Tutor Tips #4: Kurzweil (Text to Speech)

Feeling overwhelmed?

Do you have a lot of reading to do? Perhaps you are lost in your studies. The Commons has many study tools available to you. This week, we will focus on Kurzweil 3000.

Kurzweil 3000 is a software program that is available to users on all LabNet computers as well as the Assistive Technology Stations on the main floor of the QEII Library.  Kurzweil is known as a “text-to-speech” program: it allows digital text (such as websites or PDFS) to be “read” out loud by your computer. The program is designed to help improve your reading comprehension, and it provides extensive reading, writing, and studying supports.  As Kurzweil reads your document aloud, it conveniently highlights phrases as they are read, making it easier for users to follow along.

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Toolbars

Kurzweil 3000 has four main toolbars that provide a user-friendly way of navigating the majority of functions in the program. The toolbars can be minimized by simply clicking on the color bar located on the left side.

The toolbars are organized as follows:

RED – The Main Toolbar contains the program’s scanning, reading, file management, and review tools. Here, you can translate words, hear a word’s definition, and hear the word pronounced by a human voice.

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YELLOW –the Reading Toolbar allows users to change the voice their computer uses to read their documents, as well as the reading speed

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GREEN – Kurzweil 3000 allows users to treat a PDF the same as a paper copy, and the Study Skills Toolbar provides the necessary tools for highlighting, annotating, and adding bookmarks. The highlighting function can be especially helpful, as it allows users to associate different ideas with specific highlighter colours. Users may also create a helpful study aid by exporting their highlighted ideas to a Word document.

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BLUE – the Writing Toolbar is where text font, size, style, spacing, and paragraphing can be formatted. This toolbar also features tools that allow users to brainstorm using mind maps and generating paper outlines

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Text to Audio

One of Kurzweil 3000’s most useful features is its ability to convert a text document to an audio file. This includes Word documents, PDF files, digital e-books, etc. This tool makes studying easier for those who struggle with reading and for those who wish to listen to their readings while doing other tasks.

 

 

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For more information or to book a tutorial in Kurzweil, please visit the Computing Support Desk in The Commons or email commonsat@mun.ca

– Naomi

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