will be accessible to blind students who know their hotkeys.

The downfall is DigiMemo cannot do graphics...well of course. AND the person taking the notes needs to have legible print so the computer can read it easily. I tried cursive, but it only caught some of the letters. I tried really sloppy writing and I was still very pleasantly surprised at how much it picked up but you would need to be a detective to figure it all out. You need good printing skills...period.

For about $140, I think it is a great investment. Teachers and students are excited when I tell them about DigiMemo. A great tool for school this year and another lesson for me to prepare--hey, that is what I like!!

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