I work with 27 pupils in grade 4-
6 in a rural school and we have a small access to ICT tools. A couple of months ago me and my colleagues visited an educational fair and there we were introduced to a scanner mouse. We thought it seemed to be a useful tool, both for teachers and students, and also a little funny so we decided to buy one to our school to try.
A scanner mouse is a mouse and a scanner in one. The scanner mouse works by using an underside with 5 LEDs which reflect the image the user is scanning into the mouse. By pressing a button on the mouse and then swipe the bottom of the mouse over a document or a picture it gets digitized and sent to your computer. You can swipe the bottom of the mouse in any direction over the document and you can do it rather fast. It is possible to scan any size up to A3 but you can also scan a select area on a large sheet of paper.
Thanks to the OCR functionality (Optical Character Reader), the text can be scanned and edited directly in the computer. Scanned material can be exported, edited and saved in many different formats, such as doc, pdf, jpeg and tiff. It can also be transferred to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr (by shortcut links) or as an attachment in a new e-mail message. The price for a scanner mouse is about 600 – 1000 Swedish crowns.
Since we have only had the scanner mouse for a short period, we haven’t got much time to explore it enough yet, but there are many different ways that one can use it.
So far, the pupils have scanned their painted images which they then saved in a word document. Then they have written their own texts about the picture. They have also written texts by hand, scanned the text into the computer and finally use word processing programs to improve their texts. Sometimes they have used ViTal ( which is a “talsyntes”) to get their texts read aloud. They have both been working on their own but also in pairs or smaller groups and I can say they really enjoy using the scanner mouse. The scanner mouse is simple to use and I think it can be a useful resource in English teaching.
Why not give it a try – good luck!
Rosita Glimnér Strömberg