Activity 15.1

For each of slides 7 to 14, choose the one technology that you are least familiar with and do an internet search to find out more.

  • What are its main features?
  • How expensive is it?
  • Do suppliers also supply training?
Planning Tools: Outliners
These tools are computer programs ‘that allows text to be organized into discrete sections that are related in a tree structure or hierarchy. Text may be collapsed into a node, or expanded and edited.’ (wikipedia)
For example DraftBuilder is a digital tool that breaks down the writing process into manageable chunks to structure planning, organizing, note taking and draft writing. Such a tool may be used by students with a learning disability to develop an outline of their writing with accompanying notes.
Cost of Drafbuilder; $125

Head Pointers

‘People with motor disabilities affecting the hands or arms are not able to use a standard mouse; instead they use a specialized mouse, a keyboard with a layout of keys optimized to their range of hand motion, a pointing device such as a head-mouse, head-pointer or mouth-stick, voice recognition software or other assistive technologies customized to their abilities and conditions.’
Switch Input
Students with severe motor disabilities cannot operate a keyboard or mouse.
A switch may be used to work with a computer system. This needs to be done together with a software scanning program. ‘Switches come in all shapes and sizes and are designed for multiple access points on the body, including hand, foot, head, eyebrow, and mouth.’
Maximum cost for Pal pad switch is $40and Buddy button $ 59

see also:

Voice recognition software also known as speech recognition. As stated in the powerpoint such software includes Dragon Naturally Speaking, IBM Via Voice and Keystone SpeechMaster. Such software basically converts spoken words into text and normally the software needs to be ‘trained’ to the users’ voice. Free  software is available although for further functionality software with advanced capabilities, the user needs to pay. e.g. $250 for Dragon Naturally Speaking.
Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs) for visual impariment

Also called enlargers or Video magnifiers – through the use of a camera, the hardcopy material is magnified and projected onto an attached screen. Two main versions exist, the hand-held CCTV and Table-top CCTV.

For large monitors and good quality cameras costs may be somewhat high e.g. around $3000


Braille translation software translates electronic documents into Braille code.

Duxbury Braille Translator for Windows provides

  • Accurate contracted braille formatted the way you want.
  • Translators support numerous languages.
  • Imports files from Word, WordPerfect, HTML, and other formats.
  • Math translation available for Nemeth, BAUK, UEBC, and French Braille

Single license costs $595 (

Tiger Software Suite produces braille and tactile graphics. It translates braille. Insert text and graphics within familiar programs such as Word and Excel and translate with the touch of a button. (245 euro)

related link:

Sound sentry on the computer – The sound sentry option is incorportated within the operating system, which displays a visual signal when a sound is generated by a Windows based application (e.g. flashing window). This is free to use as its a function available in the operating system.

from powerpoint;

“To reach learners with disparate backgrounds, interests, styles, abilities, disabilities, and levels of expertise, curriculum materials must be flexible along three key dimensions… Universally designed curricula should:
Provide multiple representations of content.
Unlike the printed page, computers provide the opportunity to present information in multiple media and to provide settings that permit selecting among the offerings.
Provide multiple options for expression and control.
Computers provide a flexible environment in which a variety of tools and supports can be offered. For example, digital recording and playback in a composition tool enables students to compose ideas orally, then analyse and revise them until they “sound right” before writing.
Provide multiple options for engagement and motivation.
Providing flexibility in so many areas is extremely challenging. With only print materials and lecture-style teaching, it would be impossible. Digital materials and electronic networks have the potential to provide the flexibility, and developers, researchers, and educators will have to ensure that sound pedagogy guides the development of new digital curricula.”
Taken from CAST’s Three Principles of Universal Design for Learning 1998
voice recognition software include Dragon Naturally Speaking, IBM Via Voice and Keystone SpeechMaster.
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