Assistive Technology

What is assistive technology?

"Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities."  ~ATIA, 2021

Fall 2022 AT Office Hours 
To be Determined

Contact:
Accessibility Specialist: Andrea Petley; andrea.petley@mcla.edu; 413-662-5488; Eldridge Hall Top Floor

Assistive Technology Available at MCLA

An easy to use, text-to-speech and study aid program that enhances reading and writing skills. MCLA currently has a site-wide license making this powerful software available to all current students, faculty and staff. This program is available on computers in the Freel Library and in the computer labs on campus. 

Firefly can be accessed online and provides similar support as the desktop version.

Kurzweil 3000

A multi-functional self-contained ink-pen that records everything one hears, says and writes, while linking the audio recordings to one’s notes in a specially designed notebook exclusive to smart pen users. MCLA currently has a loaner program for these pens. 

Livescribe Smartpen

Wireless listening devices that amplify speech to make it clearer and minimize background noise. With an FM system, the instructor wears a clip-on wireless transmitter microphone. The mic transmits their voice directly to a student’s personal speaker or earpiece. MCLA currently has a loaner program for these systems. 

Frequency Modulation Systems

Small, discreet devices that can be used to record lectures and listened back to at a later time.  MCLA currently has a loaner program for these devices.

Alternative Format Textbooks are available to students with qualifying disabilities.  These formats could be PDF, Word documents, or ePubs.  The Accessibility Specialist will attempt to locate the required books from a variety of resources (Bookshare and AccessText).  If copies of the books are not readily available, the Accessibility Specialist will need to request an accessible copy directly from the publisher.  This request could take anywhere from 4-8 weeks, or even longer, depending on the format.  Requests for books should be placed as soon as possible to allow the longest amount of accruement time as possible.

 

FREE OR LOW COST ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

There are many free or low cost Assistive Technologies in the world today.  All computers come with built-in accessibility features that are free to use.  Windows computers utilize Ease of Access to provide accessibility features.  Microsoft, Google, and Apple all have their own built-in features.  Training on these features or any of the items listed below is available from the Accessibility Specialist.

Communication

Features: Augmented communication app with over 50 essential words and the ability to upgrade to a premium version to customize phrases.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: iOS; iPad

Dictation Software/Speech-to-Text/Speech Recognition

Features: Offers a distraction free environment for speaking the words you would like typed.  Work can be saved to Google Drive or a computer, emailed, and printed.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Online Resource

Features: Speak what you would like typed and it will be entered into the text field.

Cost: Included in some Microsoft programs

Compatibility: Any platform that has Microsoft programs installed

Features: Speak what you would like typed and it will be entered into the text field.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Built-in Chrome Browser Option

Hearing and Auditory

Features: Real-time closed captioning for what is being said around the user, up to 40 minutes at a time.

Cost: Free and Premium

Compatibility: Online Resource; iOS; Android

Mind Mapping and Brainstorming

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Features: Brainstorm and create mind maps to organize projects or take notes visually.

Cost: Free or $5/mo or $8/mo

Compatibility: Online Resource

Features: Brainstorm and create mind maps to organize projects or take notes visually.

Cost: Free and in-app purchases

Compatibility: iOS: iPad and iPhone

Notetaking

Features: Create notebooks for each course, and organize each course into sections and pages within the notebook.  Take all your notes by typing, writing with a touchscreen, importing pictures and PDFs, videos, web links, and other resources.  You can also record your lecture while taking notes.

Cost: Free with MCLA Microsoft 365 account

Compatibility: Windows; Mac OS; iOS: iPad, iPhone; Android, Windows Phone

Features: A one-stop place to collect notes, files, web clippings, and images with the ability to access them on virtually any device.

Cost: Free or Premium

Compatibility: Mac; Windows; iOS: iPhone, iPad; iPod touch; Android; Windows Phone

Features: Take notes while watching videos and generate a PDF from those notes.  Notes have timestamps, which will lead you right back to that spot in the video.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Chrome Extension

Organization and Task Management

Features: Organizational tool used to help manage to-do lists, collaborate on projects, take notes, write research papers, journal, plan and more!

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Windows; Mac; iOS; Android

Features: Organize your tasks with priorities, subtasks, due date, time estimated, tags, repeating tasks, and more. 

Cost: Free and Pro

Compatibility: Online Resource; iOS; Android; Windows; Mac

Features: One-stop-shop for organizational planning to keep track of all of your daily tasks and schedules.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Online Resource; iOS; Android; Windows; Mac

Reading and Literacy

Features: BeeLine Reader makes reading on-screen easier, faster, and more enjoyable. They use a simple cognitive trick — an eye-guiding color gradient — to pull your eyes through long blocks of text. This helps you read more effectively and maintain your focus better.

Cost: $4.99

Compatibility: Chrome Extension; Android; iOS; PDF; Safari; ePUB by ReadMe!

Features: Simplifies difficult English words, for faster comprehension.  

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Online Resource

Features: Listen to emails, messages, documents, articles, and social media.  Saved documents carry over to all Speechify platforms.

Cost: Free Trial and then $12/month

Compatibility: Chrome extension; iPhone; iPad

Features: Removes ads and distractions, leaving only text and images for a clean and consistent reading view on every site.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Chrome Extension

Research Tools

Features: Save articles, videos, webpages, photos or anything you find online in one space to read later.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Online Resource; iOS; Android

Features: Add files, web pages, photos and organize them according to project, assignment or collection.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Chrome Extension; iOS; Android

Features: Add post-it notes to any of your web pages while researching.  These notes are saved so the next time you open the page, they will still be there.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Chrome Extension

Time Management and Distraction Free

Features: Forest is an app that helps you stay focused on the important things in life. Plant a tree and let it grow while you work.  If you leave the app, the tree will die and you will need to start over. The more trees you plant the coins you get.  Spend those coins to plant real trees on Earth.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: iOs; Android

Features: List your tasks and work on them for 25 minutes at a time.  Take a 5 minute break and then back to work.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Online Resource

Vision

Features: Use this app to help identify everyday objects.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: iOS; Android

Features: NonVisual Desktop Access is a free screen reader built for Windows computers.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Windows

Writing

Features: Helps to eliminate writing mistakes and contextual errors, spelling errors, and poor vocabulary.  Grammarly also helps you with synonym suggestions.

Cost: Free and Premium

Compatibility: Chrome Extension

Features: Encourages words typed by showing a picture of a kitten for every 100 words typed.

Cost: Free

Compatibility: Online Resource