Making text accessible with OCR scanning

OCR-Mobile Tools

Optical Character Recognition (OCR scanning) tools are becoming highly mobile! These are scanning applications that can be used with our assistive technology tools. This allows teachers and students to create accessible print documents, worksheets and handouts that can be used with text-to-speech technologies. Going “paperless” + increased accessibility=more flexibility for students!

An advantage of mobile applications is that they are easier to use, and sync with cloud-based platforms that are in place. Another advantage is that students can become increasingly independent with the assistive technology that they require for support.

Here are three examples of effective mobile OCR tools:

AdobeScan: This is our recommended tool for scanning to then use with WordQ/Read and Write for Google. It’s easy to use and accurate. Please refer to this process when using Adobe Scan to scan a paper document which can then be read with WordQ.

Office Lens Android or Office Lens iOS (integrates with Office 365 platform, Word Online and WordQ). Using the camera on the mobile device, this app does OCR scanning and also has an “immersive reader” feature, in which students can read the text directly in the app. The text can then be exported to WordOnline or OneNote, where it can be used with WordQ for reading and writing.

Teacher’s Tech video: How to use Office Lens

Another huge benefit: this app is great for snapping a photo of a whiteboard and organizing the information for students in OneNote or OneDrive. If students have difficulty copying from the whiteboard or Smartboard, they can take a picture of the board with Office Lens, then save the picture to their OneDrive. Check out this video for more information:

Snapverter (integrates with Google Classroom and Read&Write for Google Chrome, to be launched in August 2018). This add-on to Read&Write for Google Chrome transfers paper documents into accessible e-text that can be read and used with Read&Write. The OCR scanning tools adds the document directly into the student’s Google Drive. Please see this video for a quick demo:

OCR-Software

There are pros and cons to OCR scanning with software; the software tools are often much more precise than mobile tools; however they require some training and generally take a bit more time to scan a document.

Adobe Pro: This software converts documents to accessible PDFs, and can create writeable fields for students to write in the document (which can then be used for writing with WordQ). To learn how to scan a text to OCR format with Adobe, see this post.

ABBYY FineReader: ABBYY Fine Reader is an excellent OCR software that is a leader in OCR scanning.

Photocopy machines: Some photocopy machines are OCR enabled when scanning. To do this, select PDF (OCR), and send to your email address. The document can then be used with WordQ or Natural Reader.