Assistive Technology and Software
The PNW Accessibility Center provides Assistive Technology and Assistive Software to students with disabilities to help remove barriers that may exist in the academic setting.
To assist PAC students in taking notes in their classes, the PAC will often recommend students use a Livescribe SmartPen while taking notes. While a student is taking notes in a special notebook that is provided to them, the student can tell the pen to begin recording right when a lecture starts. While the student is taking notes throughout the lecture, the pen is also audio recording the lecture and syncing the audio with the handwritten notes.
After the lecture, the student can tap on any part of their handwritten notes and audio will begin playback from the point of the lecture when the note was written. For certain models of the pen, students can either sync their notes to a desktop app where they can view their handwritten notes and playback recorded audio, or the newer pens will sync to a smartphone or tablet. You can learn more about Livescribe SmartPens online.
The PAC provides Livescribe SmartPens to students with an approved accommodation. The PAC currently provides two different models of SmartPens, the Echo, which is a stand-alone device not requiring a smartphone or tablet, and the Aegir, which is dependent on having an Android, Apple iOS, or Amazon Fire smartphone or tablet.
There are many different smartphone and tablet apps available that can help students. The apps listed in this section are not endorsed by the PNW Accessibility Center but may be beneficial to students. Please note that all apps listed here are not provided by the PAC and in some cases have a cost associated with them.
Notability by Ginger Labs is an app that works very similarly to a Livescribe Smart Pen. You can take notes in a lecture and it can audio record the lecture and sync it to the notes on your device. Notability is available on Apple iOS devices. You can learn more about Notability online.
Claro PDF by Claro software is a reading and annotation tool for PDFs. It will read PDFs to you and also allow you to make note and annotate them while maintaining compatibility with Adobe Reader and other apps. It is available on Apple iOS and in the Google Play Store for Android devices. You can learn more about Claro PDF online.
Kurzweil 3000 by Kurzweil Education is assistive software that helps students with reading comprehension. The PNW Accessibility Center typically uses Kurzweil 3000 for students’ alternative formats of textbooks. The PAC will convert an electronic version of a student into the Kurzweil format and the Kurzweil 3000 will highlight the text and read aloud so the student can follow aloud while they read. This often can help the student focus better if they have a learning disability. You can learn more about Kurzweil 3000 online.
The program is available to PAC students with an approved accommodation and is available on Windows, Mac OS, and iOS (iPad only) on their personal laptop or desktop.
Read and Write Gold by TextHelp is similar to Kurzweil 3000 in that it will highlight and read-aloud content while a student follows along. The difference is that it is always active with a toolbar at the top of the screen. The student can select where the Read and Write should read and it will highlight and read aloud. It will also work on websites. You can learn more about Read and Write online.
Read and Write is available to download for all PNW students, faculty, and staff from the Purdue Community Hub. After logging in with your career account credentials, click the Assistive Software button. It states that it is for University computers but it can be installed on personal devices (Windows or Mac OS). Once the software is downloaded and installed, you authenticate by choosing “Sign in with Microsoft” and log in with your email@example.com and password.
Job Access With Speech, or JAWS for short, is a screen reading software by Freedom Scientific. JAWS provides access to the computer for those who are low vision or are blind. JAWS will read everything the student is doing on their computer aloud to them, allowing them to navigate the computer, surf the web, send emails, write documents, and more. You can learn more about JAWS online.
JAWS is available on PAC computers and laptops for PAC students with an approved accommodation and available on certain open-access computers on campus. For off-campus access, a PAC student can take advantage of the PAC Laptop Loan and borrow a laptop with JAWS installed. Learn more about the Laptop Loan program.
ZoomText is screen magnification software by Freedom Scientific. It would allow a student with low vision to zoom a computer screen to 60x magnification. The program includes text smoothing so letters remain crisp at any magnification. Learn more about ZoomText online.
ZoomText is available on PAC computers and laptops for PAC students with an approved accommodation and available on certain open-access computers on campus. For other on-campus access while one PNW’s network, a PAC student can take advantage of the PAC Laptop Loan and borrow a laptop with ZoomText installed. Learn more about the Laptop Loan program.
Dragon Naturally Speaking by Nuance is a speech-to-text program. This program is beneficial to students who may have arthritis or similar mobility disability. The student can speak commands to the computer to navigate the computer, open programs, or even write papers simply by speaking through a microphone to the computer. Over time the program will learn your speech patterns and will become more accurate over time. You can learn more about Dragon Naturally Speaking online.
Dragon Naturally Speaking is available to PAC students with an approved accommodation on PAC computers. For off-campus access, the PAC is able to provide a license for their personal computer while enrolled in PNW courses.
The Disability Access Center has several Dell laptops that can be loaned out to PAC Students for a semester at a time. These laptops can be used for general school work or can have Kurzweil 3000, JAWS, ZoomText, Read and Write, or Dragon Naturally Speaking installed on them for those students who may not have their own devices to use assistive software on.
These laptops can be loaned out to any PAC student with an approved accommodation.
As with Livescribe Smart Pens, audio recorders are used to assist students with taking notes. In some cases, a student may feel that just audio recording the lecture is sufficient enough to help them in their studies.
Audio recorders are available to PAC students with an approved accommodation. They can be checked out for a semester at a time and can be plugged into any computer so any recorded lectures can be saved.
The videophones allow individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to place or receive calls and allow hearing individuals to place or receive calls with those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Westville Campus Videophone Locations:
- Technology Building (TECH) – Rooms 177 and 359
- Dworkin Student Services and Activities Complex (DSAC) – Room 1007
- Library Student Faculty Building (LSF) – Room 114
Hammond Campus Videophone Locations:
- Student Union and Library Building (SULB) – Room 203 (within the library)
- Anderson Building (ANDR) – Room 141
- Gyte Building – Rooms 213 and 215
- Griffin Hall – 2nd Floor Lounge
A personal FM system is often used by students who may be hard of hearing. The PNW Accessibility Center will provide an FM system to the student who will then take it to lecture. The student would give their instructor a microphone and transmitter to use and the student would listen on the receiver allowing them to adjust the volume and listen to the instructor anywhere in the classroom.
The PNW Accessibility Center has a Williams Sound FM system that PAC students with an approved accommodation can check out. The PNW Accessibility Center will also work with students to find other solutions for students as needed.
eMathHelp Math Solver
An online math tool to help solve different kinds of math problems and shows step-by-step solutions on how the problem was solved. Note: The website is not screen reader accessible, but will be added in the near future. Visit eMathHelp Math Solver Online (external link).