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Higher ed tech tools that support executive function

College recommended assistive technology for students with executive dysfunction
University Business, April 2017

Disabilities services administrators at Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts, University of Connecticut and Landmark College in Vermont recommend the following assistive technology for students with executive dysfunction:

  • Read & Write software makes websites, documents and files more accessible. It’s an intuitive toolbar that assists students with everyday tasks such as reading text aloud, understanding unfamiliar words, research and proofreading.
  • Text-to-speech software, available in several brands, turns spoken words into text faster than people can type. Students can dictate and edit documents through speech.
  • Fact-Mapper helps people organize facts visually on screen.
  • Inspiration is a visual writing mapping software with templates to guide students’ writing, such as compare-and-contrast essays.
  • Livescribe Smartpens are designed to work and write like a ballpoint pen; the Livescribe 3 smartpen uses “Bluetooth Smart” to send whatever is written to a smartphone or tablet.
  • Echo Smartpen records what students write, hear or say. Students whose notes stopped at a particular point because of distraction can touch the pen to a spot in their notes and rehear what was missed.
  • Evernote is an app designed to help people stay organized. Students can add text, images, audio, scanned documents and files to a notebook, synchronize everything across devices, and then later find anything via a search engine feature that recognizes text inside files and images.
  • Notability for iPhone, iPad or Macs allows users to combine handwriting, photos and typing in a single note, and to edit annotate PDFs and organize notes so they can be retrieved when needed.
  • Digital textbooks may allow students to hear text while they’re reading.
  • Pomodoro online timers can be set for 25 minutes of work and five-minute breaks. Frequent breaks can improve mental agility.

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