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Adaptive Instruction for Teacher Education: Inclusive Approaches, Resources and Technology
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Technology Type: READING

Category: Optical Character Recognition and Reading Software


Optical character recognition (OCR) is the process of converting an image of text, such as a scanned paper document or electronic fax file, into computer-editable text. The text in an image is not editable: the letters are made of tiny dots (pixels) that together form a picture of text. During OCR, the software analyzes an image and converts the pictures of the characters to editable text based on the patterns of the pixels in the image. After OCR, you can export the converted text and use it with a variety of word-processing, page layout and spreadsheet applications. OCR also enables screen readers and refreshable braille displays to read the text. The text must be reviewed for accuracy and edited as necessary.

Kurzweil provides both the scanning technology and tools for conversion of the text to auditory output. Some features which support a range of needs include:

  • Rate of reading/audio output can be speeded up or slowed down
  • Includes dictionary function
  • Aids comprehension through use of highlighter tools and other supports
  • Writing supports include brainstorming, outlining tools, writing templates, etc.

There are toolbars for reading, writing and study skills.

Screenshot of Kurzweil



  • Through OCR digitization, provides learners with access to curriculum materials, supporting principles of universal design
  • Enables multiple ways for students of all abilities to engage with digital text
  • Provides scaffolding for reading, writing and organizational skills

Kurzweil recommends their product for students from grades 3 through 12.



View a Product Demonstration of Kurzweil


A full range of tutorials on use of Kurzweil are available from the Special Education Technology British Columbia Organization. Visit SET-BC Kurzweil 3000 Resources.

Quick Start

Quick Start for Kurzweil 3000