Assistive Technology Software

As well as being a tutor, I am also a freelance Assistive Technology Trainer. I primarily work with university students, but wanted to share some software I use with my school students or programs that help me out!

Mindmapping

Ayoa - really clean and easy way of mindmapping. It’s quite different to programs like Mindview and has built in to do lists. I use this to track reports and things to do based on priorities.

Xmind - free software that has all the basics and non of the unnecessary buttons. You can create all sorts of colourful bubbles in your maps and zen mode stops you getting distracted. I love this for creating mindmaps with students - word banks in particular.

Spelling and Grammar

Grammarly - although I do use the premium version, I always recommend that university students download the free version. It’s a great tool for just making your writing that little bit better.

Referencing

Zotero - life changing software for people who dislike referencing. There’s nearly 10,000 different referencing styles available for download, you save reference information as you research, click a few buttons and your referencing is done quickly and easily.

Visual Stress

F.lux - adjusts your computer screen throughout the day to be a subtle orange tone rather than the harsh bright white we are currently spending hours a day looking at.

ColorVeil - a simple but effective whole screen overlay that has all the colour options rather than just orange.

Productivity

Habitica - level up your character by doing your tasks, earn coins, hatch pets and grow them by feeding them. Really great app for children and adults with SpLDs.

Google Keep - a to do list but better! Tick off what you’ve done, change the background colour, set reminders for times and locations and share your shopping list with your partner (works a treat).

There’s so many more I could have included here, what great free programs do you use?

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Thank you :grin: I will be checking these out later…

Thanks for these Alice! :blush:

I will definitely try some of these out. Google Keep is the only one I am familiar with.

My favourites are below.

Productivity:

  • Google Calendar - so good for moving lessons around, setting them as repeat lessons or for sending my students screenshots of my availability if they want an extra lesson

  • Google Classroom - I use it with the majority of my students. It helps me organise my resources and share them with my students. I have one classroom per subject and exam board. It comes in handy whenever I get a new student - they just join the classroom and are able to access all these resources without me having to send them emails packed with files. And it’s compatible with Quizizz so I can set assignments on Quizizz and they are automatically posted on the classroom and my students are notified.

Hi @AnnaDuncanScience,

I used to use Google classrooms but I found it just wasn’t working for me.

I love your idea about adding a new student to the classroom. I haven’t previously done this because I always assumed the names would be shared and they’d be able to see each other’s contact details; is this what happens?

I would not get very far without my trusted Google calendar! It syncs to my different email addresses and makes everything a breeze!

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I’d love an answer for this as well. I’ve been tempted to use Google classrooms, but as my students are of course all independent of each other it wouldn’t be appropriate if they can see anyone else there at all. Does anyone know if it shows who’s in the class (or is there a way to disable it if so)?

@Alice @Dylan The only details that they can see is the email address and the name used for that email address. Most of my students don’t mind it but some purposefully use an email address that does not have their full name but instead something along the lines of “Unicorn123” so the name that shows up on the Classroom is “Alex Unicorn” or whatever name they use for their email address.

So I still think the pros of having immediate access to the resources outweigh the cons. I am curious what you guys think of this. To be honest I never thought of the possibility that one of my students could use the Google Classroom to send inappropriate messages to the other students :flushed:

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I wouldn’t really worry about them doing anything with the info, I was just a little hesitant for general privacy reasons. If they know how it works going in and are using false names anyway then that solves that problem.

I’ve been thinking about starting to use grammarly since my spelling and grammar could do with some improvements.
Would you recommend using it? How helpful is it?

@Julia
I didn’t think I would end up using it myself. I’m quite lucky because I don’t seem to have ever struggled with spelling and grammar, but I have to say I rely on it a lot now! (It’s even improving my writing as I write this!)

I use google mail and MS Office products a lot, and because it works with those, it has definitely helped me with my current studies. The free version is good, but if you are writing lots of reports, essays or emails I would opt for the premium version. I get regular emails with offers (latest one is ~£54 for the year) so let me know if you need one forwarded!

The premium version has some neat features like

  • Plagiarism checker
  • Clarity scores
  • Engagement scores
  • Delivery scores

I’ve mostly used it to make more writing more concise, but if you are someone who struggles with grammar and spelling it is amazing. I have taught lots of university students on it and it’s always a clear favourite.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

Thanks for the advice! I actually had no idea that there even was a free version, so I’ve downloaded that and I’m trying it out. It’s been working pretty well for me so far so I’ll see if I want to continue with it :blush: