Assistive Technology


Windows 2010 or later, you can download a free copy of Window-Eyes from Microsoft’s link:


visit the BDA Technology for a guide for apps for devices and phones (last updated June 2014)


Creating Accessible Word Documents

North Carolina Assistive Technology Program publishes a daily update on all things AT can be found here


Klavaro Touch Typing Tutor



Touchfire iPad Keyboard

you can feel where the keys are on your iPad, and rest your fingers on the home row without accidentally triggering the touch screen. Now typing is fast, accurate and comfortable. You can even type without looking at the screen.


Rainbow Sentences

is designed to help students improve their ability to construct grammatically correct sentences by using color coded visual cues. The who, what, where, and why parts of sentences are color coded to help students recognize and understand how combinations of these parts create basic sentence structure.


Balabolka is screen reading software that uses the computer’s existing  voices.  This Balabolka guide was created by Henri Court at Bucks University (updated Jan 2013).

Word Guide: There is a free spell checker add-on for Balabolka (doesn’t come built in):

Free Modern Voices: There are also now some great free modern voices available for post 16 institutions and students to download and use with Balabola. Each institution must register using the following address URL in order for the voices to be networked and studnets to be able to download independently:

X-Mind X-mind is an excellent piece of free software that would benefit non DSA funded students.  This X-mind guide was  created by Henri Court at Bucks University.

Eduapps –  a whole package of free technology developed by Craig Mill

Text to Speech

The new text-to-speech voices are now freely available to students studying at post-16 institutions in England. Students must have an email address linked to their institution in order to register for the downloads which work on both Mac and Windows.

The download page is located at:

Mozilla Firefox is a free open source Internet browser built with security and accessibility in mind.  Delicious is a website bookmarking tool add-on for Firefox that makes saving and archiving Internet research for projects and assignments simple and accessible wherever you are.  Read this Guide to using both

The University of Hull has produced  2 podcasts demonstrating AT.

iGoogle, Google Calendar and Google Tasks are free open source Internet based calendar and task management tools.  You can never lose your calendar-diary as it is stored online!  Read this guide to using these tools

Chrome add-in here:

And info about Google docs/Drive here:

It is also worth considering the power of Google’s spellcheck functionality – all of which is also contained in Google Drive, as well as their search engines.  some interesting research in this:

In terms of organising work, you can get great results with Evernote – especially as it synchronises across all your devices, and can take images, video and text.  Evernote also has a good app for Chrome (and Firefox) called Clearly which enables you to read web pages without all the adverts and other clutter – you can highlight in it, and clip it to your Evernote account.

There’s plenty of free (or pre-installed) software that helps tutors teach in dyslexia friendly ways including:

  • Magnification, reflow, colour change and autoscroll on PDF documents
  • Use of heading styles and and Navigator view on Word docs
  • Use of inbuilt Text to Speech in recent versions of Word (or free WordTalk plugin for older versions)
  • Use of free high quality text to speech voices like TechDis Jess and Jack (England), Stuart and Heather in Scotland or Geraint and Gwyneth in Wales. Use these with Text to Speech in Word, Adobe Reader or free tools like DSpeech or Balabolka. and
  • Use of Xerte Online Toolkits to create dyslexia friendly content ( )
  • Use of free and portable mindmapping tools like XMind and Freemind
  • Use of VLE  to store lesson notes and PPTs for access before or after sessions
  • Use of Interactive whiteboards to make lessons more engaging AND better record lesson content
  • Optimisation of PowerPoints to make them mobile friendly and exportable as gifs or jpgs
  • Use of interactive Word and PowerPoint to create more active sessions (see for examples).

Notes from Kevin Brunton June 2012

apps and devices students are using 2012

Poll Everywhere Polls created using the free version of Poll Everywhere are limited to something like 40 responses.

Audionote app

This was the app that I used to record audio and typed notes from Kerry Pace’s Skype talk. Android, Windows and Mac versions are also available. It looks like you can used the free versions to view files created on other systems. There is a limit on the Audionote file size that you can forward by email. This appears to be somewhere between 15-35 minutes (10-20MB in terms of file size). You could share a file by saving it into your iTunes account and then adding it to a shared Dropbox folder. You can choose to share individual Dropbox folders online with other people which should overcome the file size issue e.g. Googlemail has an attachment limit of something like 20-25MB.

Audio Notetaker (Mac and Windows)

This is the DSA funded package which is similar to Audionote but includes various options such as inserting PowerPoint slides and colour coding different sections of the recording. You can download a free trial at

Journal note-taking (web based)

I didn’t have time to cover them but it’s worth looking at a couple of websites for online tools for students who need a reminder / easy way to record a few reflective notes each day. These sites send the user a daily email to ask them what they’ve done. The user can select what time they want to receive the email. Replying to the email adds an entry to a private online journal/blog which can then be retrieved at a later time. Replying to the email makes it possible for the user to avoid having to log on to a site or open up a computer as long as they have a smartphone or tablet. The two examples that I’ve tried are

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