Michigan State University's Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) Stern Tutoring and Alternative Techniques for Education (STATE) program is an innovative initiative that aims to help MSU students with learning disabilities who are on academic probation or at risk of falling on probation. This signature program promotes inclusion and provides support for MSU students with disabilities through a semester-long instructional seminar, students learn strategies for academic success, improve on skills such as notetaking and studying, as well as receiving guidance on utilizing accommodations and assistive technologies in their academic career.
This year, RCPD took an opportunity to scaffold the program with additional opportunities to improve the ease of taking notes in real time, by using Rocketbooks. Rocketbooks are a popular type of notebook that can be erased and reused many times, using commonly available FriXion pens. In the Spring 2023 cohort of the STATE program, each student received a Rocketbook CORE, a reusable erasing cloth and a FriXion pen at no cost to them.
Rocketbook’s core advantage is providing the handwritten experience of notetaking with the opportunity to digitize your notes and seamlessly integrate them into your preferred content platform. The Rocketbook App saves valuable time and effort transcribing and transforming lecture notes into workable content for study and assignments. Handwritten text and numbers are converted to machine-readable text, and doodles, graphs and sketches are converted to digital images.
STATE students were strongly encouraged to utilize OneNote as their notetaking solution, importing their digitized class notes in, along with other course materials and lecture content. Placing all their materials in one location confers easier access through enhanced searchability, as well as a flexible system to organize their notes, no matter what format they might come in. The University-supported Microsoft Spartan 365 environment is accessible and highly interconnected, easily integrating content from OneNote into Word, PowerPoint, Excel and beyond.
Students who find using laptops in classroom settings distracting, or have screen sensitivities, are well-served by using Rocketbooks for traditional notetaking strategies, knowing their work will be easily digitized for copy-pasting into coursework, learning platforms and more. Content digitized in this way is also usable with software that reads aloud text, removing text access barriers for some and creating multimodal access to text for others, hearing and reading their notes simultaneously.
By providing personalized support, academic strategies and assistive technologies, the program helps students succeed academically, socially, and professionally. One student participant reported that the STATE program helped them to learn new tools to help with their daily studies – the Rocketbook being only one of those tools. If you are a student with a learning disability who is at risk of falling on academic probation, the RCPD STATE program may be a valuable resource to help you achieve your goals.