New iPad 3 Features – A Boon for Students with Learning Disabilities

I have heard others state that there was not enough upgrades in the new iPad 3 to warrant buying it.  Depending on the population of student you work with that might be true. However, working with students with learning disabilities and looking for assistive technology to support their inclusion has made me anxiously await the purchase of an iPad 3. Some of the features of the New iPad features that I have looked forward to include:

  • Voice recognition embedded in the keyboard in other apps
  • 5 Megapixel camera
  • Retina display

Although for some this is not a deal breaker but I believe for some of our LD students this is a huge deal!  Why?

  • Using voice recognition in apps such as ClaroSpeak, Dream Voice Reader or with apps as Poplet, or Tools 4 Teachers among countless other apps that integrate use of the iPad keyboard with speech to text capabilties embedded. This feature allows students who have the thoughts but can’t get them down on paper.  Is the voice recognition perfect, no, but getting much, much more accurate!
  • Greater resolution of images taken with the camera. So big deal? Yah it’s a big deal. If you have been using apps such as Prizmo or other OCR/scanning apps to import text or for reading or importing into e-books for students with a learning disability having a good camera is essential. The New iPad produces pictures with high resolution allowing those pictures to be used with OCR software more accurately, matter of fact significantly better (pending quality of original copy, size of print or images on it, etc). Consider the following two texts taken in the same lighting, same hard copy text, same techniques using an iPad 2 and iPad 3 respectively. Neither was edited – which one would you prefer to read with text to speech tools or edit prior to offering it to a student to access iPad?

iPad 2 with Prizmo (no editing)

iPad 3 with Prizmo (no editing)

I Why am I having an evaluaUon from ATR?-‘~ a DVR cli(~nL you have been referred to ATR by your ~unse]o~ to alse~s your m*stlve technology needs ASSlS~ ~chrm,*ogy con rn~e c~v~’es or se,Y, ces that ere used ~ ma~ta~. ~creese or ~mprove the ~rr~,~?~ ca~t~es of ~,~due,~ wiU~ ¢ f~.eb ~iL~s. Ou~ goa] is to help Irnpm~o you~ capebL~tms in ar~ thai presenl a c~aLk~ge to your occupaUon {academic work. in home c~ on ~ Job eml:doyment )2* Wh~t are the qua,flcatJonB of ATR’s Evalu=tom?ATR’S E~luato~s are licensed Occupa~al Therapists who hsve addi~onm ce,~ca ns as Adeptive Technology F’~fession~ls, Ergonom~c ,Speciar~. end have yeans ~f expenen~ bn t~e field of adapL~l~ techrm~gy end v,~ddng ind~duals w~h a w~Je v~lety of d[Sabl~s3. What could asslstJve technology Include?Assls~e technology recommenda’dons may Inc~ucre soll~a re. hardware or m (~dn~ng, Ins~Jla~on, ~mputer upgradeS, set up of equipment) Ass~.e tecS~4ogy ~n ~nge ~ row technology to high ~echnotogy dependent on the cr, e~s reeds Rec~mmendatmns are based on Vocational related needs, not desires¸ -Made with Prizmo 1. Why am I having an evaluation from ATR? As a DVR client, you have been referred to ATR by your counselor to assess your assistive technology needs. Assistive technology can involve devices or services that are used to maintain, increase or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Our goal is to help improve your capabilities in areas that present a challenge to your occupation (academic work, in home or on the job employment).2. What are the qualifications of ATR’s Evaluators? ATR’s Evaluators are licensed Occupational Therapists who have additional certifications as Adaptive Technology Professionals, Ergonomic Specialists, and have years of experience in the field of adaptive technology and working with individuals with a wide variety of disabilities.3. What could assistive technology include? Assistive technology recommendations may include software, hardware or services (training, installation, computer upgrades, set up of equipment). Assistive technology can range from low technology to high technology dependent on the client’s needs.Recommendations are based on vocational related needs, not desires.— Made with Prizmo. 

Remarkable, right? The accuracy of the text on the right is dependent on the quality of the picture and camera capabilities, not due to Prizmo OCR capabilities as seen in the above two examples. I have been using Prizmo for a while and anxiously awaited trialing it on the New iPad 3. My experience has been very positive with improved OCR accuracy as noted above due to continual app improvement as well as device improvements as with the high resolution camera found in the iPad 3. It may not have the exact accuracy that the KNFB Reader has, but it is remarkably good when you have a clean copy of just text, a steady hand, and good lighting. I am really excited that OCR capabilities are becoming better on the iPad3 and that this technology is becoming possible for some tasks for print disabled individuals.

  I will mention that Prizmo capabilities have continued to improve. A year ago I was disappointed with the app, but currently I use it frequently to import text into digital books with less and less editing needed. Among many of Prizmo’s user friendly features is a Speak option, providing text to speech capabilities available within the app that can be used within the apps after OCR processing has occurred. Prizmo allows image and text editing and provides the ability to save within the app. The quality of the text to speech voice is good for being a  $9.99 app.

So, for me and the needs I have with students with learning disability that I am deploying iPads to the New iPad3 features are a boon and essential features on my OT iTool Kit!

What do you think?


