A WYNNing student
2 August 2010
Kangan Institute IT student Anthony Cook received an opportunity of a lifetime when he was awarded the Quantum Technology and Freedom Scientific WYNN scholarship on Tuesday 13 July. The scholarship entitled Anthony to a copy of the innovative literacy software valued at $1000.
WYNN, which stands for What You Need Now, was developed for people with print disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia and aphasia. Since its release, WYNN has become an invaluable resource to countless students like Anthony.
Throughout his life, the dedicated 49-year-old student has faced daily reading and writing challenges. Then two years ago Anthony was introduced to WYNN whilst studying for his Certificate I in Information Technology. Since then, he hasn't looked back. In his winning 500-word application, Anthony explains how using the software has changed his "whole attitude and approach to study." "It's been unreal," Anthony says "for me it's opened up a whole new way of learning."
WYNN transforms ordinary text into understandable information through a variety of functions, including text-to-speech synthesis (which uses both male and female voices and a range of different accents including Australian, Canadian, American and British), altering the text size and type as well as background and text colours for readability. Also, through optical character recognition and voice synthesis, printed documents can be converted into MP3 files allowing students to listen to books, newspapers and lecture notes via music players such as iPods.
With the help of Kangan Institute's Disability Learning Support Service, a tutor was provided & Anthony began experimenting with the program's various features that allow him to read and understand text in an entirely new way.
"It's changed my life," he says. "Now that I've got my own software I'll even be able to do tasks at home that people usually take for granted. I can scan in my mail and have it read out to me. I can check whether what I'm writing is correct and help my children with their homework."
Anthony is also hoping that using WYNN will open up more opportunities at his work for the Melbourne City Mission and as a volunteer for the State Emergency Service (SES).
"I'll now be able to do other kinds of work in the office. I can also qualify for more courses with the SES, read the training manuals and update my skills for when I'm out helping with the fire services, floods and other emergencies."
In the meantime, Anthony is focused on finishing his Certificate II in IT at the end of the year and is confident in his plans to further his studies.
"I'm going to explore more and see what I can do. WYNN just makes things so much easier. It has really opened up more avenues for me to learn more."
Currently Kangan Institute students can access the WYNN software at the Broadmeadows, Essendon and Richmond Library and Learning Centres.