Results of OrCam trial by Queensland Department of Education

As educators many of you would be aware that large numbers of students struggle to keep up in the classroom due to reading difficulties. Some students, particularly adolescents, can be resistant to supports such as teacher’s aides to assist them with reading. OrCam is a highly effective electronic reading device that students can utilise autonomously and discreetly in the classroom, allowing them to focus on the learning content, rather than the reading process.

Back in November 2019 in this newsletter we detailed how the Department of Education in Queensland were trialling the OrCam MyReader wearable text to speech device with a number of their students with reading difficulties. This trial has now been completed and the results released.

The OrCam is a wearable technology that speaks digital or printed text. The device discreetly attaches to a pair of spectacles or is held by hand. The user points the camera contained in the OrCam towards the text, resulting in the device speaking the text aloud. Speech feedback is almost instantaneous and can be repeated or fast-forwarded with simple swipe gestures.

Nine Queensland schools, a mix of metropolitan, rural, and remote (including two indigenous) trialed the device over two terms in 2019/2020. Each of the nine schools’ principals had identified students with reading difficulties owing to behavioral, cultural, intellectual, dyslexia or other factors: these students were invited to take part in the trial.

The study has shown that the OrCam portable text-to-speech device has significant potential to improve struggling students’ engagement with the curriculum and boost their academic outcomes.

The curriculum areas where OrCam was used most were English and Math as indicated in the graph below.

Graph showing Curriculum areas Orcam is used in

Some of the key findings included:

  • All schools indicated every target student increased engagement with written content when using the OrCam, with more than 50% indicating an increase in engagement of more than 25%.”
  • “Almost a quarter of students were reported as increasing engagement with written content of more than 100%.”
  • “Over 62% of students were either highly motivated to use the OrCam or sought out the OrCam to use during reading tasks.”

One of the examples of feedback from the teachers is the quote below

“The student was engaged from the commencement of lessons (in contrast to their usual slow start), remained engaged for the duration of the lesson rather than 'tiring, was able to be a self-starter and revelled in their new found ability to be an independent worker.  Equipped with their knowledge of the content they were able to engage actively in peer to peer learning conversations.”

If you would like more information about the OrCam please contact us or view the product range on our website: here