News

The Sounding Out Machine

a young boy reading a book

We’ve looked at quite a few reading apps in the past, and most of the apps that we’ve looked at provide users with an impressive suite of useful reading options from highlighting text to reading it out loud. And while those apps are incredibly useful, especially for learners who already understand how to read, they’re not usually designed to dive too far into the fundamentals of writing. The app that we are looking at today is designed for learners who are just starting to read, and don’t yet require the additional features that we’ve mentioned above.

TD Snap

a child using a tablet

AAC apps and devices tend to be highly specialized and expensive pieces of hardware, which is probably why we haven’t spent that much time talking about them. These devices also tend to be recommended by speech language pathologists, so we would always recommend first meeting with a member of the New Brunswick Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists if you or someone you know might benefit from this type of technology.

However, the app that we are looking at today is a fraction of the cost of a typical piece of AAC hardware, and rather than having to buy a new piece of standalone technology, TD Snap harnesses the power of iOS to transform an iPad into an AAC device. This also means that persons with disabilities have even more customization and accessibility options due to iOS’s built-in features. Thanks to those built-in accessibility features, the app can be accessed via touch, voice commands, eye gaze, and switch.

Grammarly: The Anywhere Writing App

a kid wearing headphones using a laptop

Word processing apps have evolved dramatically since the advent of the internet. In the early days of computing, word processing apps were expensive, tedious, and often required extensive training to use. Then, Microsoft Word streamlined the genre and made it more accessible and easier to use. Then, with the popularity of smartphones came a flood of mobile-based word processing and grammar apps designed to help users write while on the go.

Today we are going to look at one of the most popular (certainly the most widely known) app in that category, Grammarly. The app is free, but there is also a premium version with even more features. We’re going to take a closer look at those features today and do a bit of comparing between the two versions of the app.

SnapType

a young girl smiling while using a tablet

For individuals with fine motor or other handwriting-related challenges, completing worksheets in a timely manner may seem like an insurmountable struggle. Of course, we know that there are Optical Character Recognition (OCR) apps such as Prizmo Go or Office Lens that are designed to capture and digitize text, but those apps are more suited for capturing large chunks of text from a textbook or document with the purpose of having it read aloud.

Kurzweil 3000

a man using a laptop

Most of the AT that we cover is fairly specific in its functionality, but today we are going to look at an app that functions more like an assistive technology suite, providing multiple functions and features designed for multiple learning challenges.

Kurzweil 3000 is a literacy tool that is designed to assist with reading, writing, comprehension, and test-taking, and it does so within one unified app. The software is expensive, especially when compared to the cost of an iPad which has most of Kurzweil’s features already built-in for free, but if you struggle in ALL of the areas listed above, it could be worth considering, especially if you are used to a Windows-based learning environment.

Notability

two women working together, one holding a tablet and one holding a phone, with books on the table

We’ve covered lots of other notetaking and annotation apps in the past, but we’ve somehow neglected to cover one of the most powerful note-taking tools for iOS. Notability is a multi-media note-taking app that does everything you’d expect and more. The app would be a great choice for many persons with learning disabilities as it provides multiple means of recording and representation, plus it pairs well with Apple’s built-in accessibility features for iOS.

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