Assistive Technology Resources

This resource provides information about low cost and no cost tools and software that can support students in their academic work.

Free Text-to-Speech Software

  • Click, Speak – a Mozilla Firefox add-on that uses the voices in your operating system to read the text on the website. http://clickspeak.clcworld.net/  For Mac users – Speaking Fox: http://addons.mozilla.org/en-USfirefox/addon/13094
  • WordTalk – an add-on for Microsoft Word that will read back your document while highlighting each word. http://www.wordtalk.org.uk/
  • Web Anywhere – a free screen reader that is web-based and designed specifically for reading the web. Web Anywhere runs on any machine with a sound card and with any browser. http://webanywhere.cs.washington.edu/
  • Web Notes – Available for Mozilla Firefox. The free version of this tool allows users to highlight text and make notes on the text of the web pages they read. The annotations remain on the web pages for future reference. WebNotes Pro, which costs $10 a month, allows users to highlight in multiple colors and to annotate PDF files in addition to web pages. http://www.webnotes.net/
  • Zotero – Available for Mozilla Firefox. Zotero allows the user to gather online citations and construct offline citations using present forms. The citations are saved to libraries and can be exported into Microsoft Word. Zotero will also save live links and screenshots. http://www.zotero.org/
  • Hyperwords – Available for Mozilla Firefox. With Hyperwords you can right click on any word you type or see online to get spell check, definitions, translations, Google searches, shopping, and more. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/search?q=hyperwords&cat=all 
  • My Study Bar – This add-on tool provides a floating toolbar which consists of a set of portable open source and freeware applications for reading, writing, and studying. My Study Bar is available for Windows operating systems, and can be downloaded for free.  http://www.rsc-ne-scotland.ac.uk/eduapps/mystudybar.php

Free Research and Study Skills Tools

Free Visual Tools

  • Xmind – free mind mapping software that allows the user to create a variety of map styles, such as concept maps, flowcharts, and tree maps. Users can add images from files or the web. Design features (colors and shapes) can be added to maps. http://www.xmind.net/
  • Flash Card Machine – This program allows users to create flash cards that include images, audio, and a variety of font styles and colors. Includes a wide assortment of publicly accessible card sets on a wide variety of topics. http://www.flashcardmachine.com
  • Readability – a Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari add-on that allows users to remove ads and other distracting material from web page displays. One mouse click removes the distractions and allows the user to focus on the page content. Readability includes options for style, font size, and margin width. Users can print or e-mail their decluttered page. http://www.lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/
  • Stickies for Windows – A colorful, user-friendly desktop sticky note program for PCs. http://www.zhornsoftware.co.uk

Free Audio Recording and Screen Casting Software

  • Audacity – With Audacity, you can record yourself or others using your computer’s built-in mic or a headset. You can edit and save your recording as an MP3 file. You may also type labels under the resulting spectrograph for quick access to key points of a lecture. Audacity is popular with students as an enhancement for note taking. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
  • Jing – With Jing, you can capture your computer screen movements on video for up to five minutes. http://jingproject.com/
  • Eyejot – With Eyejot, you can send video messages as easily as you send e-mail messages. You can upload your video to Eyejot and send it. Recipients receive an e-mail message informing them of the video message. http://www.eyejot.com

Time Management Tools

  • Skoach – Skoach was designed by Dr. Kathleen Nadeau, the author of ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life (2002). This web based program offers a 30 day free trial. It provides the user with a time management system and multi-level project planning options. http://www.skoach.com
  • ToDoist – This web based tool is designed to manage to-do lists and project tasks. The free version provides color coding, date insertion, queries, and keyboard shortcuts options. The Premium version ($3.00 a month) offers reminders via phone, e-mail, instant messaging, or Twitter. http://todoist.com/#start
  • Livescribe Pulse Smartpen – This pen can record lectures that are timed to your handwritten notes. The pen requires special paper, which you can purchase or create yourself. Notes can be uploaded to your computer along with the recorded lectures. http://www.livescribe.com
  • ReadingPen Advanced – This pen scans text and reads words aloud. It will read definitions of words, and it is loaded with 600,000 word definitions. http://www.wizcomtech.com
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking: News & Updates (SoftNet) – This site hosts reviews, articles, and a wealth of effective tips for users of Dragon Naturally Speaking. There are helpful links to ‘Speech Recognition Tips,’ ‘Microphones,’ ‘Dragon Command List,’ and ‘What version is Right for You?’ http://www.pcspeak.com
  • QIAT – (Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology) – The QIAT consortium is a nationwide grassroots group of individuals who help one another through the process of identifying, disseminating, and implementing a set Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology Services. This website is hosted by the University of Kentucky. http://natri.uky.edu/assoc_projects/qiat/

Peripherals

Helpful Websites

  • Dragon Naturally Speaking: News & Updates (SoftNet) – This site hosts reviews, articles, and a wealth of effective tips for users of Dragon Naturally Speaking. There are helpful links to ‘Speech Recognition Tips,’ ‘Microphones,’ ‘Dragon Command List,’ and ‘What version is Right for You?’ http://www.pcspeak.com
  • QIAT – (Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology) – The QIAT consortium is a nationwide grassroots group of individuals who help one another through the process of identifying, disseminating, and implementing a set Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology Services. This website is hosted by the University of Kentucky. http://natri.uky.edu/assoc_projects/qiat/