Introducing text-to-speech software Kurzweil 3000

Thanks to generous support from Scotiabank, Mount Allison has been able to purchase a site license of Kurzweil 3000 text-to-speech (TTS) software. Kurzweil is a TTS downloadable software that is available for Mt. A students, staff and faculty. An informative event on this software was held on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at the Pond, where staff helped students download and become oriented with the product.

“I think this is awesome. This program can be helpful for so many students, and it is amazing that it is now a free, accessible resource when typically it costs almost $2,000 for an individual license,” said Kate Robertson, Mt. A student development counsellor.

The program is designed to assist individuals with their reading and writing, which is of particular interest to university students who have an abundance of this type of work.  Any document, including journal articles, textbooks and scanned texts, can be processed by Kurzweil and read aloud while it simultaneously highlights the text, allowing users to follow along with the audio. Recordings of texts can be downloaded as MP3 files or voice notes and listened to while doing something else, like cooking or walking to class.

Matt Kalichuk, the disability service advisor, is a strong supporter of this software. “Kurzweil works really well with Microsoft Word documents, so students can use Kurzweil as a proofreading tool,” Kalichuk said. “Using Kurzweil to read your paper back to you aloud can serve this purpose as well, helping you to ‘hear’ your mistakes out loud that might have otherwise been missed when silently reading to oneself.”

Kurzweil 3000 also provides access to study tools that allow users to highlight text and create study guides. There are features that can assist students in formatting and mapping out papers and writing assignments. Digital writing utensils are available to create and erase notes while using the program.

In terms of results and benefits, a recent study in Iowa demonstrated that, when given higher level comprehension questions, individuals who used Kurzweil scored six per cent higher than those who did not. Because of the diversity of Kurzweil’s services and resources, the software can conform to meet the needs of each user and enhance individual success.

For more information or to download and register this program, visit mta.ca/kurzweil3000.

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