Author Topic: Hal reader for schools  (Read 3330 times)

achilles

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Hal reader for schools
« on: February 12, 2005, 01:58:31 pm »
A few days ago one of my students - about 15 - looking at a screen full of text, said,' I can't read that much, but if I heard it I can remember it'. That started me on the route to Hal, which I have bought and is fine. The difficulty is this - it needs to be on every computer, about 300, only a small number will use it at any one time. I want it to be comprehensive in availability but not expensive in licences, also we could do with British - English for one very obvious reason.
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Medeksza

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Hal reader for schools
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2005, 12:36:17 pm »
Ultra Hal Text-to-Speech Reader is a freeware program (not the NeoSpeech version). It's license will allow you to install it on all 300 computers if you wish. As long as you install the free version available on this site and not the NeoSpeech version, you are allowed to install it on as many computers as you wish.

Additional generic speech synthesis engines (including British English) are available from Microsoft for free from http://www.microsoft.com/MSAGENT/downloads/user.asp#tts
Robert Medeksza

bitblaster

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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2005, 06:57:20 pm »
Something like that is in my school...

Shouldn't you be aiming at reading skills, though, teach? [:p]
 

FuzzieDice

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Hal reader for schools
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2005, 11:04:47 pm »
I agree, if they can't "read that much" then they should be LEARNING to "read that much". I admit that I don't like to sit and read a bunch of boring stuff that I can't remember.

If the "stuff" they have to read isn't written well, that's why they are complaining and even hearing it may not even help. If the content isn't any good then the retention will be just as bad. The items have to be readable in the first place.

I've read a lot of stuff from magazine articles, news, online documents, and technical documents (I have to do a lot of technical document reading for work as well sometimes), and I do find that a LOT of the time, stuff is not very well written at all, and often vague and the facts are not presented in a straightforward manner which one can remember. Even though people INSIST that YES it IS presented "correctly" so and if they only had THIS option, they can learn it, that's a lot of baloney. If someone can't read "that much", they can't read "that much bullsh***" is what they are saying. They can read "that much" INTERESTING and WELL PRESENTED, well written text. And remember it.

There are some very technical scientific stuff I've read right to the end, even several screens full, because it was so well presented as to be extremely easy to grasp what is being presented and yet quite technical and very interesting. I've also read about one or two paragraphs (if that) of a similarly long supposedly entertaining story and got confused and bored because it was poorly written, uninteresting and didn't present itself in an easy to read manner.

I've also read some news articles on how authors of books are writing more poorly than before, and many people are not really enjoying the books as much. If that says anything about mainstream reading, I dread to think what is being presented in schools!

Having Hal read the stuff won't help. What would is better reading material to begin with. "Can't read that much" would then become a good hour of being glued to the screen with some VERY interesting reading. No Hal needed. :)

Just my .02 worth.

FuzzieDice

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Hal reader for schools
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2005, 11:08:59 pm »
Admittedly, my above post is an example of POORLY presented reading. It's long and quite boring.

Now I could easily sum it up as this:

(start)

I have read reports where authors are not writing good quality books. I believe this may also be true in school materials. If a piece is well written and interesting, someone will be glued to the screen in fascination reading the material and learning. And they would remember the exprience and the information. No need for them to have someone speak it to them. Reading is a must-have skill that needs to be practiced. And to do that, one needs the proper materials which are well presented and interesting.

Make it FUN to read! :)

(finish)

See, now I said basically the same thing in ONE paragraph, not many, and probably (hopefully) better too. :) Hopefully one can see a difference in my examples and see what I mean.

Maviarab

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Hal reader for schools
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2005, 08:16:19 am »
Fuzzie,

glad to see you back i the forums again,

I understand and agree with your point entirely.

very good post
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freddy888

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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2005, 10:02:07 am »
I agree, thats an interesting and well put point you have made.  People generally need something attention grabbing and attention keeping.  Reading is one of the most important skills to learn in life.  And as for long, technical text, that's more the kind of thing you go looking for; so would be fully read anyway (even when it is boring on the surface).

I think Hal could help people learn to read, just so long as it is not depended on - I remember how even calculators were like a gift from the Devil when I was at school, this was the same kind of problem.


FuzzieDice

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Hal reader for schools
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2005, 08:57:28 pm »
So true you guys, so true! :)

As for the calculator thing, I remember I was at the grocery store a couple years back and the clerk goofed something up so the computer didn't tell her the right change, so she was having a tough time trying to figure it out. Before she reached for her calculator, I had the answer. [^] I admit that computers have made me a little lazy. I do remember a time when I could convert binary/decimal/hexidecimal - in my head! Lack of practice made me forget. :( Use it or lose it!

As for me being "back" in the forums - I'm kinda in and out. :) Been busy with stuff, so sometimes I don't always get to check in here.

Glad everyone liked the post. :)


Edit: Forgot to mention, I am a professional web designer/tech writer and write FAQs and documents for scripts. I also on my off time like to write short fiction stories and Knight Rider fanfic. In fact, one of my stories won "Best Story" in the Knight Rider Online forum. :) (You can read my stories here: http://krdatabank.bravehost.com/) So I kind of have some experience in both creative and technical writing. I'm not perfect, but I think I might know what goes into readable material. :)
« Last Edit: June 28, 2005, 09:00:31 pm by FuzzieDice »