Assistive Technology

Assistive or Adaptive technology (AT) is a generic term to include any equipment, software, system or product used by a person with a functional impact performing specific tasks, mobility challenges, gaining access to information; and to help facilitate learning, reading and writing. It promotes greater independence for people in their learning environments and provides equity in their studies. Based on your needs, Accessibility Services offers information and the opportunity to explore a variety of adaptive technology that support student success. 

 

Adaptive Technology 

Visit the pages below to learn more about each adaptive technology option:

  • Read & Write: Reading and Writing support
  • Kurzweil: Text-to-speech 
  • ZoomText: Screen magnification 
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking: speech-to-text 
  • Mac Dictation: Speech-to-text
  • Microsoft Word Dictation: Speech-to-text
  • NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access): Screen reader
Adaptive Technology Resources

Current Douglas College students are able to access a free download of Read & Write for home use in addition to use on campus in our student computer labs and the Library. 

Read & Write is literacy software that supports students with reading, writing and study skills. It has an easy to use toolbar that the user can customize to allow for seamless integration in common programs such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Adobe Reader (PDF) and other documents. 

Read & Write is available for Windows, Mac, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, iPad and Android. It is recommended to use Google Chrome, Edge, Safari or Firefox Web browsers. 

If you are ready to begin using Read & Write please read the Privacy Notice and Disclosure below. 

Instructions (Application)

Additional Resources

PC/WINDOWS

MAC/OS

iPad

Platform Support

Kurzweil provides literacy support for those who struggle with literacy both inside and outside of the classroom. It has built-in features for reading, writing and study skills to help support student success in becoming independent learners. This application provides tools to assist students in becoming more organized, independent, improve study skills and independently complete assignments, tests and exams.

Kurzweil can support you in the following ways: 

Reading 

  • Use of multi-lingual text-to-speech capabilities

  • Extensive vocabulary support and study guides

  • Access to different digital formats, online text and printed materials

  • Magnify text for readers

  • Highlighting, bookmarking, extracting information

Writing

  • Talking word processor

  • Word prediction, spell checker, grammar checker

  • Pre-made graphic organizers

  • Publishing to multiple file types 

To read more on the features Kurzweil offers please visit: Kurzweil 3000 Features If you are interested in using Kurzweil please follow the below instructions. 

Instructions (Application)

 

ZoomText is a software program that is a fully integrated magnification and reading program tailored for low-vision users. The Magnifier/Reader enlarges everything on your computer screen, echoes your typing and essential program activity, and automatically reads documents, web pages and e-mails. 

ZoomText offers dual monitor support to support you to choose which part of the screen is being magnified. It also preserves legibility or text. There is an option for colour controls to improve clarity of the screen and ability to resize the cursor. 

Zoomtext offers the following features: 

  • Magnification
  • Enhanced navigation 
  • Screen Magnifier/reader
  • Webpage search

To explore all of the ZoomText features you can find a comprehensive list here: Features

If you are interested in purchasing this software for home use you can find out more information here: Zoomtext  Students may be eligible to receive this software on an AT-BC device if you are eligible. Connect with your Accessibility Specialist to further discuss. 

Additional Resources:

Dragon speech recognition software supports students in improving their core reading and writing skills, enhance their educational experience, support students with language-based learning disabilities as well as English language learners. 

Dragon allows you to dictate papers, assignments and tests faster than typing. It allows you to control your computer desktop and applications by navigating with voice controls. Dragon is able to support students with barriers outputting information by hand. The software allows you to not require the use of hands for keyboarding. This is a great software option for students who require to dictate their content rather than write or type. 

If you are interested in exploring this software please connect with your Accessibility Specialist to further discuss as you may be eligible for support from AT-BC. 

Additional Resources: 

Mac Dictation is software built directly into your Mac Accessibility features that allows you to navigate and interact with your Mac through voice controls. You have the ability to fully control your Mac and applications by simple voice commands. This software is a great option for students who own a Mac and who learn best by dictating their information verbally or who might have limited mobility and require the use of voice commands. 

Mac Dictation is simple to use, easy to set-up on your own device and allows customization of the voice commands and vocabulary. 

If you are interested in learning more about Mac Dictation please check out: Voice Control on your Mac

Additional Resources

Microsoft Word Dictation is a feature built directly into the Office-365 version of Microsoft Word. MS Dictation allows you to use dictate your content verbally in Office with a microphone and reliable internet connection. This feature is seamlessly integrated right into the MS Office online version allowing for quick and easy set-up and use. It provides support in getting your thoughts out, create drafts or outlines and capture notes. 

All current Douglas College students have access to Microsoft 365 and can access MS Word online. To access your Microsoft 365 please check out: Microsoft 365 for Students FAQ

Once in MS Word online follow the below: 

Instructions

  • Sign in to your Microsoft account (Douglas College e-mail address) using Edge, Firefox, or Chrome.

  • Go to Home > Dictate. First-time users will be prompted to enable microphone permissions.

  • A mic icon will appear - wait for it to turn on to be sure it started listening.

    • Tip: On Windows, use Alt + ` (backquote) to toggle the mic.

  • Insert punctuation any time by saying them explicitly.

  • Fix mistakes with your keyboard or Dictation suggestions without having to turn off the mic icon.

  • Exit dictation with Close (X) in the Dictation toolbar or pressing the button in the ribbon again. 

If you are having problems logging in to Microsoft 365, visit the Password Portal at https://password.douglascollege.ca or contact the CEIT Service Desk at servicedesk@douglascollege.ca. Go to https://support.microsoft.com for other issues involving Microsoft 365.

 

Additional Resources

 

NVDA is a software program to support Blind or low-vision people to access and interact with Windows operating systems. This screen reader software reads aloud the content that is visual on the screen. 

NVDA offers the following features: 

  • Supports for popular web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and various other programs
  • Built-in speech synthesizer supporting over 50 languages
  • Support for many refreshable braille displays
  • Easy to use talking installer

To learn about more features NVDA offers check out: NVDA Features

NVDA is a free software program that anyone can download and is only compatible for Windows users at this time. 

Instructions

  • https://www.nvaccess.org/download/
  • Select Download
  • A dialogue will pop-up and begin reading. 
    • Confirm the license agreement be selecting the 'I Agree' box
  • Select Install NVDA on this computer
  • A second pop-up box will appear. 
    • Choose whether or not you would like 'Use NVDA during Sign-In' and 'Create desktop icon and shortcut key' 
    • Select Continue 

Additional Resources