It is a full time job keeping up with the technology apps that provide helpful strategies for students and educators. Don’t be quick to dismiss technology even if you are not comfortable with it—the benefits of many of these programs can be life changing when it comes to reading, writing, studying, and organizing.
- Speakit! is a free Google Chrome App that allows the user to cut and paste text from their search engine into Speakit’s text-to-speech “read aloud” box.
- Central Access Reader (CAR) is a free, open source, text-to- speech program that can read Microsoft Word documents or text that you paste into CAR. CAR can also read math and logic equations. The program uses your computer’s installed voice program to read text aloud. Downloads are available for both the Mac and the PC platforms.
- Natural Reader is a free to download, free to use software program that enables you to listen to PDF files, webpages, e-books, e-textbooks, and word documents on your computer. Natural Reader has all the basic text-to-speech functions and is available for both the Mac and PC platforms.
- WordTalk is a free text-to-speech plugin that you can download for Microsoft word.
- VoiceDream is an iOS App for the iPad, iPhone, or iPod compatible with iOS 6.0 or later. This app costs approximately $20.
- Read & Write is a high end text-to-speech software program with additional writing and study skills tools to assist students with language based disabilities with reading and writing. GCC can install this program for free on your laptop.
- Kurzweil is a high end text-to-speech software program with additional writing and study skills tools to assist students with language based disabilities with reading and writing. Depending upon the version features selected, this product typically ranges in cost from $1000.00 to $1400.00.
- ZapReader is a free online program designed for speed reading by allowing the user to cut and paste text to be read into a box that will show the text one word at a time. However, since the rate of the word presentation can be adjusted by the user, this tool can be helpful for readers who benefit from having words shown individually for spacing/ reduced visual stimulation interface.
- Windows Speech Recognition is free speech recognition software that works on the windows operating system.
- Windows Dictation can convert spoken words into text anywhere on your PC with Windows 10. Dictation uses speech recognition, which is built into Windows 10, so there’s nothing you need to download and install to use it.
- Dictation is the free, built-in speech-to-text program available for Mac’s operating system OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or later. If running Mountain Lion, the user must be connected to the internet in order for the dictation feature to work.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking is a fee-based software program that transcribes your spoken words into typed text. Through the use of a microphone headset, you can dictate your thoughts into either Dragon’s dictation pad word processing program and cut and paste the transcribed text into another word processing program such as Microsoft Word, or into your email message. Dragon is best suited for individuals without speech impediments.
Grammar and Spell Checking Tools
- Ginger is a downloadable program that provides grammar and spell checking functions of your documents. It is available for free in the lite version which provides grammar and punctuation checking capabilities, while the fee-based edition offers translators, text-to-speech, and an array of other features. Ginger catches errors often missed by Microsoft Word. Also available as a Chrome Extension.
- Grammarly is a free, downloadable program that checks your grammar, spelling, and vocabulary choice–errors that are often missed by Microsoft Word. Also available as a Chrome Extension.
- LanguageTool is a free open source proof-reading program that you can cut and paste your writing into to check for grammar and spelling errors. Also available as a Chrome Extension.
- Whitesmoke is a fee-based grammar checking program that is available for both the PC and Mac and the Android and iOS operating systems.
- Autocrit is a fee-based grammar checking program.
- Grammar Slammer is a fee-based online website that provides the rules for grammar and letter writing.
- Grammar Monster is a free online website that provides grammar lessons and practice tests.
- 1-Language is a free online website that provides lessons in learning English with audio courses, quizzes and writing practice.
- English Page is a free online website that provides free English lessons in grammar and vocabulary.
- Audacity is a free, open source, cross-platform software program available for download onto your laptop that allows you to record and edit sounds. Audacity is available for Windows®, Mac®, GNU/Linux®; and other operating systems.
- AudioNote is a free note taking app for phones, tablets, and computers. You are able to record lectures while typing or writing notes. The audio syncs up with your notes to jump to different parts of the lecture. You can take notes on class slides or a blank page.
- Evernote is a free downloadable program that facilitates notes organization and sharing.
