University creates new learning assistance center

By: Gina Carfagno ~Staff Writer~

Students struggling with difficulty reading and writing will now have a new opportunity to receive assistance, as the university received a grant from the Women of Excellence to create the Assistive Technology and Learning Center (ATLC).

The ATLC was developed to create a learning center that is equipped with programs to help reduce student difficulties that prevent them from learning. These include reading print materials, writing, study skills, note taking and organizational abilities.

The Women of Excellence awarded Xavier the grant for excellent collaboration between the occupational therapy, special education and learning center, digital media and instructional design departments.

Although the lab has the ability to help students with disabilities, it serves all students.

“We wanted a place for students, both disabled and not, to get help with organization of material and time management, and get them familiar with what tools are out there,” Assistant Director of Disability Services Cassandra Jones said.

The lab contains technology compatible with computers, iPads, iPhones and iTouches. Depending on the needs of the student, the technology they use can sync up to any of these devices.

There are three computers in the lab which have programs like the Texas Speech Program’s Read and Write Gold for those who have issues with reading, researching, studying and writing. The program allows students to hear documents read aloud.

The lab also has the Dragon Naturally Speaking program which allows students who have problems writing to dictate while the program types.

The ATLC offers two different types of learning-assistance pens which aid students in the process of reading and writing.

One of these pens helps those who struggle with vocabulary by providing spot pronunciations and definitions of words as they read.

The Livescribe Smartpen records oral lectures and enters them as text on a computer.

Inside the ATLC, students will be able to learn about and then use these devices to enhance their learning.

Currently, junior Jay Jones runs the ATLC, though the lab will be looking to hire another student as well.

Applications for the job will be on the student eXperience website sometime before spring break.

To schedule a demonstration of the services offered at the center, students or teachers can email Group demonstrations are available on request.

The lab is located on the third floor of the Conotan Learning Commons, room 336.