What’s New? Technology Advancements for Interact-AS
Increasingly, students who are hard of hearing are requesting captioning as an accommodation in secondary school. Interact-AS is a computer program that provides realtime captioning on a media device on the student’s desk. Only the speech that is picked up from a microphone is captioned. Interact-AS now has microphone options to assist in providing access during discussion group situations.
Register for our first Interact-AS webinar on Sept 20th at 1:30 CT.
A Few of the New Features for Interact-AS™
Supporting Success is proud to be the sole source to offer Interact-AS captioning technology to schools!
The new products described below will soon be added to those offered by Supporting Success.
Welcome to the new school year. We’ve got some good news for you. Two of the requests that we received from teachers during the 2016-2017 school year was a way to better support team teaching situations and also student discussion groups. Plus, there were several other suggestions we received. Thanks for forwarding those ideas to us. By partnering together we can help ensure every student has equal access to classroom discussions. Here is a quick summary of how over the summer we took your suggestions and came up with solutions.
Voice Training is No Longer Needed: With Interact-AS™ Version 6 you no longer need to train voice profiles. You still can train a voice profile, and it is recommended that each teacher do this, but training is no longer required. Having the ability to recognize speech without having pre-trained voice profiles means students can now pass a microphone around their group and whatever they are saying will be captioned. Also, a substitute teacher no longer needs to train a voice profile. Instead you can just create a User Account called “Substitute Teacher” and use the default “English Speech” option. Also, training a voice profile is now much faster. Instead of taking about 8 minutes to do this, with Version 6 it only takes about a minute. That was step one in our summer efforts. Next, we worked on microphones…
Team Teaching: To support team teaching situations Auditory Sciences is now offering a new dual-channel wireless receiver. This new Dual Receiver includes a second audio channel, so now two wireless microphones can be simultaneously connected to the student’s computer. You still need to take turns speaking, but two teachers can now easily be part of the same captioned conversation. There’s no longer a need to switch user profiles, or hand over a microphone, or to turn off and on a transmitter. Just turn on your microphone and it automatically connects to the student’s computer. The new Dual Receiver includes a built-in audio output jack. This makes it easier to connect an earbud, headset, hearing aid or CI to the wireless microphone. All you do is plug the device into the receiver, that’s it. Plus, this new receiver includes a built-in digitizer, meaning you no longer need a USB adapter to connect the receiver to the computer. Fewer parts, not as many connections, and more functionality, all built in to a receiver that can still fit in a student’s pocket.
New Handheld Wireless Microphone: The previous handheld wireless microphone was designed for use in adult conference rooms — the setup time was way too long for classroom use. That issue is now solved. The new handheld wireless microphone automatically connects to the new Dual Receiver.
Mix and Match Components: With the new Dual Receiver and handheld and wireless transmitters you can mix and match components to meet your needs. You can use two wireless headsets (e.g., for two teachers); or one wireless headset and one wireless handheld (e.g., for a teacher and a group of students); or two wireless handhelds (e.g., for a large auditorium assembly). Plus, there are more options…
1:1 Teaching or Meetings: In addition to the new wireless components, we also developed a new Y-Cable (part Z.DUAL.CAB) that allows multiple microphones to be connected via cables to a student’s computer. This is an extremely low-cost team-teaching solution ($14.95). It’s a cabled versus wireless option, so this is not a solution designed for use in a classroom, but it works great for 1:1 meetings with the student, or during an IEP where multiple people may be speaking.
More Team Teaching Options: So, what about situations where you have dozens of people speaking? We’ve got an answer for that as well. We’ve added a new feature to Interact-AS that is called Streamer™. With Streamer™ you can connect as many people as you want to a student’s computer. Literally, you can have hundreds of people speaking, even speaking at the exact same time, and whatever they say is labeled with the speaker’s name, captioned, and displayed on the student’s computer. The way this works is that each person that is speaking needs to have a copy of Interact-AS running on their computer (such as the teacher’s computer). Whatever they say is captioned on that computer and then “streamed” to the student’s desk. The student can view the captioning on any device that can connect to the internet, including iPad, Chromebooks, Android Phones and iPhones. Note that student does not need to install any app on their device, all they’ll do is go to www.streamer.center and enter the name of your Streamer™ account (usually the name of your school) and that’s it. Note also that you can have as many students as you want connect to the Streamer account. So, for example, if you have 20 students in an all-school assembly that want to see a captioning and/or translation of what is being said, with Streamer™ you’re all set. The same for enabling those students to view a captioning of the morning announcements, or an announcer at the football game. The Streamer™ module costs just $99, and like Interact-AS, this is for a permanent unlimited use license.
More Comfortable Teacher Microphone: This past year many teachers requested that we offer a behind-the-head microphone versus the over-the-top version. So, we’ve done that as well. You now can choose the style of microphone that you would like to use with your Interact-AS Captioning and Translation System. You can select the traditional over-the-head option or the behind-the-head option.
A More Cosmetically Acceptable Student Receiver: For students where “fitting in” is a priority, we’ve developed a receiver that looks like a USB thumb drive. This USB model receiver was designed to be as small as possible. It does not have dual channels (just a single channel), nor an audio output jack for a hearing aid or CI, but it is incredibly small. For some students, this may be the key to having them be excited about using a captioning system. Keep it in mind as an option when configuring a captioning system for your students.
Easier Phrase Building: Interact-AS™ includes at no extra charge the complete set of PhraseBuilder™ features. These are used by students that are non-verbal. This past year many teachers requested an improved way to create and maintain Favorites Lists. These are lists of phrases and/or sentence constructs that students can use to easily ask questions in the class or hold conversations with others. So, we did it. You can now use basically any text editor (such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs) and with a single click convert that document into a Favorites List. Likewise, you can export a Favorites List into your preferred text editor. This new module is free, just ask, and we’ll be glad to send you a download link.
Thanks Again for your Suggestions. Together, Interact-AS, Supporting Success and YOU are making the classroom more accessible for everyone, including students that are Deaf, Hard of Hearing and/or non-verbal. You, the teachers, are the most important members of our team. Thanks for all you do to help so many students !!!