About Carol Leynse Harpold, MS, OTR/L, SCLV, ATP, CATIS

OTR/L with more than 35 years experience in pediatrics, school based therapy and adult rehabilitation. Masters of Science in Adaptive Education/Assistive Technology with 20 years experience in AT in education of elementary, middle school, secondary, post secondary students and work environments for adult clients. A RESNA Assistive Technology Practitioner with ACVREP CATIS credentials, AOTA Specialty Certification in Low Vision, USC Davis Executive Certificate in Home Modifications, servicing adults and students with disabilities in employment, education, and home environments. A 2020 graduate of the University of Alabama Birmingham Low Vision Certification Program.
This entry was posted in App Reviews, Apps for OT's, Apps for Special Needs, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Learning Disability, Middle School, Occupational Therapy, OCR, Text to Speech and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to New iPad 3 Features – A Boon for Students with Learning Disabilities

  1. Beth Lloyd says:

    I held on to my first generation iPad anxiously waiting for the third generation to come out. I totally agree with you. Those three features of the new iPad are truly deal breakers for our students with reading/writing challenges. I just started using Text Grabber for OCR capabilities At $2.99, it is a real bargain. Have you used it and how does it compare to Prizmo?

    When trying apps and features with students, I have used T Charts (Pros and Cons) app to determine how effective the technology is for them (free app). They can list their likes and dislikes in a T chart and rate each item from 1 -10 using a sliding bar. Thanks to that handy microphone key on the keyboard, they can use speech recognition to do this!

    I continue to love your blog.

    • Beth, Thank you for your comments. I agree with you on the handy microphone key on the keyboard – you can fill forms and write all kinds of things! How cool?

      You asked about Text Grabber vs. Prizmo. Here is what I know and have informally trialed:

      1. Both scanned about the same given clean hard copy of just text, good lighting on my iPad 3. I trialed the same text as I did in the post and I got almost the exact same result with Text Grabber
      Prizmo had maybe one or two errors when scanning paragraphs of about 120 – 150 words total where as Text Grabber did not have any.
      2. Text Grabber did not seem to pick up colored text as URL’s in the text, Prizmo attempted this.
      3. Prizmo has a text to speech “Reader ” function within the app.
      4. Prizmo has more features in the app to edit the photo, a crop, perspective tool and a whitener
      4. Prizmo also has the ability to scan in bills, business cards, text and whiteboard. I have only trialed the text function.
      5. I had Prizmo and am just more familiar with it…
      6. They both have similar functions to translate, copy, mail, move to different places as Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, email. Prizmo also connects to Dropbox which I use to manage docs in the clouds.

      It would be interesting to do more testing with the two to look exactly at percentages of accuracy. Certainly Abbyy has a history of excellent scanning tools and is a great choice. As with apps, it is in the fine details of what you need to do with it, where you need to distribute it to/share to that makes it a more useable, seamless app.

      I have seen the T charts but not used that app. That is a great suggestion and will include that in my tool kit. That and the Tools 4 Students (.99) which provides all kinds of teacher concept maps example are great to use for working on concepts!
      Thanks much for the comment Beth!

  2. Question… the camera on the iphone 4 is 5 megapixel. If you use that with Prizmo will you get the same improved results versus iPad2?

    • Margaret,
      Great question. I did a single test, Used the same text with the camera on my iPhone4 and I got the same results as using my iPad3, so improved results with the iPhone. The iPad 2 results were not as good as stated in the post due to its lower resolution – and reduced camera abilities (2 megapixel camera I believe). So the camera on the iPhone will give you a better picture thus better scan capabilties.

      ZoomReader, from ai Squared has an app called Zoomreader which is like Prizmo and Text Grabber and it is only for the iPhone due to the higher mega pixels in the camera on the iPhone. So, as I have understood and why I anxiously awaited the iPad 3 for students with LD or LV, the camera on the iPad 3 improved (from 2 Meg pixels to 5 meg pixels – still limited in comparison with current cameras with 12 megapixels…) making the scanning a viable option with the iPad 3.
      Personnally I perfer Prizmo over Zoom Reader- just my limited experience. Zoom Reader is also 19.99 and only for the iPhone currently.

      Thanks Margaret – good question!

  3. Pingback: Comparing OCR Scanning Apps – ZoomReader, Prizmo and TextGrabber | OT's with Apps

  4. Rachel says:

    Primo has now gone up to $10. Wasn’t happy when I went looking to buy it😂

  5. Lynn Flemming says:

    I’m 100% certain this is not the most appropriate place for this comment–but I can’t really find a thread for general ipad questions. I am wondering how other OTs that either work in school districts or are contracted with school districts deal with the issue of paying for apps. The school where I am employed has been reluctant to purchase ipads for student use due to the need to pay for apps online using a credit card (as opposed to the typical system of filling out a purchase order, waiting for administrative approval etc. etc. typically used to purchase equipment and supplies). How are therapists typically downloading/paying for apps that students use?

    • Lynn,
      There are a couple of ways that it can be handled in my mind:
      1. You can have your account or establish an account without a credit card. That is how we do it at our school. If you have not established an account you go and select a free app then choose None for credit card. If you have an established account, you can remove your credit card info by checking None. Here is a link to apples info:
      Then you have the option of doing either:
      a. Using a iTunes card, purchased by the district or your department – suited I believe to individuals who have their own account and will be responsible for only one device.
      b. or purchasing through the Volume Purchase Program that needs to be managed by someone in your school district.

      In the school setting, different than a family or managing several personal devices, the legal method of managing apps is 1:1 with a device – just like installing software on computers at school.

      If you want more information on the VPProgram you can do a search on Apple Volume Purchase Program. There is a whole protocol for joining and administering the VPP for a school district.

      Some OT’s purchase their own. In our small school, our specialists (OT’s and SLP’s ) primarily use iTunes cards as they just manage their own device. We use the VPP program for teachers who manage a number of devices and purchasing/accounting for apps purchased on their devices.

      Hope that helps.

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