The software analyzes the sounds of speech within the context of what was said, and displays the text in less than 2 seconds.The software even learns your speech patterns for better recognition and greater accessibility for the students. Click the Video image to view the 7 minute video.
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WHY IS IT NEEDED? To help close the “listening gap.” Many students with hearing loss can keep up with their class peers in K-2 but by grade 3 gaps in performance often begin to be evident. The gaps are not a surprise considering that a portion of all communication in the classroom is being missed, even when students are really expending their best effort and using great hearing technology. They need accommodations to improve their access to what the teacher is saying. Captioning can be a very effective accommodation to improve access for many students. Read: Classroom Captioning: Interact-AS is Making a Difference in Listening Comprehension
HOW DOES IT WORK? Quickly, with 90-95% accuracy. The teacher wears a head-worn microphone. What the teacher says shows up as text as shown here. It will appear on the laptop or media device at the student’s desk (see computer requirements). The software applies probability algorithms at 3 levels for best accuracy: probably of the phoneme said, the phonemes that make up a word, and that the words fit into a sensible sentence. The center box shows the text as it flows into the system. The top box to contains the text of what was just said in a ‘chunked’ form to enhance comprehension. If the student is unsure about the context he can look at the bottom box that provides a few of the most recent sentences or phrases for greater context to aid understanding. It generates a transcript file so you can look back on a lesson, but the transcription can also be easily turned off. The size of the font can be made larger so it is easy and quick to read for individual students.
How is Interact-AS different from other types of captioning or CART? Faster, cheaper, always available, immediate transcript, facilitates greater student independence. When transcribing what the teacher says has to be heard and then turned around and typed or transcribed through CART or a captioning system there may a delay for the teacher’s words to appear, especially if a remote system is used and/or if a person who is not highly trained/skilled is providing this service. Any delay of more than a couple of seconds is really too long for the student who uses speechreading to put the visual speech cues together with text to aid understanding. All too often the student either ends up mostly ignoring the captioning or only reading the captions and being left out of real time communication. No one needs to be hired or scheduled to caption and no internet connection is required. The school district owns the software and the computer making this a much less expensive and more convenient option for school districts. For the price of 10 hours of CART services (at $80/hour) the school district could purchase one permanent license of the software.
What is the down side? Translation is not perfect. Perfect no – good, YES – with accuracy in the mid-to-high 90% range for native English speakers with clear speaking styles (articulates relatively clearly versus a more relaxed manner of speech). Punctuation may or may not be correct depending on how the software interprets the pauses of the speaker.
The person speaking wears a boom microphone and his/her voice is transmitted to the PC where it is translated into text that appears in about one second on the PC screen. For the necessary accuracy, the microphone needs to be within 1-2 inches of the speaker’s mouth. Teachers who speak clearly and pause naturally will have the highest captioning accuracy.
What about a trial period so we can see if Interact-AS will really benefit the student?
The full version of Interact-AS is not returnable. A 30-day trial version of the software is available for $99 which includes the loan of a wireless microphone system (with a return deposit). For more information on this Trial Program click here.
In the 30 days it is recommended that the student work with the teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing and or speech language pathologist to gather information on how well the child can understand information presented verbally when just listening/ listening with speech reading/ listening with Interact-AS support. For more information on Assessing the Benefit of Interact-AS click here.
During the trial period the classroom teacher(s) can become familiar with how the system operates. All involved staff can learn how to access the transcripts for use in 1:1 work with the student, to support student homework, or even to have available for teacher planning or when other students are absent.
Finally, the student can be fully involved in how the system works as well as understanding his/her responsibility for care and daily management. It can be expected that the student will increase the use of speech-to-text translation with experience as s/he is likely to be unaccustomed to glancing down and accessing text if s/he is unsure of what was just said. Therefore, staff should plan on working with the student in using the Interact-AS repeatedly, gathering data on performance with various types of information and comprehension tasks over the course of the trial period.
If a school decides to purchase the Interact-AS, what will it get?
Interact-AS is software used for real-time captioning, speech generation, note-taking and language translation (speech and documents). It is not a complete “system” as both a computer and a microphone need to be provided by the school.
- A permanent license of the Interact-AS Professional Edition for Educators software for a single computer via a download link
- A Quick Start Guide to get you Interacting right away, including installation support
- One year of unlimited technical support and free upgrades
What else will the school have to provide for a student to use the Interact-AS?
1) COMPUTER: Students that travel between classes will each need to have the software loaded onto a PC laptop or a media device that meets the criteria for running the software. This is the most typical use of the Interact-AS accommodation.
If there are multiple students in one class, typically for all day, and the classroom teacher has a PC (desktop or laptop) running on her desk, then the student(s) could use an iPad or other media tablet with the additional Streamer™ module to receive the captioning (requires internet connection). It is also possible to have the captioning viewable on a separate screen for all students in the classroom to access.
2) WIRELESS MICROPHONE SYSTEM: A wireless headset microphone with a boom microphone MUST be used with the Interact-AS so the teacher can move around the classroom. The boom mic should be no further than 1″ to 2″ from the teacher’s mouth. A pass-around microphone for peers can also be but must be positioned properly for captioning accuracy.
Refer to the Purchasing Page and the $99 Trial Period pages for information on the available microphones.
3) SOFTWARE UPGRADES AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT: The Interact-AS software is a permanent license that the district will own. Software upgrades (years 2-5) are not included but can be purchased any time in the first five years from purchase. Technical support is also an extra cost after the first year. Purchase is not mandatory, but is recommended if the school district plans on using the Interact-AS to support student learning for a number of years. Refer to the Purchasing Page for more information on software upgrades and continuing technical support.
What if we need help with Interact-AS – who provides support?
Contact Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss for any specific questions about how Interact-AS can be used to meet the needs of a specific student and how to get the most out of a 30-day trial. Email Mike Massine at email@example.com or call 888-963-8991 ext 4.
Technical support for the Interact-AS Professional Edition for Educators software is provided by Auditory Sciences, the developers of the Interact-AS software.Call 507-645-8924 or email firstname.lastname@example.org