Assistive Technology Resources for Students

Assistive technology supports the success of all students with tools to provide various formats of written text and audio presentations.

While some programs are specifically geared for students with disabilities, many resources are free and available to everyone. Below are tools available and links to better understand how they can help you.

WCC students may contact the Assistive Technology Specialist, Mike Tran in Learning Support Services (LSS) with questions about assistive technology tools:  mtran@wccnet.edu

Text to Speech:

Text-to-speech (TTS) is a type of assistive technology that reads digital text aloud; also called “read aloud” technology.  TTS will take words from a computer or other digital device and convert them into audio.  TTS is very helpful for students who struggle with reading.

Free Resources Available to Everyone

Natural Reader Online - (iOS, Android)

Natural Reader Online converts any written text to audio.  It allows you to listen to text instead of reading it on the screen and translates from DOC, DOCX, RTF, HTML and accessible PDF files. 

Immersive Reader with Microsoft Lens- Office 365 (free for all students with an .”edu” email address; IOS, Android)

Microsoft Lens and Immersive Reader with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, will read scanned text, decode complex text, and focus on the text in documents out loud with simultaneous highlighting along with other special features.

ReadSpeaker and DocReader with Blackboard : (free for current WCC students)

ReadSpeaker within BlackBoard allows students to read aloud course content in HTML. 

Kurzweil 3000  (free for current WCC students; iOS, Android)

Kurzweil 3000 reads text aloud from pdf files, Word documents, eBook and ePub files.  It can synchronize with mobile devices.  It allows making notes on files with various tools.

WCC Students – contact Learning Support Services for an account

Kurzweil Read the Web – Chrome plugin required (free for current WCC students)

The Kurzweil Read the Web extension requires Google Chrome to be installed to translate text to speech functions when reading websites. 

 

Speech to Text (Dictation):

Speech-to-text is a type of software that takes audio content and transcribes it into written words in a word processor or other display.  This type of speech recognition software is extremely valuable to anyone who needs to generate a lot of written content without a lot of manual typing.

Free Resources Available to Everyone

Dictate in Office 365 (free for all students with an ”edu” email address)

Dictate is an Office add-in for Windows Outlook, Word and PowerPoint that converts speech to text using speech recognition behind Cortana and Microsoft Translator.

Google Voice Typing in Google Docs  (free for current WCC students; iOS, Android)

Google Voice Typing lets the user dictate using your computer’s microphone.

Screen Reader:

A screen reader is a form of assistive technology (AT) that provides text and image content as speech or braille output.  Screen readers are essential to people who are blind and are useful to people who are visually impaired or have a learning disability.  Text must be specially formatted to be read with a screen reader.

Free Resources Available to Everyone

ChromeVox Screen Reader-(Free) Chrome Plugin:

ChromeVox is a screen reader created by Google that allows users to browse the Internet with the aid of synthesized speech played through their speakers or headphones.

NVDA – Nonvisual Desktop Access (NVDA)

NVDA is a free and open source, portable screen reader for Microsoft Windows.

VoiceOver

VoiceOver is the free built-in screen reader available on all Apple computers running Mac OS X Tiger or later. 

Note Taking:

Instructor permission is required for recording unless an approved accommodation by LSS

Free Resources Available to Everyone

Otter. ai- (iOS, Android)

Otter records and takes classroom lecture notes in real time providing automated transcription with summary keywords, highlights, and full audio transcripts (Free:  600 minutes per month or 40 minutes at one time).

OneNote- Office 365 (free for all students with .edu email address; iOS, Android)

Microsoft OneNote is a note-taking program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It gathers users' notes, drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries.

For Purchase (All Students)/Loan from LSS (Qualified Students)

Livescribe Smart Pen

The Livescribe Smartpen may be purchased by anyone. 

WCC students may borrow equipment if eligible as a student with a disability.  Contact Learning Support Services.

The Livescribe Smartpen records what the user writes, draws and hears. A camera tracks what is written or drawn and the built-in microphone records the audio.  

Digital Recorder

A digital voice recorder is media-free. It converts sounds to digital files and doesn’t require a cassette, CD, or another type of media to store the files. Instead, the files are saved on small, lightweight memory cards that you can easily remove from the device.

Captions for Video:

Free Resources Available to Everyone

Live Caption in Chrome

Closed captioning is a method of presenting sound information to a viewer who is deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Closed captioning provides a text display of the spoken part of a video presentation for viewers who are deaf or have difficulty hearing. It is also useful when learning to speak a non-native language or where audio is difficult to hear or intentionally muted.