Converting printed material into digital format makes them easy to archive and manage. Digitization with the help of a professional document conversion company helps businesses go paperless and improve efficiency in their processes. Images and documents in various formats such as JPG, PNG, or TIFF can be further converted into searchable and editable digital text files using Optical character recognition (OCR) technology. As digital text can be used with software programs that support reading, OCR document automation is very helpful for physically challenged learners who have difficulty reading printed content and hearing dialogue.
Today, education is widely provided in inclusive settings. Making classrooms inclusive to all learners regardless of physical and cognitive differences means designing classrooms that provide unbiased learning experiences. Learners with physical disabilities such as vision loss, dyslexia or learning differences will have issues with information that is only presented visually, while those who are deaf or hard of hearing may experience difficulty with information conveyed through dialogue. OCR addresses these concerns by allowing information to be presented in an inclusive manner to learners with physical and cognitive challenges.
Let’s see how OCR eliminates the problems that the text-based nature of education poses for those with a learning disability:
Improves the Classroom Experience for Learners with Disabilities
People who have dyslexia, visual impairment, or learning differences have problems handling printed paper-based information. If the material is scanned and presented in digital format on devices it can help with reading books, magazines, mail, etc.
OCR technology goes further to make the content accessible to those with a learning disability. It uses character recognition to identify the shapes of the different letters, digits and other characters and converts the scanned images into electronic format. Software programs can then be used to edit the content highlight words in the digital content or allow it to be read aloud on the user’s computer or mobile device. With OCR software, users can search for specific information or documents using a keyword or phrase.
The type of changes that can be made in the digital text depends on the OCR software used. Snow Inclusive Learning & Education lists the options that OCR offers for individuals with low vision or blindness and those with learning difficulties. (snow.idrc.ocadu.ca):
OCR software that includes the following features would benefit people with poor vision or blindness:
- Built-in text-to-speech capabilities
- Ability to change font size, type, and color
- Ability to change the background and highlight color
- Provision of extra spacing between characters, words, or lines
- For Braille users, the ability to send files to note-taking devices or to use in conjunction with a refreshable Braille display
OCR software that caters to learning differences may include the following features:
- Built-in text-to-speech capabilities
- Use of contrasting colors to highlight a word, sentence, or paragraph at a time
- Improves understanding of the material by having only one word at a time appear on the screen
- Dictionary, Thesaurus, Homophones, and Syllabification
- Spell checker, Prediction
- Study tools such as Highlighting, Bookmarking, Footnotes, Text notes and Voice notes
There are different types of OCR software with varying features, capabilities and ease of use, such as desktop OCR software, web-based OCR software and OCR on iOS devices. By converting the content of documents to digital speech, OCR helps students with visual impairments understand every part of the lesson, read content independently and communicate it in the classroom. Using OCR scanning, conversion and document reading software students with visual impairments can perform tasks with just a keystroke.
By converting text-to-speech efficiently, OCR software helps students with dyslexia comprehend electronic text and e-books. With features such as a dictionary, highlighting, adjustable word sentence tracking colors and customizable background, OCR software can significantly improve the learning experience for students with dyslexia.
Supports Teachers in Classroom Organization and Reporting Tasks
OCR technology helps educators develop teaching materials faster and more efficiently. Content can be quickly transformed into digital format for easy access by students in various ways such as the audio version of texts, screen readable text, and digitally interactive worksheets. Classroom organization including creating lesson plans, homework study guides, test marking and reporting activities can be digitized and streamlined using OCR software. By eliminating tedious tasks such as typing and photocopying material, OCR eases preparation work and allows teachers to focus on improving the classroom experience for students.
Converting data into digital format is a vital element for growth and operational efficiency in any sector. Document scanning and data entry service providers are helping businesses digitize their data and improve the efficiency of their processes.