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Auto Summarization

In dealing with textbooks and students with disabilities, one of the most common things that we would do is to get the textbook in a digital format, as an ebook. By doing this we were able to use a number of tools based on the need of the student. I've had students who could not lift their physical printed textbook, but would be able to access though a laptop installed in their electronic wheelchair, for students with vision issues we could boost the font size or use a text-to-speech tool to have the book read aloud to them. One tool that I used with a number of my students who had issues was the Auto Summarize tool in Word. The tool works well with textbook, but wouldn't work for other texts, such as novels.  I used this to reduce the amount of text that they had to read, the "cognitive load" of the text, but would still enable be able to get the information. Word did a great job, and depending on the student I would reduce the text to about 66% for facts and support, or at about 30% to get just the facts displaying either as a summary document or highlighting the identified text. For some reason Microsoft removed the autosummary feature in the latest version of Word, Word 2010, and I've seen on a number of forums people asking where the tool is - but it's gone. You can still do summaries, but you will need to use other tools, ones outside of Word. You might try some of the following sites if you are using a version of Word that can't do autosummary or if you use a different word processing program. If you use Auto Summarize with your students, think long and hard before you upgrade to 2010, you might want to save the program and have both running. And I encourage any and everyone to write to Microsoft and ask them to make the Auto Summarize application available somehow, as it was a great accessibly tool.

Online Auto Summary Tools:

Tools 4 Noobs Summarize: http://www.tools4noobs.com/summarize/
Brevity Document Summarizer: http://www.lextek.com/cgi-bin/brevtest 

Comments

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