Apps and Software for Students with Learning Difficulties
The following Software has been suggested for testing to use with students with Learning Difficulties. Where the application has been specifically used or assessed by an myself, details of this assessment will be featured on the right. The following Categories for apps have been suggested; Organisation Software to assist students with learning difficulties organise dates and tasks. Note-taking and Mindmapping software to assist students creating and organising their ideas, Literacy Assistance Software to improve a student's access to Text and finally Study Aids to assist students in working with digital documents and to learn particular concepts and outcomes.
|Organisational Software||Description||Resources and Reviews|
|Next Thing is a task manager and scheduling aid that's comparable to a “digital sticky note.”|
|This popular file-sharing software is a great organizational tool for keeping all of your files accessible no matter where you are! It interfaces well with multiple files including PDF, Pictures- even Zipped files!|
Dropbox is currently used by many students in Catholic schools to assist with organisation and file management on their ipads. We have found this app to be powerful, simple and accessible.
|This password manager and protector keeps track of student accounts and passwords and keeps them secure and organised.|
iOs Calendar, Reminders and Notes
Although Evernote is highly recommended for students, an alternative for those who do not have internet access regularly is to use the standard IOS Calendar, Reminders and Notes as a digital diary and workbook.
I use this with my blind and dyslexic students- integration with Siri is fantastic!
|Note Taking and mindmapping Software||Description||Resources and Reviews|
| Kidspiration / Inspiration
Kidspiration and Inspiration are great tools for creating and interpreting and re-representing mindmaps- the former is aimed for use by primary school aged kids and the latter is designed to be used by Adults and Adolescents. Typically dyslexic people have trouble organising their ideas in a way that can be represented to others, this software aims to give dyslexic students a platform to easily organise and represent information and assists them to create structured text around this information.
This is another organisational app designed to help students keep track of their courses through more efficient note-taking. Combining video notes, audio notes and photo notes.
|iThoughts is a mindmapping app to help students organise their thoughts.|
Corkulous™ idea board is the incredible new way to collect, organize, and share your ideas. See the demo video: http://www.corkulous.com/
|Popplet is a platform for your ideas. Popplet's super simple interface allows you to move at the speed of your thoughts. With Popplet you can capture your ideas, sort them visually, and collaborate with others in realtime. Quickly and easily!|
|Literacy Assistance Software||Description||Resources and Reviews|
Read and Write GoldPrice $699
+ ireadwrite for IOS (6.99)
+ read and write for Google Docs($30)
Texthelp offers a powerful suite of literacy apps for students with print disabilities. Features such as natural voices, moving highlights, collectable highlights and a range of dictionary, screenshot readers all characterise Texthelp's softwares for various platforms. The most fully fledged software is the package for the PC followed closely by the MAC package with the Google Docs and IOS packages typically containing less features.
|Read and Write Gold review here|
iReadWrite for IOS review here
Read and Write for Google Docs review here
Various video tutorials and information on Read and Write Gold can be found here and also here.
| Dragon Naturally Speaking|
+ Also Dragon Dictation for IOS ($6.99)
Using speech to text can be a very useful way to create text, however efficacious use of text to speech does not come immediately and students will need to be explicitly taught how to use dragon dictation as well as given the time necessary to train their application to their particular voice. It is also less appropriate for students who have difficulty speaking clearly.
Dragon Dictation is Nuance's Dictation software for the iPad and it performs very well in optimal conditions. Unfortunately, unlike the computer-based version, Dragon Dictation processes the speech online rather than on the device itself so will not be usable without an unrestricted internet connection. As of the writing of this article- Dragon Dictation is known to be unusable within our CEO schools due to proxy restrictions.
Nuance Dragon YouTube Videos
Dragon Naturally Speaking User Guide
| Voiceover on iOS with browser/ibooks|
Price: free with iPad, the ibooks vary in price
Students with print disabilities should set up and learn to use voiceover on their ipads so they are able to utilise the Apple's excellent text-to-speech engine when accessing print on the iPad, particularly when accessing ebooks or the internet.
Students can use the inbuilt dictionary on the iPad to listen to unfamiliar or difficult words and to listen to the definitions when they are unsure of the word meaning.
| Apple voiceover tutorial|
General information on using Apple technology to assist students with print disabilities, which includes this strategy.
| Natural Reader|
|Whilst Read & Write Gold is the deluxe comprehensive tool for kids with print disabilities, if you are just looking for cheap human sounding text-to-speech engine that will read text on a PC in Word, on the internet and virtually all other applications that use digital text then this is the one!|
Natural Reader Tutorial
| Inbuilt MAC/OS features|
Free with MAC O/S.
If your student is using a MAC there are a range of inbuilt features that will assist them such as speech, predictive text, sending text toiTunes as a spoken track to be played on an iPad etc.
Apple - Speech - Literacy
How to send text to iTunes as a spoken track.
|Study Aids||Description||Resources and Reviews|
|GoodReader has been praised for its annotating capabilities and quick pace when managing large PDF and TXT files, manuals and books. Its multi-tab option makes it easy to switch back and forth between documents when studying.||GoodReader has a lot of buttons and is very powerful, it is more useful for older students who will not be phased by large menus filled with various buttons and features.|
|Flashcards Deluxe is an easy to use, yet powerful flashcard app which you can use to study just about anything you want, features up to five sided flashcards for learning.|
|iAnnotate PDF is another PDF Annotator, but with a simpler User Interface then GoodReader- more suitable for younger users and those who would like a simpler more streamlined app.|
| PowerPoint / Keynote|
Students with problems accessing print are often not well served by conventional palm-cards or speech notes, instead teaching a student with literacy issues how to make and use a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation utilising pictures and keywords to jog their memory and keep the flow of their speech logically structured is very handy.