Cadet Invention Helps Kids Learn

By: Katherine Cook
By: Katherine Cook

Air Force Academy Cadets are launching a new invention that helps learning-disabled kids succeed in school. It's called PointScribe. The computer program helps kids with visual attention disorders learn how write and stay focused on their tasks. Studies show children with visual attention disorders have difficulty focusing their eyes and hands while using a paper and pencil. PointScribe uses sounds and animation to draw the child's eyes to the writing surface, which keeps the child focused. Academy Seniors Sebastian Hickey and Matt Hellier designed the software and are letting area schools test it out. District 11 occupational therapist Paula Wray says PointScribe is helping many of her students excel where they once couldn't.
"It (PointScribe) is a multi-sensory tool," said Wray. "Pencil and paper is just eye to hand, you don't get the auditory feedback."
Wray says because it's kinesthetic, PointScribe encourages movement and directs kids where to start and stop while tracing letters on the screen. However, Wray says the 2 most importance parts of the program are it's ability to give kids audible encouragement and the chance to immediately start over when they mess up-- features she says are helpful to kids of every learning ability.
PointScribe is the first product of FalconWorks, a non-profit innovation hub which builds unique community-based projects. PointScribe's software is patent pending and should be available to the public in the summer of 2008. Proceeds from software sales will fund other FalconWorks projects.


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