Assistive Technologies and Tools for Learning

There are many technological tools to support students in their academic endeavors. These technologies can help students learn to customize supports by aligning materials to their individual and unique learning styles. 

Common tools

Read & Write

Read & Write (RW) is a free screen reading software that you can download to any computer. Read and Write can also be downloaded as a Chrome extension. The RW toolbar includes reading, writing, research, studying, and many more tools to help you succeed. Campus computers have RW software installed. If you have any issues downloading the software to your computer, contact our IT Help Desk.

Livescribe pens

A smartpen is a sophisticated ink pen that is also equipped with a microphone to record audio, a speaker for audio playback, a small OLED display, an infra-red camera, and internal flash memory that captures handwritten notes, audio and drawings. It allows students to record what is written and heard. Tap anywhere on your notes (using the smart note-book) to replay audio, transfer notes to your Mac or PC for storage or review, organize and share your content.

Voice Recorders

Use a voice recorder to record lectures and presentations so you can playback the recording later for notetaking and review.

FM Loop Systems

A hearing loop (sometimes called an audio induction loop) is a special type of sound system for use by people with hearing aids. The hearing loop provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid to assist with sound awareness, amplification, clarity, and directionality of the sound source.

Dragon Dictation

Dragon NaturallySpeaking (Dragon) is a software and hardware package developed for Windows computers. The goal of Dragon is to make it easier to interact with a computer without manually using a keyboard or mouse.


Microsoft OneNote is a program that often comes with Microsoft Office Suite. OneNote is useful for notetaking, organizing, and writing assignments. Students can create “notebooks” with different sections and pages in them. Students can also record while they take notes, and OneNote will sync the notes with the audio. OneNote has pre-made templates for notetaking, list-making, and outlining that students can use to organize their notes and assignments.

Text-to-speech, speech-to-text, and additional writing/reading tools

Text-to-Speech technology allows students to understand information in a way that makes content easier to retain.  By having materials read aloud, students receive information with auditory and visual cues, which often assists students to better understand more complex or dense reading assignments.  

Speech-to-Text programs assist students with producing written work by freeing up working memory. Students can fully focus on getting their thoughts on paper without being sidetracked by grammar, sentence structure, and spelling concerns which can be revised afterward.     


Grammar and Spell-Check software reviews written text and identifies spelling errors, checks whether the written text is grammatically correct, and offers suggestions for correction.

Screen readers to assist the visually impaired

Captioning and transcription to assist the hearing impaired

Executive functioning support and time/task management

Tools to support learning include working memory, cognitive flexibility, emotional self-regulation, time management, and self-control.

Mind-mapping tools

Mind-Mapping is a brainstorming tool that creates visual diagrams of your ideas, assisting with the organization of thought.  Using mind-mapping tools, one can create a conceptual map that illustrates the hierarchy and connections between different ideas.

Open access to textbooks and literature