What is Kurzweil?
Kurzweil is a text reading software that the district has used in limited amounts in the past. Kurzweil 3000 is much more than a text reader, although we might not use its most advanced features in the short term. Using Kurzweil students can receive reading support by having the program read uploaded textbooks, articles and websites. They can take notes using different tools. Writing support is also integrated (the most basic example is a student can open up a draft of his or her own essay to have it read aloud to them in the editing process).
There are two parts to Kurzweil, the installed software on the computers in your room and the online management of your class/students (VPORT - not something that students ever log into). Your username and password are the same for both. In order to get a document ready for student use, the software needs to be used and the desired document needs to be scanned and uploaded to the Universal Library. See more information below for details.
How do I log in to manage my classes and/or students?
-Visit VPORT at https://secure.vport.voyagerlearning.com/vip/
-Log in using the username and password that Robin Shorett emailed to you. If you can't find this, email RShorett@tamdistrict.org and she'll remind you.
What are some good first steps for teachers to take?
When you log into your account, try to find your class roster. Double check that all the students you want listed are present. You can also check for errors. If they are all listed, you can print the page displaying the usernames and passwords (look for the printer icon at the top right of the list) in order to distribute to students. Once you do this you can have students practice logging on to the Kurzweil software in your classroom. If you want, you can upload a practice document for them to have assistance reading. Try the article entitled "Back to School" that is already uploaded into the Universal Library. For instructions on how to have students access this, see below.
How do I add a separate class?
Email Robin Shorett and request an additional class. Please include what you would like to name the class.
How do I add students to my new or existing class?
Click the "Add Students" button when you are in the "My Class" view looking at the class roster you wish you edit. You can also edit students' information (like username, password, grade, ID number, etc) or delete students from your class in this same view.
How do I scan in a new assignment for a student in Academic Workshop class?Let's say a student comes into your class from his mainstream history class. He has an article that he knows he is going to have trouble reading.
1) The student should bring the article to you, request that you scan the article using one of the school's desktop scanners (you can send the kid or an aid to the room with the scanner if needed).
2) Once the document is scanned, you need to locate it and upload it to the Universal Library. Here's how you do this: Use the most convenient scanner to scan in all pages of the document. Save them in your users folder where you can access them from your computer with Kurzweil open. Once you return to your computer, open Kurzweil and click, file>open. Select the document you just scanned in. Now click "Save to Library." Make sure that you save it to the general library area so it can be accessed by all (unless you have reasons for it not to be available to all).
3) Once the document is uploaded to the Universal Library, tell the student it is ready and he can access it by logging into Kurzweil using his username and password. He will search for the document (so name it well or tell him the exact name you used) and can open it and use Kurzweil for reading and/or note taking support.
4) If he doesn't finish in AW class, he can access this same document from home if he has Kurzweil installed on his home computer. Encourage students you know will benefit from and use Kurzweil to take home an installation DVD (PC or MAC) early, so it's ready when they need it.
**Consider notifying other AW or SDC teachers (anywhere in TUHSD) if you know they have students who may benefit from using Kurzweil with this document. If they know you already uploaded the document, it will save them time scanning and uploading themselves.
What are some resources to help me get to know this program?
Use the support tab when logged into VPORT to access some written materials and some videos. There are simple, quick, and useful ways to use Kurzweil right away in your classroom. There are also MANY more advanced features that will likely take us all a lot longer to learn and use. These include creating our own assignments and actually assigning them to our student's account (rather than the student finding an uploaded document in the Universal Library). We can also create and attach questions to documents (like reading comprehension questions) and have Kurzweil grade and track student performance for us. This might be more useful in SDC classes, but could be used in resource rooms with some creativity.
Based on my review, there are two preferable voices in Kurzweil (VW Julie and VW Paul). Playing with all the voices can be a serious time-suck for your students, it is recommended that this is monitored.To have a website read aloud, open Kurzweil and click the web button on the top navigation. Then open up the desired website. A Kurzweil reading tool bar will appear on the screen. You can then click the play button to initiate reading the text. Sometimes you will need to highlight the desired text first. You can adjust the reading mode, units, and words per minute.
Writing, outlining, brainstorming, essay templates - more tips coming soon!
YouTube videos for Kurzweil Support - available soon!