- A Livescribe Pen is a pen with built-in audio recording capability that pairs with special computer dot matrix notebooks to record everything you hear, say and write, while linking your audio recordings to your notes. You can save recorded lecture notes and your accompanying pencasts (notes written in the special computer dot matrix notebook) directly to your computer by uploading your notes to Livescribe’s Echo Desktop software. You can replay audio directly from the accompanying computer dot matrix notebook paper by tapping on your notes or you can play back interactive notes from your Mac or Windows computer once you have uploaded your notes into the Echo Desktop software. There are a various versions of the pen available for about $180 plus costs for notebooks, ink nibs and accessories. Disability Services has a small inventory of Livescribe pens that students with appropriate accommodations can borrow.
- OneNote is part of the Microsoft Office Suite and provides versatility in note-taking, sharing, searching, and collaborating. OneNote operates like a digital notebook with the ability to link files, text, website links, images and pdf files.
- Sonocent Audio Notetaker or Glean is a program that costs approximately $150 for a one year license. This program records lecture/discussion while allowing you to type notes or just listen to lecture. Later, you can go back to your saved audio note files and add in typed text notes, and/or import images into your recorded note files. You can chunk notes and annotate your notes with color blocking features. You can use your Andriod or iOS Smartphone or tablet to record lecture using the program. Free trials are available from Sonocent.
- Workflowy is a free online note-taking and outline generating program that allows you to create searchable notes and organize notes and ideas.
- Simplenote is a free App that allows you to automatically sync your notes with your iPhone or Android Smartphone. You can tag and share notes and save multiple versions for back up.
- Google Keep is a Google App that works with the Android operating system and Google Chrome. This App allows users to take notes in a variety of formats (typed, voice, photo) and to search, edit, playback, and share notes.
Citation and Research Tools
- KnightCite is a free online citation tool hosted by the Hekman Library at Calvin College. KnightCite’s citation tool is available for APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.
- Bibme is a free online citation tool for APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, Harvard styles.
- NoodleTools is an online site that offers free to fee-based citation and research organization applications.
- EasyBib is an online site that offers free to fee-based citation and research organization applications.
- Citation Machine is a free online program that offers citation tools for APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, and Harvard styles. A more robust version of the software is fee-based.
- Zotero is a free online tool that helps you compile, organize, find, cite, and share your research.
- Diigo is a free to fee based online program that allows you to collect, organizer, highlight, and annotate your web-based research information into your cloud library. You can highlight text, screen capture, or save archived web material to review any time. Fee based versions increase storage capacity and sharing capacity.
- A+ Research and Writing is a website that provides step-by-step tips for how to research and write a research paper.
Organization and Study Aids
- Cornell Note-Taking Paper Generator is a free online program hosted by the Incompetech company which allows users to create their own style of 2 column or Cornell method note-taking paper that transfers as a printable pdf file.
- 7 Sticky Notes is a free online program that creates realistic post-it type sticky notes on your desktop/computer that you can add hyperlinks to, share with others, and set reminder or alarm features for.
- Flashcard Machine is a free online program that allows users to create web-based flashcards that can be shared with others. Quizlet and Brainscape are similar tools.
- Skoach is an online, fee-based time management system designed by trained executive function or ADHD coaches. This program works with users to create schedules, to-do lists and reminders for tasks. You can try it for free for 14 days.
- MyHomework and Schooltraq are free online programs that helps you organize your classes, assignments, set and track homework and link and organize class notes.
- To Do is available as a free or fee-based online program that allows you to create task lists, share task lists, send reminders and share and comment on tasks.
Concept Mapping Tools
To help organize your thinking and ideas, especially for papers, research projects, and presentations, consider using a concept mapping tool.
- MindMaple is a fee-based online concept mapping program.
- SpiderScribe is a free to fee-based online, concept mapping program. Free use provides personal user set-up with limited storage while storage capacity increases based on fee-based purchases.
- FreeMind is a free online concept mapping program. Highly rated.
- The Brain is a free online concept mapping program.
- ClickCharts is a free online concept mapping program.
- XMind is a free online concept mapping program. Highly rated.
- Mindmeister and Bubbl.us allow you to create up to three free concept maps, and are otherwise available for a monthly fee.
- Mindmup is a free online concept mapping program.
- Inspiration software is a fee-based concept mapping program that allows you to export your outlines or diagrams into a word processor program such as Microsoft Word or into Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Lucidchart is a fee-based concept mapping program with a free trial version available for three charts.