Think optical character recognition only has applications in security and document solutions? Think again. This incredible technology is increasingly leveraged in creative and surprising ways. One of those ways is in the classroom, where it’s helping kids access their lessons by turning text into speech and handwriting into digital text.
Optical character recognition (OCR) is but one of the many technologies making its way into the modern classroom. For schools or classes with special needs students, especially optical character recognition is a powerful way to create an innovative, inclusive learning environment. Read on to discover the benefits of this technology in the classroom, and why every educational institution should strongly consider investing in it to improve the quality of education it can offer.
The Benefits of Optical Character Recognition in the Classroom
Optical character recognition is a data capture technology which transforms written words into digital text. For example, many offices use this technology to eliminate manual entry associated with forms or other handwritten paperwork. However, OCR solutions also deliver many advantages to the classroom. They may:
1. Help Students Overcome Reading Challenges
According to the International Dyslexia Association, six to seven percent of school-age students qualify as having a learning disability (LD) – and at least 85 percent of those challenges fall in reading or writing. For these students, the text-based nature of education can prove an immense challenge.
However, optical character recognition can help students by allowing them to listen to the material or homework rather than read it. Likewise, it can create a searchable digital document which enables students to more easily look up the definition of a word, or to bookmark different parts of the text. Altogether, OCR solutions empower students with the ability to overcome the challenges created by text.
2. Make the Work of Educators Easier
Managing a classroom takes much work. There are lessons to prepare, materials to make, papers to grade – the list is endless. However, OCR benefits teachers by helping them create materials faster and more efficiently. With this technology, it’s easier to turn a single copy of a chapter or article into a digital copy which can be quickly disseminated to students. Teachers can say goodbye to retyping material by simply scanning, converting, and printing what they need. That leaves more time and energy to focus on creating a better classroom experience for students.
3. Revolutionize Notetaking
OCR technology is capable of recognizing handwritten text, thanks to the development of the MNIST Database. This database contains 60,000 examples of handwritten letters and numbers taken from the US Census archives. The ability to recognize handwritten text and transform it into digital input is precisely what has made optical character recognition so powerful in offices which rely on both hardcopy and digital documents. In schools, it finds a ready application in helping students turn their notes into searchable, digital documents to aid their studies.
4. Assist Visually Impaired Students
Digital text is malleable – that means it’s not restrained to a specific font, color, or size, unlike printed materials. One of the most significant areas in which OCR solutions are finding applications in the classroom stands with visually impaired students. Turning print text into digital text allows teachers to create reading materials with larger font and better colors to assist with readability for those who need it.
5. Encourage Students to Study on the Go
Spending an hour or two every day reading a textbook isn’t much fun. However, what if students could listen to the textbook during their commute, while out for a walk, or on lunch? By turning physical text into an audio file, OCR solutions give students new ways to access their study materials that are engaging while still using time efficiently.
Blue Technologies Helps Educators Expand Their Reach
Optical character recognition software is a powerful tool for educators seeking to create a more innovative, inclusive environment. From helping students overcome reading challenges to giving them new ways to study their lessons, the ability to transform the text into other media improves the quality of education by making new information more accessible.
Blue Technologies works with educators to deliver a modern, impactful teaching environment to schools. Working with a team comprised of former teachers and administrators, educational institutions can benefit from the guidance of technology specialists who understand the unique needs of schools and teachers. Optical character recognition is one such offering which Blue Technologies is pleased to present for the benefit of helping educators increase their teaching potential.
Blue Technologies provides a variety of office technology solutions to education institutions, for classrooms and school offices alike. Start a conversation with us today to learn about what we can do for you.