Posts Tagged ‘Special Education Technology’

More Intellitools Resources

Here are some training resources for Intellitools Classroom Suite

Intellitools Student Activity Checklist

Intellitools Reading Tutor Scope and Sequence

CS4 Training Resources

Scanning Access for Switch Users

Quick Tips for Early Learning Activities

ICS Activity resource list  (previously posted)

Enjoy creating with Intellitools!



Text to Speech Software for Home Use

Text to Speech Software for Home Use

The question of software that supports students with learning disabilities often arises. Standard choices of text to speech or scan and read software applications for purchase include (but not limited to):

Kurzweil 3000

Read & Write


Each of these applications have slightly different tools available within the software, provide different interfaces as well as have different costs. Follow the links of the software for more information for more information on the differences of each of the programs.

Free or Inexpensive Text to Speech Software for Home Use:

Other text to speech software application choices  that  are free or low cost include:

MyStudyBar –   This software can be down loaded to a jump drive for portable use. Text to speech, talking dictionary, word prediction are a few of the tools available in this free software.

Natural Reader – Provides text to speech and can convert text to MP3 files to listen to audio stories.

A low cost text to speech option is:

Text Aloud 3 – A text to speech application that will work with documents, Internet and email. It also supports converting text to MP3.

Many choices are available to allow individual access to print when reading is a barrier. You will find additional text to speech choices by searching the Internet for “Text to Speech” programs.



Where was PaperRater when I was in college? Could editing your writing be any easier than this? And it’s free?

PaperRater is a free  (yes its true for the time being)  grammar and spell checking tool that also will help you with proof reading and editing your writing. It is recommended for secondary and post secondary level students to help improve their writing. Created by grad students and linguistic professionals, the goal of PaperRater  is to proofreader services  for written composition.

PaperRater is simple to use.

1.  Copy your text and paste it into the PaperRater “Analyze Your Paper” field.



2. Select your educational level and type of paper you are submitting

3. Agree to the terms of services.

4. Click on the Get Report button

5. Proof reading suggestions are provided on  spelling, grammar andthe style of your writing.

PaperRater Analyzer

Although this may make your instructor cringe, for writers needing assistance, whether students, employees or for daily functional computer based tasks, I think this is a fabulous editing tool! Also instructor should know that this tool will detect plagarism.

Why not use a tool that will help you be a better writer?? Check it out yourself the next time you are sending an email, writing a proposal or a research paper!


E-Book Reader Reviews

Kindle, Nook, BeBook, Kobo, Sony Reader, Astak, iPod/iTouch… 

and the list of e-book readers goes on and on!

ebook readers
Ebook Readers

It’s the season for gifting. If I were to judge by the number of questions asked about e-book readers it appears this is a hot item on givers lists this year! With so many devices to choose from, how do you sift through the choices to get a device that mets your needs?

With all the E-book readers flooding the market it is difficult to decide on electronic book device purchase. As an assistive technology quester I am always on the hunt for devices to support our special needs clients and exploring methods of delivering accessible print for them.  Although I do not yet own a specific e-book reader,  a number of them are on my radar that seem to have features that support access to print for individuals with special needs. I have been working with ebook reader apps for the iPad as well as the PC  such as vBookz, Blio and Kindle for PC but continue to explore dedicated ebook reader device features for  students and clients I service. This post provides a few  web based reviews/resources I found helpful to help sift through devices and their features. Also listed are questions that will guide (using Joy Zabala’s SETT Framework) you in thinking about what features you need to look for if you are making a ebook reader purchase for individuals with special needs.

First here are questions to consider what the readers needs are:

  • Student/User – Who is the user, what skills or learning mode allows them the best access to content? Does the user  need to pictures and text, do they need books read out loud (text to speech) to access print? Do they have any motor concerns for access to the device? Is the print size and clarity easy to access  for the individual ? Does the user need larger print for visual access?
  • Environment(s) – Where will it be used, how long will the device be used, what kind of battery life do you want it to have?
  • Task(s)  – What is it going to be used for? What kind of content do you want on it? Curriculum materials,  reading books already in print, reading articles,  news, magazines? Are the books or materials you want to use on the device available in electronic format? If not, what kind of file formats can be uploaded or converted to the device? What  file formats can the device manage? 

I have been researching  information on e-book reader devices for a while. Here are a few web resources I found that provides extensive current information on features, specifications and reviews of e-book reading devices to help sort through device selection:

eBook – Reader 2011 Comparison

Top Ten Reviews website provides reviews of 16 different e-book readers including specifications, cost, features, ranking  on a 1-5  scale (poor to excellent),  user review and formating information in an easily viewable chart. The Top Ten Reviews website also provides suggestions for what to look for in an e-book reader such as  design, content management, cost, memory and battery life, as well as additional features.  Pictures and links to videos and vendor information is also help with understanding device features.

The chart or table produced by Top Ten Review was ideal to quickly weed through important features and specifications when considering an e-book reader for special needs, especially if considered for use if managing curriculum based materials in a school system (see article indicating the Feds Require Accessibility to EReaders) . Listed on this review included 4 of the 16 that had text to speech capabilities, important information for accessibility requirements in schools if applying their use in general education (see above article).

The Ebook Reader Wiki 

 The Mobile Reader Wiki provides an extensive matrix of comparisons of ebook readers according to size (5″, 6″ and larger), features, content, formating compatibility design, cost as well as additional features. The matrix information is presented in a chart allowing ease of  reviewing  extensive information at a glance. A source of device  specifications and feature information but it does not rate or provide reviews of the devices. Still well worth perusing to gather extensive device feature information.


Another website reviewing over 30 e-book readers. The website provides information on not only dedicated e-book readers but also devices such as iPad, Galaxy Tab and enTourage Edge which are mobile tablet PC’s that can be used as an e-book reader. Review and rating categories of overall, usability, design and value for the money are provided. Discussion of the features, ratings and user reviews are provided along with cost of the device. Updated information is provided, helpful with the frequent changes  and upgrades made with electronic devices and operating systems.  Another website worth the visit to gather information on devices.

The website eBook Reader Reviews is dedicated in entirety to the discussion of eBook Readers for more informed decision-making. 

There are many sources of information on e-book readers on the Internet of which the reviews for mentioned are only a few. I hope they are helpful. If you have a great resource please share in the comments!

Look for more information coming in future posts on managing document  or PDF file conversion for use in e-book readers!

AT Quester

Early Literacy Links

Searching for web based links to support literacy learning for emergent learner is always on my to do list. Here is my list of favorite websites for early literacy learners, both typical learners and special needs such as switch users:

1. Shiny Learning:

2. Helpkidzlearn:


4. Literacy Center:

5. Hiyah:

Other favorites? Please share!

Intellitools Classroom Suite

In preparation for an Intellitools Classroom Suite Course I located several resources of free Intellitools activites on the Internet for students of all ages and skill level. Listed below are the resources and their links:

  1. Connective Technology Solutions: 
  2. Intellitools Activity Exchange (free; requires membership sign-up) : 
  3. Learning Magic – Free created Intellitools activities created: 
  4. Ann Brundige resources: 
  5. SET BC:
  6. Region2 Library of Curriculum Activities:

Intellitools has many templates and activities available on their activity exchange however, check out the  other listed resources also!