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April 18, 2011

Students from Arizona State Use Windows 7 and OneNote to Create A Note Taking Solution for Legally Blind Students

“They have been training their whole lives to save the world,” said Jane McGonigal, world-renowned game designer and author, in reference to the students who participated in the Microsoft Imagine Cup.

For one member of the winning Software Design team, his solution not only stands to change the world, but to also affect his day-to-day life. David Hayden, the team captain from Arizona State University, was born legally blind. He used his first-hand experience struggling to see the teacher and take notes simultaneously as inspiration to create Note-Taker.

Note-Taker is a system that enables low vision students to take notes in class with the assistance of a custom-designed portable camera, a touch-screen Tablet PC and Microsoft OneNote. The tightly integrated camera and touch-screen Tablet PC running Windows 7 allows the user to simultaneously view live video and take typed or hand-written notes on a split-screen interface.

For legally blind students, it is hard to switch focus between the notebook or computer and the front of the room. The ability to zoom in on the teacher, presentations, handwriting on white boards and more helps students with vision disadvantages independently take notes. The freedom to study without relying on others is a huge step forward in ensuring that these students are able to succeed and stay in school.

You can view a background video on the creation of the project here:

You can also see the winning team presenting at the Imagine Cup here:

The Windows team would like to send a huge note of congratulations to David Hayden, Michael Astrauskas, Qian Yan and Shashank Srinivas for demonstrating what students can do with technology. Your work is astounding and we are certain you will use this tool and more to change the shape of the world for the better! Keep inspiring us!

Have questions? Ask me on Twitter @kristinalibby